“I know that we should be learning more about our users, but we have to go to market soon and we just don’t have the time or money for a huge research project right now!”

Design research mitigates business risk by interviewing and observing potential customers in context. It can be expensive and cumbersome, however, to have researchers present with user group participants every minute of every day. How can we enable our test users to answer prompted questions and send us insights remotely?


Traditionally, researchers have had potential users monitor their day to day activities by keeping physical journals of their day to day activities. The Design Research (DR) Diary is an update to this idea that leverages participant users’ smart phones to answer prompts and send pictures to product designers and researchers on the team.


Researchers can track participant answers with an online dashboard.



The DR Diary App


The workflow is simple. The product team creates an account online and enters it’s research questions for it’s user group.

The product group enters the information for their test group of participants and sends invitations through email, SMS, or any other medium with a unique code and a link to download the application in the Apple App or Google Play store. When the user logs in with the code, they see the questions entered by the research team. As the questions are answered and photos taken, they are synced in a cloud system.



Portable hospital bed in hallway

Participants can add photos to their answers for more clarity.


Managing Responses: Web Platform


The product team can access their sample group’s answers through the web-based portal, comparing participant answers side-by-side. From here, the team may choose to ask users for more input or ask additional questions.



Summing up

The DR Diary app enables us to gather user insights in a more time and cost efficient way. With a simple app, the product team can send a list of open-ended prompts to a sample group of users to compliment research interviews, brainstorm concepts and test ideas to more quickly identify value proposition opportunities.


Categories: Ideas