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The Pocket Universal Methods of Design by Bella Martin, Bruce Hanington

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042 Fly-on-the-Wall Observation

Unobtrusive observation of people or behaviors, without direct participation or interference

• This method attempts to minimize potential bias or behavioral influences that might result from engagement with users.

• It is appropriate when observing public behaviors or work processes that may be unduly influenced if interrupted or inconvenienced.

• It may reduce the researcher’s ability to connect empathically with people and probe further into motivations behind participant behaviors.

• It is generally conducted flexibly, although worksheets or other guiding frameworks may usefully inform observations.

Secret outsiders are distant observers, with a vantage point that removes them from participants to minimize ...

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