What are user visits?
Product developers always have to tailor their designs to their intended users. User visits are used to get to know your intended users better and determine if/how your product could fit within their daily lives. Observational – and interview techniques are examples of approaches that developers use during these user visits.
User visits: try to empathise with your user
Why user visits?
To be able to develop a product that suits the intended user, a designer needs to understand their demands, desires, daily routine, ambitions, world view, etc. It is almost impossible to guess these things and therefore user visits are very important.
How to conduct user visits?
I. Create a clear plan detailing what your goals (i.e. what you would like to discover) are and how you will (try to) obtain this information. For instance, prepare interview questions and describe which activities you will observe. Keep in mind that you have to always be respectful towards your intended user.
II. If you need the parents to participate, clarify to them what you are trying to find out and how you want to do this. It is important to gain their trust and cooperation.
III. Always ask for permission if you want to take pictures or record things. Furthermore, tell the parents and children what you planning to do with your footage.
IV. Try to make your user visit fun for the children you are working with. Prepare some nice assignments and/or questions for them to answer. Keep in mind that the concentration span of children short and they will not always cooperate with you in the way that you had expected. Prepare a child friendly visit which is fun for the child so that he/she will not mind you coming back for another user visit.