Daniela Blauhut, Jacob Buur


Documentary video is regularly used to support user research in user-centred design, and many researchers are familiar with this medium. There is strong research evidence that video can contribute substantially to human-computer interaction and interaction design. But the question what role the video camera actually plays in studying people and establishing design collaboration still exists.

In this article we argue that traditional documentary film approaches like Direct Cinema and Cinéma Vérité show that a purely observational approach may not be most valuable for user research and that video material can be used in a variety of ways to explore, understand and present the everyday.

Based on a comparison of several video studies of similar activities, but shot by different researchers, we develop the concept of ‘styles’ in video studies, and define three camera styles that may be a help for researchers in organising user research: Not only in making decisions about camera techniques, but in relating how the researcher interacts with the person(s) in front of the camera to the purpose of the shooting.

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