Product Design / General

User Research/Interview Tools

User Research/Interview Tools

Product Design / General · November 29, 2018 at 5:40pm
Improving our user research efforts and making it a more regular practice is a goal for our company in 2019. We have done many user interviews in the past, but the insights are always scattered and disorganized, and often the information lies dormant in each individual UX designer's notepads.
What processes/tools are you guys using to take better notes during interview, triage those notes and pull insights, organize data associated with each interview, and more. I have a few ideas of how we might improve that, but curious how it is being handled at your company.


November 29, 2018 at 5:47pm

Great question, one I am also dealing with atm. Since launch, we've also gotten a lot of feedback via Drift with users asking questions on where things are or how things work... I feel like these questions could also be stored/tagged somewhere... I considered taking a boo at Airtable but haven't quite yet.

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Making this a regular practice has always been a struggle for us – even as a small team of 6 😀.

Three things that have helped improve our behavior as a team:

1. We added reviewing customer feedback (2-3 items) to our company meeting (our meetings last 45 mins). It normally takes 5-10 minutes and I only highlight new and interesting patterns (both negative and positive). This provides learning opportunities for the team and a place and time to discuss customer feedback.

2. We use productboard to tag all feedback/notes that come through Intercom and Slack (also notes from in person interviews). We try to do this once the feedback comes through, but I personally will make sure it's all tagged to uses needs once a week. productboard does a really great job of surfacing which features have a high impact to your customer needs.

3. We switch up who has Intercom duty. As a small team team we can do this, but it does yield great results. In person interviews and always better, but it's a process that has worked for us and a great way to make sure everyone talks to customers.

Excited to here other processes/tools people are using. Also, Ryan saw Carrot a little while ago when I was researching tools. Looks like a great product!

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Making this a regular practice has always been a struggle for us – even as a small team of 6 😀.

Three things that have helped improve our behavior as a team:

1. We added reviewing customer feedback (2-3 items) to our company meeting (our meetings last 45 mins). It normally takes 5-10 minutes and I only highlight new and interesting patterns (both negative and positive). This provides learning opportunities for the team and a place and time to discuss customer feedback.

2. We use productboard to tag all feedback/notes that come through Intercom and Slack (also notes from in person interviews). We try to do this once the feedback comes through, but I personally will make sure it's all tagged to uses needs once a week. productboard does a really great job of surfacing which features have a high impact to your customer needs.

3. We switch up who has Intercom duty. As a small team team we can do this, but it does yield great results. In person interviews and always better, but it's a process that has worked for us and a great way to make sure everyone talks to customers.

Excited to here other processes/tools people are using. Also, Ryan saw Carrot a little while ago when I was researching tools. Looks like a great product!

Thanks dude! It's more meant for distributing strategic comms/reporting for remote teams vs managing data. We were struggling with Slack and constantly losing stuff, or having things get missed.

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December 3, 2018 at 6:15pm

Our process usually involves taking notes by whatever means you have at the time. Paper, notebook, sticky notes or more formally using a laptop.

We then formalize those notes into a structured markdown file, and push it to our User Research repo. This repo is only used by the development and design team and is organized by by project and department.

For larger projects, we then utilize the data we gathered in our repo to create a user research report, which consists of personas, card sorting and usability testing/feedback. This report then gets sent out to executive sponsors and stakeholders.

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December 3, 2018 at 9:38pm

I've used handrailux.com and lookback.io - not perfect tools but they might be useful to you.

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Our process usually involves taking notes by whatever means you have at the time. Paper, notebook, sticky notes or more formally using a laptop.

We then formalize those notes into a structured markdown file, and push it to our User Research repo. This repo is only used by the development and design team and is organized by by project and department.

For larger projects, we then utilize the data we gathered in our repo to create a user research report, which consists of personas, card sorting and usability testing/feedback. This report then gets sent out to executive sponsors and stakeholders.

Thanks for your response! Is the repo that you hold the markdown files anything specific or just a cloud storage solution? I am wondering how you pull specific insights out these documents at a higher level, such as repeated feature requests, common patterns, etc.

You also said 'structured' markdown file. How do you organize the collective notes into something that is understandable, useful, and actionable.

Thanks @nater

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I've used handrailux.com and lookback.io - not perfect tools but they might be useful to you.

Thanks @sirtimbly. How has your experience been with Lookback. It seems really nice and useful.

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December 3, 2018 at 11:55pm

I started using https://otter.ai/ to record and transcribe interviews. Works really well.

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Thanks for your response! Is the repo that you hold the markdown files anything specific or just a cloud storage solution? I am wondering how you pull specific insights out these documents at a higher level, such as repeated feature requests, common patterns, etc.

You also said 'structured' markdown file. How do you organize the collective notes into something that is understandable, useful, and actionable.

Thanks @nater

Our files are just stored in our organization private Github repo.

The structure of our formalized files usually follows the conversation that occurred. If it is an interview, we organize it by person, title and questions that were asked.

I did forget one important thing. After we formalize our thoughts, we schedule a debrief session usually with a product owner, developers and talk gaps, opportunities and key actionable items.

Usually those sessions occur after we have had at least 3 (try to shoot for 5) interviews. We try to eliminate bias before presenting data.

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December 4, 2018 at 2:55am

Our files are just stored in our organization private Github repo.

The structure of our formalized files usually follows the conversation that occurred. If it is an interview, we organize it by person, title and questions that were asked.

I did forget one important thing. After we formalize our thoughts, we schedule a debrief session usually with a product owner, developers and talk gaps, opportunities and key actionable items.

Usually those sessions occur after we have had at least 3 (try to shoot for 5) interviews. We try to eliminate bias before presenting data.

Great! Thanks @nater appreciate the insights! The debrief meetings seem particularly beneficial.

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December 4, 2018 at 5:34am

Great! Thanks @nater appreciate the insights! The debrief meetings seem particularly beneficial.

For sure! They are very useful and help align team members who aren't necessarily in the "trenches" so to speak.

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December 4, 2018 at 4:36pm

Thanks @sirtimbly. How has your experience been with Lookback. It seems really nice and useful.

Lookback has a feature set that is really good. But, I had a couple technical issues with some participants who were on older PCs or didn't have microphones installed. And, some issues where my streams just never connected for the user. Probably because WebRTC is a little buggy. Ultimately zoom is probably better for recording screensharing sessions with random people - there's just no good note-taking or sharing features like lookback has.

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December 13, 2018 at 8:05pm

Seconded @sirtimbly, Lookback.io is great. I also recommend UserTesting.com.

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December 17, 2018 at 7:47pm

In addition to Lookback and UserTesting: usabilityhub.com

I’ve not tried these tools so I don’t really know if they are useful and relevant.

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