Short description: A method to understand how a platform or service is used in a natural environment.
Duration: Minimum 1 hour, depending on the chosen shadowed task
People: 1 facilitator, 1 participant
Material: Paper, pen, recording devices



You need to obtain an understanding of applicants' processes in order to improve the design of your funding platform.


Follow applicant(s) to observe and document their processes as they onboard the application platform and navigate themselves through the process. Pay attention to their behavior and how decisions are made at different steps.

Why Choose ‘Applicants Shadowing'?

Shadowing allows a funder to learn more about an applicant’s needs, what kind of information and support the applicant might need to aid their process, what kind of tools the applicant would use, how they would organize the application process, as well as the challenges they might encounter. It's a great way to reveal which step of the process might affect or complement the applicant's decision of applying or not.

Facilitation Notes

  • Depending on the relationship you have with the applicant, sometimes it is better to have this done by an external partner in order to avoid biases.
  • Make sure to communicate clearly with the applicants about the purposes of the activities to avoid misunderstanding and unmet expectations.
  • All information and data collected from the activity should be handled upon an agreed privacy protocol, e.g. consent form and participant bill of rights.

Category: Funding Approach & Process, Community Engagement