People Interact

Blog about people-centered design by Lisa Chow and Sandra Sajonas.

Tag Archives: shadowing

Monthly Method Spotlight: Personal Inventory


When/why: Personal inventory is a useful method for gleaning people’s activities, perceptions and values as well as any patterns that may occur among your sample group.

How: Document the things that people identify as important to them. This is a good way to catalog evidence of lifestyles.

Tips: This method can be combined with other methods to simplify the process. For example, include personal inventory in the Day in the Life activity or the Shadowing activity.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.


Monthly Method Spotlight: Ethnographic Research


When/why: Ethnography is the branch of anthropology that involves trying to understand how people live their lives.

How: Ethnographic research is mainly done by visiting the consumer’s home. The main idea is that you are observing people on their terms.

Tips: Many of the methods we covered in previous posts can be considered ethnographic research techniques (e.g. a day in the life, shadowing, behavioral archaeology, etc.) The Harvard Business Review has a great article explaining ethnographic research.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more

Monthly Method Spotlight: Top Ten Posts

Instead of introducing a new method for this month’s method spotlight, we decided to do a recap and take a look at some of the top monthly method spotlight posts. Which of the following methods have you used in your work?

  1. Monthly Method Spotlight: 5 Whys
  2. Monthly Method Spotlight: Triading
  3. Monthly Method Spotlight: Draw the Experience
  4. Monthly Method Spotlight: Behavioral Archaeology
  5. Monthly Method Spotlight: Fly on the Wall
  6. Monthly Method Spotlight: Storyboards
  7. Monthly Method Spotlight: Character Profiles
  8. Monthly Method Spotlight: Shadowing
  9. Monthly Method Spotlight: Collage
  10. Monthly Method Spotlight: Content Inventory

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Behavioral Archaeology

party room messBehavioral Archaeology

When/why: Behavioral archaeology is the study of relationships between behavior and objects/things. It can show how people’s habits and priorities are based on their activities, placements, organization, and use of objects and things. The data and information collected can be used to improve a customer service model or service point or the layout of an office desk/cubicle, for example.

How: One can use many different methods to study the relationship between behavior and objects such as fly on the wall and shadowing.

Tips: Be observant. Take notes. Take pictures.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.

Monthly Method Spotlight: Shadowing

people silhouette Shadowing

When/why: Shadowing is a way to see how a product/service/process might affect people’s behavior.

How: Shadow/tag along with people to observe and understand their actions, behaviors, routines, and interactions.

Tips: Get permission to shadow or tag along with someone. Ask/tell them to act like they usually do, as if you were not there.

Interested in using/applying these methods in your work? Contact us for more info.