User research analysis tips
After conducting user research, analysis can begin. Typically you want to do this as soon as possible after your last interview, to ensure the findings are fresh in your mind.
Here are some top tips from Gabi Mitchem-Evans, Senior User Researcher at CDPS.
Note-taking (during research)
- When note-taking, write down raw observations such as direct quotes you have heard a participant say, things you’ve seen them do or observations. It’s important not to include your own thoughts or opinions in your notes, as this introduces bias.
- During your interview, try to take notes as you go along. This could be digitally, or on pen and paper - whatever works best for you.
- Invite one other person to your interviews who also acts as a note-taker. If this is not possible, record your interviews and ask someone else to take notes. It’s best practice to have at least one other person observing your sessions so that you can discuss your observations and spot themes together. You may not spot everything, so having another eye ensures the research is fair and not biased.
- If you’re recording the session and a participant says something you want to refer back to, you could write down a timestamp to refer back to the time they said the quote at a later date.
- Make a note of any ideas you have somewhere separate so you can refer to them later in the project!
- Do not include any personally identifiable details of the participant - refer to them as P(number) and only include details which are relevant to the research.
- Once you have finished your interviews, come together with your other observer/s and be prepared to talk through your findings. This may mean you need to put aside some time to individually go through your notes and make sense of them before you are ready to discuss them with somebody else.
- Find a format or tool which works for you to put your findings all in one place. We often use Miro or other collaborative tools.
- Recap your problem statement, objectives and research questions to help give structure to what you have learned through the research.
- Individually write down the five most important things you saw for each participant.
- Discuss your observations together.
- Group your observations into common clusters, then name these clusters.
- Assess against your objectives and see whether you can answer them, and with how much confidence. If the answer is no or you feel you need more information then you may need to run some more rounds of research until you feel confident in your findings.
Write-up and evidence
- Develop your raw observations into high-level findings which summarise what you have found.
- Write these findings into a summarised and shareable format that everyone can understand and access easily. Keep evidence of your research analysis space so that you can show how you developed your findings and have somewhere to refer back to if needed.
- Spot where there are opportunities to improve something
- Try to write recommendations based on the improvements you could make
- There is a difference between a raw observation and a finding. A raw observation might be “password problems”.
- If we see this across multiple participants and notice what the problem is, we might develop this into a finding such as “the password rules are so complex people can’t remember what they entered”.