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There’s no better way to understand the people you’re designing for than by immersing yourself in their lives and communities.


Suggested Time

Ideally a full week

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

If you're going into the field you'll need travel, accommodation, and the tools needed for Interviews


Design team, people you’re designing for

Process Phase

The Inspiration Phase is dedicated to hearing the voices and understanding the lives of the people you’re designing for. The best route to gaining that understanding is to talk to them in person, where they live, work, and lead their lives. Once you’re in-context there are lots of ways to observe the people you’re designing for. Spend a day shadowing them, have them walk you through how they make decisions, play fly on the wall and observe them as they cook, socialize, visit the doctor—whatever is relevant to your challenge.


  1. As you Create a Project Plan, budget enough time and money to send team members into the field to spend time with the people you’re designing for. Try to organize a homestay if possible.
  2. Once you’re there, observe as much as you can. It’s crucial to record exactly what you see and hear. It’s easy to interpret what’s in front of you before you’ve fully understood it, so be sure you’re taking down concrete details and quotes alongside your impressions.
  3. A great Immersion technique is to shadow a person you’re designing for for a day. Ask them all about their lives, how they make decisions , watch them socialize, work, and relax.
  4. If you’ve got a shorter window for Immersion, you can still learn a lot by following someone for a few hours. Pay close attention to the person’s surroundings. You can learn a lot from them.