Sit back and silently observe customers use your product in their natural environment. 

👥 10 and more | ⏰ weeks | 💪🏼 high effort


To fully understand your customers, witness how they behave in their natural environment while interacting with your particular product or service. 

This study is largely a hands-off, observation-based process, resulting in insights that provide a rich and nuanced understanding of the role a product plays in the user’s life. At the end, the team should be able to turn their new wealth of qualitative learnings into approaches for how to understand and potentially address the user’s unique needs and pain points. 

Who is involved? 

Ethnographic field studies require a recruiter to contact and source potential participants; a note-taker for conducting the field study through observation; and a team dedicated at the end of the study to analyzing results and applying qualitative insights to the next milestone. 

How is it done? 

  1. Identify the ideal target user and location for observation and recruit based on those factors. 
  2. Develop a field guide, which for this kind of research may include instructions for observing the participant and particular behaviors to look out for if they arise. 
  3. Conduct the ethnography with each recruit individually, acting as the note-taker and quiet observer in their natural environment. The sessions can last from minutes to hours. Be sure to jot down any potentially surprising or unexpected actions, phrasing, or attitudes. 
  4. After the completion of these interviews, the team will likely spend several days combing through the participant responses, highlighting particularly interesting answers or observations, and collecting them into recommendations for addressing these users’ needs and wants. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *