First of all, there is no substitute for the real field work.
This been said, consider this: why should you wait for a client to ask you to research about users (aka people aka humans)?
I like to see how people do things, how people use stuff and how they relate to each other and their environment. I’m just that curious.
The thing is that being curious is not a currency you can use to wander through a mall in Japan or a street market in London, just to see the difference between them.
And following a deaf person or a firefighter all day long, is… well, plain stalking. Even dangerous, in the last case, I guess.
Since the GoPro madness and POV (Point of View) videos fever arrived to the Internet, peering into practically everything is much, much easier. Just enter Youtube and search something like “POV + [whatever]” or “GoPro + [whatever]”.
Say you are curious about how the whole airport thing works:
A walkthrough Manchester Airport terminal 1:
How to connect from terminal to gate:
A day in the life of a ramp agent:
And now, as seen from a suitcase point of view:
Or maybe you wonder how is it to commute if you are blind?:
(I tried the “being blind for an hour experiment”, and it is exhausting, btw).
Want to ride a Tesla?
And, of course, how cats see the world:
See? I told you it’s for free 🙂