Occasionally, what we need to learn about our users can’t take place within a single session or event. Diary studies offer the opportunity to track information over time, for a more holistic view of user behaviors across varied contexts and environments.
- Minimum 5 people
- Minimum 2 days of data collection
Pairs well with
- Ethnographic Research
How to do it:
- Decide on research questions, goals, and methodology.
- Recruit, schedule, and incentivize participants.
- Identify tools or design methods for data capture.
- Present tools and instructions to the participant.
- Allow the participant time to complete activities and populate their diary.
- Once data capture is complete and returned, discuss the results with the participant.
- Summarize findings.
Diary Studies: Understanding Long-Term User Behavior and Experiences – Nielsen Norman Group
User logs (diaries) of daily activities as they occur give contextual insights about real-time user behaviors and needs, helping define UX feature requirements.
Diary Studies – User Interviews
User Interviews covers diary-based study methods, including a review of multiple forms of diaries and several basic study designs for employing diary-based research.
Dear Diary: Using Diaries to Study User Experience – UXPA Magazine
A diary study is a qualitative technique for collecting data on what users have done or experienced. Much like a travel journal contains descriptions of the traveler’s experiences, a UX diary contains descriptions of the user’s experiences with a system.