Understanding HCI

Technology Tour

What is a Technology Tour?

Technology Tours consist of guided tours of the participants homes or workplaces with the purpose of understanding their technologies, how they are used, by whom, when, in what contexts. Researchers ask questions during the visit to identify when devices were last used and participants’ connotations of them. Multiple tours may be given independently by different members of the family or work team or multiple family or team members may accompany the researcher. Recording of the tour is normal and it may conclude with individual interviews.

Why Use it?

The idea behind Technology Tours is similar to that of the provocative techniques - to develop an understanding of everyday objects and social situations in order to ‘develop illustrative product suggestions to inspire or provoke designers’ (Blythe, Monk & Park, 2002, p.658).

Limitations Of method

  1. It may not be possible to visit all rooms as some participants may not be willing to share personal space such as bedrooms.
  2. It can be difficult to transcribe and analyse recordings if there are multiple family or team members contributing simultaneously.


Casablanca: Designing Social Communication Device for the Home.