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May 24, 2021
Work smarter, not harder. These 5 tips will help you make the most of your UX research session recordings and analysis.
You can start making the most of your research recordings before you even schedule your sessions.
Give some thought ahead of time to how you’ll analyze your research. The kinds of analysis you plan to do—and the kinds of insights you’re hoping to pull out—may have an impact on how you’ll conduct your research. For example, if you’re conducting moderated usability tests, timestamped notes can help you track things like “time on task” more quickly during analysis. On the other hand, meticulous timestamping during the session may not be as important for generative user interviews.
Need a hand keeping track of what happens or what users say, when? Check out our usability testing template, complete with an easy way to timestamp your notes during the session.
As you’re conducting your session, certain moments may stick out as important. Making note of these (and when they happen) during the session can make it easier for you to pull out the best clips for your stakeholders later. You can also tag specific moments with keywords or themes as they emerge, and review your notes to pull out the most important tidbits.
To do this, you’ll want timestamped and well-organized notes. But sometimes (okay, all the times) it’s difficult to capture everything in appropriate detail and pay attention to the session at hand. Having a note taker for your session can help you focus on the participant and get well-organized notes. Plus, it’s a great way to get stakeholders involved in the actual process of research.
Transcripts can be really helpful for scanning through important moments in a session, without needing to rewatch the whole thing. Transcripts also help you create a searchable database of what happened during past research sessions. If you ever want to go back and dig into insights about a particular topic or feature, it’s relatively easy to search through text transcripts for specific words, phrases, etc.
There are tons of transcription tools on the market. Keep in mind that real live human transcription is typically more accurate than AI-generated transcription. It’s also more expensive, and you may not need every word to be exactly correct for this purpose.
Highlight reels are one of the most important assets you can bring from your research sessions to your final presentations. Seeing a real user struggle with a feature, for example, can really help stakeholders build empathy.
At the end of your research study, you may find that what you present to stakeholders falls into themes. In this case, David Travis of UserFocus recommends that you package your highlights in small groups of clips that show similar things happening. He also recommends keeping your clips short and sweet—under five minutes per theme.
Finally, in order to make the most of each and every research recording, you’ll need to make sure you’re storing and organizing all that raw data properly. This isn’t the most glamorous part of the research process, but it’s an essential part of doing research that lasts. A good tagging system will make it SO much easier to search and recall important insights later, track changes over time, and tie your efforts to business outcomes.
Rather than tagging everything at the very end of your project, try to do it (or at least some of it) as you conduct your study, adding recordings and notes as they come in.
And there you have it—five quick and easy ways to get more value out of your research recordings and help you speed through research analysis.
Lucky for us, there are tons of tools to help you make the most of your research session recordings. Here are a few to check out. A lot of them cover multiple functions, like taking notes, creating transcriptions, and exporting highlight reels. So you may only need one of these tools to get the job done!
Looking for even more tools to get your research done right? Check out our UX Research Tools Map—the 2021 edition is coming soon!
Carrie Boyd is a UXR content wiz, formerly at User Interviews. She loves writing, traveling, and learning new things. You can typically find her hunched over her computer with a cup of coffee the size of her face.