User research

Let's meet your users to understand their needs and pinpoint opportunities.

Often there is a misunderstanding of the needs of users, what they actually use and their environment. To understand them better, the easiest way is to go and meet them, to interview them, to observe them. By gathering information directly from the field, ethnographic research puts the focus of the innovation process on the user experience.

It allows us to move away from preconceived opinions and assumptions to identify the real problem areas of the project.

  • Understanding the user experience. Gathering needs through immersion in the real user experience.
  • Guiding the innovation project. Identifying areas of opportunity through a user-centred approach.
  • Having a communication-friendly deliverable. A summary report that translates and models the data collected and the issues identified.

What is an ethnographic study?

Ethnographic research consists of observing the behaviour and collecting the needs of a panel of users who are representative of the target group. On the ground, it can take different forms: individual interviews, questionnaires, feedback workshops, observations of the service in use, etc.

The data collected is translated and summarised using graphics. They help to identify the stages and touchpoints in the user experience, in order to identify areas of opportunity for the service concept.

Why conduct an ethnographic study?

Used upstream of a service design project or as the first step towards an innovation process, the ethnographic study makes it possible to:

  • Discard initial assumptions and preconceived notions regarding the project
  • Understand the actual needs of users, what they use and their environment
  • Think outside the box and draw on the anecdotes and tips of extreme users
  • Turn the identified problems into challenges and areas of opportunity
  • Create a community of users and ensure uptake of the designed service

The detailed programme

Depending on the nature of your project and the field of research identified, we develop a tailor-made methodology based on the key stages of an ethnological study.


A project kick-off meeting to fully understand your needs and agree on the panel of users to be approached.


A field survey to understand users' real needs and uses.

Our designers observe and interview users within their context of use, in order to extract the maximum amount of information, opinions and anecdotes.


The summary report converts the data and anecdotes from the field survey into problem areas and opportunities for the service.

Rather than being a tool for reflection, this document constitutes the project's "roadmap": it allows us to ask the right questions, and thus guides the course of future innovation work.

A User Studio-style ethnographic study is now a prerequisite for any new service we offer. We just couldn't take any more quantitative studies without results... Sybille G Project Manager in the New Mobility sector

Keen to find out more?

Mathilde, our Development Director can be reached on +33 (0)1 42 59 47 54, or by e-mail: hello@user.io.