Heading - Context of Use Studies

What is it?

These studies are used to understand what your target users need from your product or service and how they will use it. For example, if your product is going to be used regularly by your target users, then it is important to understand how it will fit into their everyday lives and integrate with their other tasks and their environment.

Why do it?

By observing and learning from users in their own environments, we can gain a richer understanding of their requirements. We can then harness these insights to create a successful product that is focused on its users' needs.


The length of a Context of Use Study varies depending upon how many user types are to be included and the complexity of the tasks they perform. Irrespective of length, a Context of Use study has four main elements:

  • Identify users - we spend time with you agreeing the profile of your target users for your product or service.
  • Observe behaviour - we spend time with your users watching what they do, how they do it, how they interact and what other systems and tools they use.
  • Interview users - having observed user behaviour we normally spend time interviewing target users and asking them questions about the information we have gathered during observation.
  • Collaborative design - it is sometimes possible to begin high level design if it is clear which processes need improving.

What you get

We will enable you to gain a much better understanding of your users in terms of their desires, the workarounds they have invented to get around current problems, attitudes to your product ideas and features and functions to include in the design. Typically a report or presentation is created, detailing site visits, interviews and workshops. Recommendations and future direction are also provided, and can be used in the design phase of the project.

User Workshops

We often employ user workshops as a powerful addition to site visits and interviews during a Context of Use Study. User work shops provide insight into the expectations and motivations of your target users. In a group environment, participants discuss their likes and dislikes and their issues and concerns about an application or product.

User workshops provide the richest data on user preferences. Less controlled than usability tests, workshops take advantage of group dynamics in which people interact and spark ideas from one another as they do in real life.