Here are some questions we get asked frequently about diary studies
A traditional diary study engages users in writing down their experiences. These days, media is often incorporated into diary studies, in which users post video or photos, to show as well as tell what activity they are doing at the time of the posting.
In contrast, a diary study provides a way to understand the user’s experience from first time exploration to in-depth experience. As users learn the features of a product, initial impressions may change. A diary study shows what users think and feel as they get to know the product. And it shows them using the product in their own natural settings.
Diary studies are primarily qualitative research, but specific questions can also be created to get scaled rating responses for some quantitative analysis.
Mobile devices lend themselves very well to diary studies, as they are used by the target audience throughout the day, every day. If the goal of the study is to understand how an app works for a user on one or more mobile devices, a diary study provides users’ day-in-the-life experience in the context of use.
One way to set up a diary study is to make it completely open-ended, asking participants to post comments about their use of the product every day or several times a week. However, most diary studies want to learn specific things about the users’ experience, so a more structured prompt can focus on a particular type of feedback expected. In other cases, participants may be asked to record incidents identified by the team and provide feedback whenever a critical incident occurs. Still another approach is to set specific times of day in which participants should record diary entries, such as first use of the product, use of the product during a meeting, and use of the product after work.
The method chosen will be based on the goals of the study.
We sent prompts several times a week over a 2-week period to get responses based on activities students were engaged with while use the application. We suggested that they share photos and video clips to show us where they were when they were doing the activity.
We collated all of the findings and categorized them into themes that we presented to the development team, which, when coupled with other data gathering techniques, including usability testing, provided a rich picture of the ways in which the application was being used.
Contact UX Firm to learn how diary studies can provide insights to your development team.