Safari Method

The Safari Method is a UX research technique that helps identify problems and gaps in a service by focusing on personal experiences and examining contact points and interactions.


The Safari Method involves immersive exploration and observation of users in their natural environment, akin to a safari expedition. By accompanying users and witnessing their interactions, routines, and contexts, researchers gain firsthand insights into behaviors, needs, and pain points. The Safari Method is used in ethnographic research, user experience design, and service innovation, where contextual understanding guides empathetic design, user-centric solutions, and authentic connections with target audiences.

Suitable for

  • Initial research phase - identifying problems and gaps in the service,
  • Identification of contact points and their strengths and weaknesses,
  • Empathy with the user experience of the service.


Observation Plan

A detailed plan outlining the goals, target users, specific locations, and the schedule for conducting the Safari Method research.

Participant Recruitment

The process of identifying, screening, and recruiting potential participants that represent the target users for the study.

Informed Consent Forms

Documents that provide participants with all the necessary information about the study, including its purpose, confidentiality and data handling, and any potential risks.

Field Notes and Observations

Comprehensive notes and records taken during the Safari Method study, capturing user behavior, environmental context, nonverbal cues, and any interactions with products or services.

Photographs and Audio Recordings

Visual and audio materials captured during the research process to help in understanding the context of the study and to supplement field notes.

Contextual Interview Transcripts

Transcriptions from any contextual interviews conducted as part of the Safari Method, capturing users' thoughts, experiences, and insights related to the research goals.

Data Analysis and Synthesis

The process of analyzing and synthesizing the data collected during the Safari Method study, devising patterns, themes, and key insights for decision-making.

Affinity Diagram

A visual representation of the relationships among collected data points, helping to identify patterns, connections, and insights from the research.

Journey Maps

Visual representations of user's experiences, highlighting touchpoints, pain points, and opportunities for improvement or innovation across their interactions with a product or service.

Research Findings Report

A comprehensive report that presents the findings, insights, and recommendations from the Safari Method study, including key patterns, themes, and areas for improvement or innovation.

Presentation of Findings

A presentation that effectively communicates the results, insights, and value of the Safari Method research to the stakeholders and decision-makers.



Assemble the Team

Gather a diverse team of 3-5 individuals including designers, developers, product managers or other professionals who work on the product, to participate in the Safari Method together.


Define the Scope

Clearly specify the user segment, product or service, and the overall goal of the UX research. Create a clear, concise research question that the team will seek to address using the Safari Method.


Identify the Context

Determine the context where the users will interact with the product or service. The team will observe users within these different contexts, including both digital and physical environments.


Develop a Research Plan

Design a plan that outlines logistics such as dates, times, location(s) for observations, and tools or equipment needed. Establish the roles of team members during the observation, such as note-taking, photography, or interviews.


Prepare for Observation

Develop an observation guide, specific to the research question and contexts, detailing what to look for in user behavior, interactions, and potential pain points. Additionally, prepare consent forms and ensure any necessary permissions are obtained before observing users.


Conduct Observations

Go out into the field as a team to observe users interacting with the product or service within the determined contexts. Take detailed notes, photos, or videos while being as unobtrusive as possible to avoid influencing user behavior. Team members may also conduct short, informal interviews with users if appropriate.


Debrief and Analyze

After each observation session, the team should meet to discuss their findings, identify key insights, behavioral patterns, and common themes. Use the observations to validate or contradict assumptions, and make note of any potential design improvements or opportunities.


Synthesize and Communicate Findings

Compile and organize the insights, patterns, and themes derived from the observation sessions. Prepare a report or presentation that communicates the findings in a clear and actionable manner, including quotes, photos, and anecdotes as evidence. Share the findings with relevant stakeholders and incorporate the insights into product development or improvement processes.

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