Your step by step guide to run the method
A real template that can help you
Before starting the Shadow session the first step is to find the participant. Ideally 5 participants for each personas you determine. The preparation usually does not go further than that. As any type of hypothesis or preconceptions might biases his interpretation.
STEP 1 – Brief (10min)
Spend a short period of time to explain to the participant what is the objective of the shadow session. Try as much as possible to not stress the participant to not influence its behaviour. Explain also why the session must be recorded and why is it useful for interpretation. And finally, if you want to test something specific, ask the participant to do these tasks in priority, but only do these tasks as you need to see the full context around them.
STEP 2 – Observe
During this time as a design you objective will be to track down what the participant do and to note whenever he is doing a task that you will find interesting. Then report on the template whatever question / remarque you might have. You’ll also observe the participant itself, see for example if he is distracted, doing another task, or often disturb by a coworker.
STEP 3 – Questions
Once you consider you got through all you have to see, stop the session and take some time to discuss with the participant. Go through each action you wrote down and ask the question and remarque you have. Try to fully understand what made them do this action like that. Feel free to tell them why do you think they did it and let them comment on it. You can, if the participant is ok with it, start another audio recording to avoid spending time writing instead of asking follow up questions.
STEP 4 – Findings
Once all the interview are conducted, it is essential to write down the finding, the earliest possible in order to not forget anything. The way you are writing the document is up to you but the idea is to find the cluster of similar behaviour from different participants. If possible, timestamp these behaviour from the footage you had in order to facilitate other people working on it. You can start writing recommendation for these behaviors or keep that part to be done with the team.
Use this template to make notes of the shadow session. One page per shadow session. The first part is to write where, when and who, in order to give context to the session. The table below that is to write down each action you are targeting. The first column is to determine the time needed for a user to take an action. Then the difficulty of this action, on a scale to 5 (0 veryneasy – 5 very hard). And finally in the last column you write a comment or question to ask the participant later on.