Diary study



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The essence of Diary study

Diary study is worth using when we want to know the behavior of users in relation to the tested product or service in detail, under real conditions, in the long run, but there is no need, opportunity or capacity for continuous, independent monitoring.

Logged data collection should be used in five specific cases in which we want to know the long-term behavior of users.

  1. Routine
  2. Occassion for use
  3. Attitude and motivation
  4. Change of attitude
  5. User journey

If we are not only interested in what the testers say, how and what they remember, but also what they did, it is important to measure their activities instrumentally (for example, using Lookback), to have them report their findings frequently and accurately and talk to them regularly.


Diary study at Ergomania

Ergomania regularly uses Diary study when we want to know what time of day users are interacting with a service or product under testing, or just how they choose to share content if they can share it with others.

Logged data collection is implemented in four main steps:

  1. We formulate the research question
  2. We plan the research in detail
  3. We provide short training for research participants
  4. Upon completion of the research, we will collect further qualitative feedback in possession of the data, before the detailed data analysis
  5. We also use logged data collection to find out what is the nature of the users’ involvement with a product, what their primary tasks are, and what workflows they are doing

It also works for us when we want to know what motivates people to do specific tasks, how they feel in the meantime and what users think about how much of the use of a system can be learned, or how loyal clients stay over time and how they value the brand. We also found it a useful tool to learn about client journeys.


The main methods of Diary study

Ergomania experts are primarily curious about what users are actually doing. In our experience, Google Lookback allows accurate software recording for any website or specific application.

Logging then ensures that we would gain insight into the users’ approach and interaction with the interface in their natural environment. We can observe exactly how users use the product. By combining the completed logs and data, we get data suitable for qualitative sampling.

When logging online, there is no need to fear that what is described will fall into the hands of unauthorized people because the content is password protected. Formatting and updating, organizing what is described is very simple, and is always accessible to the author (the author of the current diary) and the researcher.

Google Docs or Microsoft One Note interfaces make a clear contribution to logging on online interfaces. Their advantage is that no local backup is required, all information is automatically stored in the cloud. They also provide a password-protected service and are easy to log what is described.


What do our clients gain from Diary study?

The primary gain of our clients is a study summarizing real feedback, in which we summarized the actual activities, motivations, behavior, and experiences of the users.


What is the role of our clients in the preparation of Diary study?

It is important for our clients to provide us users willing to take part in testing and give us (and them) access to their product or service.


The result of a successful Diary study

The finished Diary study is a study that includes a summary of each user’s logs, as well as the conclusions and recommendations drawn from them.

  • Information from client: Usage statistics, former studies
  • Client cooperation: Provide participants
  • Deliverables: Document about the findings of the diary study, including a list of problems and proposed solutions.