# Observation

Recording of actual work processes and environmental conditions
Time required
From 1 day to 1 week
UX Researcher, user
Level of experience
Two persons during an observation

# Summary

During an observation, a user is observed by an observer in his normal working environment during the selected activity (e.g. interaction with a system). The observations are documented. As with a contextual inquiry, the observation takes place in the actual context of use, but no questions are asked or the process is influenced in any way.

# Result

Recording of the real usage context and workflow.

# Approach

In addition to making an appointment, an observation sheet can be prepared in advance. Furthermore, the type of documentation must also be defined.

During the observation, the observer should remain as inconspicuous as possible in the background and ensure the documentation.

After the observation, the records must be evaluated and prepared for documentation.

# Time of use

This method is well suited for researching the user's particularly subliminal needs, of which the user himself is not aware. Observations therefore offer a good supplement to contextual interviews.

# Tools and Templates

For documentation: observation sheet and photo/video camera or sound recording device

# Advantages

As with the context interview, the actual and not the "desired" workflows are precisely recorded. Everyday difficulties and workarounds, as well as aspects unconscious to the user, are also revealed.

# Disadvantages

The reasons for acting in a particular way are not taken into account in the observation. The situation can only be influenced by the presence of the observer. Overall, there is a great deal of effort involved in carrying out the observation.

# Hints

The observed person must be made aware that the accompanying person has no intervening function and he or she should behave as naturally as possible. In the normal case, however, a completely natural behavior is not achieved. This must be taken into account during the exploitation of the results.

# Sources