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Naturalistic Observtion

Goal: to watch the users in action in their own environment. The observation takes place in the field because we want to see the environment that these actions are taking place


Qualitative: designer's handwritten note

Quantitative: collected of counts of various actions or interactions with other users that


Advantages of Naturalistic Observation:

  • No direct interactions with users

  • No social desirability bias (users not changing their behaviors based on what the designers might need or might ask for)

Disadvantages of Naturalistic Observation:

  • Observer Bias may lead to incorrect notes

  • No feedback from the users

Ethical Consideration

  • Maintain anonymity of users

  • Identifying information must only be collected with user permissions


Designers could use the notes taken during the naturalistic observation to notice that there are three prominent ways the user is completing the task.

The designer can then develop a survey where we find out where these preferences for using a given task comes from. Then the designer can host a focus group or do a set of interviews to further clarify the findings from the survey data.

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