Finding Context during COVID. Build a Diary Study and discover user… | by Emily Femmer | Oct, 2021


Build a Diary Study and discover user context during the pandemic

Photo by Önder Örtel on Unsplash

Pro tip

Commercial grade tools exist on the market that is built specifically for Diary Studies; check out this tool by Dscout. These tools are fantastic, but if you are like me with a low budget and short timelines. Then read on; you can create your Diary Study without an app. Using OneNote is a great tool and best used for studies within the same organization. If you are doing external research and your users are not in the same organization, you can mimic this method using Google Sheets. You need to select the right tool for the job.

Setting up Participants

Structuring your Diary Study

Example of a Dairy Study OneNote (Missions, Parts, Entries)

Introduction Instruction

Template below:

Hello [Participant Name],

Welcome to your Diary Study! We wanted to thank you for your time and participation in this exercise. In case you were curious about what we are asking of you, below is a quick definition of a UX Diary Study:

“A diary study is a research method used to collect qualitative data about user behaviors, activities, and experiences over time. In a diary study, data is self-reported by participants longitudinally — that is, over an extended period of time that can range from a few days to even a month or longer. In a typical diary study, participants self-report their behaviors, frustrations, opinions, desires, and aspirations at defined intervals or in response to carefully designed prompts or tasks.”

https://uxdesign.cc/diary-studies-cd65a61a4f89>

Our Goal

We hope to gain a better understanding of [Research Objective]. You can think of this as a journaling exercise. By understanding your day-to-day experiences, the [Your team name] Team will derive insights that will help us [Research Outcome].

How this works

This Diary Study will last [Duration]. During those [days or weeks], you will be prompted to answer a few questions about your activities, experiences, and how you are feeling. You will have [number] reflective missions for each day. Each mission should not exceed [number] minutes (depending on the level of detail you would like to provide). You will use this OneNote to complete your missions. Each day will have a Tab, and each Tab will contain your missions.

Ready, Steady, GO!

Thank you for your participation in this exercise. Please feel free to contact the [Your team name] Team if you have any questions, issues, or concerns. We are here to help!

[Team emails and contact information]

Including an Introduction in your, Diary Study informs participants of what to expect during the study. It explains the objectives, the outcome, the duration, the time commitment, and where to get help if they get stuck.

Example in OneNote:

Example Diary Study Introduction



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