Whether we're interviewing someone about their personal finances, observing kids playing catch or testing out a new app, we spend a lot of time talking to and recording people to inform our work.

If there's one tool we had to have it would be our phones. We often use the Voice Memos App to record conversations and the camera to take photos of people we're talking to. But using personal phones isn't always practical so we prefer to have dedicated kits.

Over the years we've tried out all sorts of recording equipment from DSLRs to video cameras, and have gradually found out what works best.

So here's a shopping list.

GoPro Hero

£319.00

Because it's small and less intimidating than a DSLR or video camera. It has a wide angle lens that makes it handy for recording in small spaces and it's great for leaving in the corner of a workshop on time-lapse.

2x SanDisk 64GB Micro Cards

£29.99

Because you'll run out of disk space.

Microphone for GoPro

£30.40

Because the GoPro microphone picks up lots of background noise.

Spare Batteries & Charger for GoPro

£14.99

Because batteries don't last much longer than two hours when recording.

PowerCube extension lead

£15.98

For when there's only one plug socket and 4 devices that need charging.

Muji travel adaptor

£17.95

Because you always forget to bring a travel adaptor when abroad. This is one of the better-designed travel plugs out there.

USB Mouse

£5.74

Because sometimes people struggle to use a trackpad.

Tripod

£74.99

Because you don't always know what environment you're going to be in and the Joby Gorillapod lets you secure a camera almost anywhere, which is well handy.

GoPro Mount

£7.49

You'll need this to attach the GoPro to the tripod.

Muji Worldwide bag

£14.95

Because it's nice to keep everything together in a handy travel bag.

Muji folder

£4.95

Because you always need consent forms and payment receipts. We also include notetaking tips to remind ourselves and clients of our best practices. You can download ours here.

Google Docs

Free

To take notes and share them with the team.

Google Hangouts

Free

Because you can't have 10 people interview one person, we sometimes live stream interviews and testing sessions to the rest of team.

iMovie

Free

To quickly edit down footage into something valuable.

Tom Harding

Tom Harding

I help organisations conceive and build successful processes, teams, products and businesses. As Head of Design at Made by Many I collaborate with clients to set product visions & strategies, design & test interfaces, launch new products, and build happy teams.



I’ve worked with organisations all over the world such as Microsoft, Spotify, Nike, Gap, V&A, Colgate, ITV, BBC, Amnesty International, NHS and TED to name just a few.

The best way to think is by making.

@thomascharding

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