Design ethnography: Take control of field visits and user interviews
Build your skills and confidence in understanding user needs with this interactive, live streamed, online course
We bring this course to you—live and instructor-led—via Zoom. (4 x 2hr sessions)

What you’ll learn

Uncover user needs

Practice interviewing and contextual research to discover what users really want

Describe your user groups

Identify your users and discover how to prioritise them for research

Ask better questions

Recognise good and poor questions to ask in user interviews

Map the user's experience

Use affinity diagramming to interpret the data from a field visit and create a user journey map

Build a research plan

Create a discussion guide to take back to your workplace and execute.

Interpret user research data

Identify research observations, prioritise findings and generate design insights

We make virtual house calls!

We can bring this training course to you and run it live via Zoom no matter where you are. Virtual UX training allows you to train distributed teams, furloughed workers or when your organisation is social distancing.

Design ethnography: Course Overview

In this structured online program of 4, instructor-led, workshops, you'll discover how to plan, execute and analyse ethnographic data.

Field studies are invaluable when you need to understand first-hand how users work or behave. Real-world observation provides insights that focus groups and surveys can't provide.

Class sizes are small and delivered live via Zoom. Combined with practice projects, this helps you build skills, confidence and expertise in field research.

Through real-time presentations, quizzes and interactive activities, you'll learn the theory of design ethnography and practice its core skills.

In a nutshell

Is it for you? Find out in this 2 minute video.

What students say about this course

Testimonials from delegates who attended the face-to-face version of this course.

"Excellent. Best user research training I've ever attended."

Anne-Marie Grafton, Home Office.

"An excellent course, thoroughly enjoyable. The data analysing method was particularly interesting."

Philip Merrifield, ITW Finishing.

"I was afraid that since I'm not really familiar with the concept, I might not understand too many things. But I realised that I can even do user personas, even though I thought I am not able to do that."

Laura Carabus, Avira Operations GmbH.

About your trainer

David Travis

UX Strategist

This course is delivered live by Dr. David Travis, the author of Think Like a UX Researcher. David has more than 20 years experience in the field of user research and has delivered over 250 seminars for a range of private and public sector organisations. He has carried out 100s of ethnographic sessions throughout the world.

This training course is aimed at

  • Anyone who wants to understand the user needs for a new service, software application or product.
  • Researchers disappointed with the limitations of focus groups and surveys.
  • Product owners that want to carry out customer discovery interviews.
  • Teams who want to learn best practice in discovery research.


When do the sessions take place?

The course comprises 4 x 2-hr workshops, delivered live and instructor-led over Zoom. We schedule the sessions to fit in with your working day, for example, 2 days per week over 2 weeks. Each session is split into 2 x 1hr periods with a 15min break.

What if I can't make every session?

Each session will be recorded and you'll be able to carry out the practice activities in your own time.

What do I need to take part?

You will need a (free) Google account to take part in the workshops and you will need a device that can access Zoom to attend the workshop sessions. Students enrolled in the course carry out assignments and collaborative work using Google Docs and Mural. You can use Zoom and Mural without creating an account.

How does the course run?

Design Ethnography is delivered entirely online. Once you're registered for the program, you’ll be granted access to the course's class page. This is where you'll get links for the live sessions, watch the recordings of previous sessions, submit homework assignments, download slide decks, access project activities and view workshop notes. Class size is limited to 12 delegates to allow maximum time for questions.


The course comprises 4 x 2-hr workshops.

Workshop 1

2 hrs instructor-led training plus homework

Understanding user needs and designing products to support them

  • Syndicate activity: Defining user needs.
  • The three elements of the context of use.
  • User research at scale: researching mass market products.

Introduction to ethnographic techniques

  • The roots of ethnography.
  • The similarities and differences between traditional ethnography and design ethnography.

Why carry out contextual research?

  • Why you need to discover (not just validate) user needs.
  • Syndicate Activity: Understanding the Double Diamond.
  • The first (and second) rule of finding out what people want.
  • The 6 phases of field research.

Workshop 2

2 hrs instructor-led training plus homework

Preparing for user research: Set the project focus

  • How to evaluate existing research.
  • Defining your research problem.

Decide who to visit

  • How to use theoretical sampling to engage a variety of people in user research.
  • Creating a sketch persona to highlight assumptions.
  • The four questions to test a user need.

How to recruit research participants: Deciding who to visit

  • Ensuring the correct number: How many users should you involve?
  • Briefing the recruitment agency.
  • How to ensure each team member gets their “exposure hours”.

Workshop 3

2 hrs instructor-led training plus homework

How to conduct the ethnographic interview

  • How to obtain consent and manage personal data according to GDPR.
  • The four phases of a field visit.
  • When to use open and closed questions.
  • How a topic map will help you elicit stories.
  • The role of investigator and note taker.
  • Syndicate activity: Run a practice interview.
  • Artefact analysis and workflow analysis.

Lightweight ethnographic techniques: Lean approaches to user research

  • Pop-up user research
  • Jobs to be done (JTBD)
  • Diary studies
  • Remote phone interviewing
  • User workshops

Workshop 4

2 hrs instructor-led training

How to process research data: Analysis

  • What is an “observation”?
  • The 4 steps in analysing qualitative data.
  • Data extraction: what makes a great affinity note?
  • Introduction to affinity diagramming.
  • The art of the insight statement.

How to process research data: Sharing the results

  • Empathy maps, scenarios and storyboards.
  • The user journey map, from simple to complex.
  • Syndicate Activity: Create a user journey map.
  • Opportunity for final questions.
  • Development activities.

How do I book?

Join the waitlist and be the first to hear when this course opens for enrolment.