Ethnographic research | Observation in the field or at home | eye square
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Observation in the field or at home

Gain valuable insights into the everyday use of your product by consumers and get ideas for future product development. The activities that consumers undertake online are only a part of their user journey – Ethnographic research provides you with a deep understanding of the complete and natural usage context of your customers.

Usage analysis or daily diary studies

Usage analysis

For usage analysis we observe consumers in their natural environment and record every contact with your product. This method creates a deep understanding of the use frequency of product features at any time as well as of individual and group behavioral patterns.

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Research questions:

  • Which everyday usage pattern does your target group show?
  • In which situation is your product used, and when are others used e.g. competitors products?
  • What barriers and obstacles arise during their use?
  • How does real use and user statements relate to each other?
  • Where is there potential for improvement or what are new product developments which would increase the everyday joy-of-use?



  • N=4 – 12 users/households
  • Passive observation
  • Contextual interviews with users in their natural environment
  • Camera-recordings and mobile eye-tracking possible
  • Longitudinal studies possible



  • See first-hand how users interact with your product in authentic everyday life
  • Understand how social interactions influence the user experience of your customers
  • Obtain a precise picture of your customers’ wants and needs
  • Identify unexpected issues that remain undetected using other methods (e.g. usability test)
  • Unleash innovative potential and test new product ideas before market release

Diary studies

Longitudinal studies follow the user over time. A daily diary is generated which provides deep insights of usage patterns and motivational patterns. This method is especially useful to detect changes in behavior, motivations or perceptions over time.

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Research questions:

  • What are the daily habits of your target group?
  • Are there changes in behavior or attitudes over time?
  • What are typical workflows and usage scenarios?
  • What is the effect of using various service touchpoints? How is the cross-channel user experience?
  • Are there changes in loyalty over time and what motivates them?



  • N=10 to N=30 users
  • Duration: 4-7 days
  • Video diary, diary Blog
  • Daily structured questionnaire
  • Subsequent in-depth interviews



  • Understand how users use your product in everyday life, identify motivators and barriers
  • Obtain a complete picture of the consumer journey and user experience
  • Discover patterns of cross-channel usage & typical usage types
  • Identify unexpected issues that arise during everyday use
  • Design your product even more user-centered


Do you want to learn more about ethnographic research?


We recommend the following basic liturature:

Projects in Ethnographic Research