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How to step up your UX assay efforts with able note-taking

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How to step up your UX assay efforts with able note-taking

Cydelle Zuzarte
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Cydelle Zuzarte

Being user researchers, our backbone lies in planning assay and interviewing real users of our product. The assay we conduct enables us to have some strong foundation of insights rather than a cloud of intuitions or assumptions that emerge within the team. However, the insights are just the tip of the abstract and what we don’t see is what lurks below the surface. The entire assay anatomy is an busy process.

Looking at assay studies with a close lens, ascertainment will always remain the antecedence of assay and is a very important UX convenance as well. It requires the advisers to be competent with alert and compassionate the users, deep diving into their needs, frustrations, motivations, behaviors, and assuredly free the observations. Such convenance is highly able when a team of people participates in the assay study to attestant the users and their problems.

But, is ascertainment the only analytical albatross while administering the research?

Well, no. Ascertainment is just one half of the puzzle we are trying to solve. The other half and often alone one is note-taking. Ascertainment and note-taking go hand in hand, like a team, where altered actors can bring assorted perspectives and lenses into the data gathered.

This teamwork can be accomplished by acutely adding the roles amid a adjudicator and a notetaker:

Moderator — Conducts the affair and interviews the user

Notetaker — Observes and abstracts the sessions, capturing comments, actions, behaviors, and environments through notes. Here, the notetaker can be addition researcher, designer, PMs, developers, business analyst…ANYONE!

Why is note-taking important?

Unfortunately, note-taking isn’t accustomed with ease and like me, many advisers must have been trying to explain its accent to the larger group they collaborate with.

1. Note-taking is a basic User Assay skill

Is note-taking really important? We are already celebratory this right, we can just write down only the absorbing points?

“The report is not the only achievement of a assay insight.”

Notes are the legos that build the assay and synthesis. What we abduction molds the way we accept the user, their experiences, and problems. Every acumen should have a alpha and needs to trackback to raw data i.e notes.

2. Accountability

How does having such abundant notes help in the analysis?

While the sessions may be recorded with abreast consent, notes are used to advance the assay process. Notes are easier to access than recordings, you can find what you are attractive for faster instead of re-visiting your 45mins to an hour-long recording.

3. Makes follow up easy

“The user mentioned commodity really absorbing and I had wanted to know more about it. I really can’t recall it right now.”

By note-taking, you can have opportunities to deep dive into the assay by asking follow up questions. 

Notes come in handy when the eyewitness would like to follow up with some questions based on the user responses to get the best advice or accept better. These questions can be easily noted down and asked at the end of the session.

4. Unreliability

“We can hear the recordings later once we are back at work and complete the notes as well”

Watching the video/audio recordings post the assay is a annoying task. Post research, the focus is on planning out the assay action and time is commodity we don’t have at hand. Also, sometimes, many of the folks who accompanied you through the sessions may not be free to actively help out in the assay as the work just gets piled up, creating a back-log in your plan.

It’s important to record the notes while you are present at the session, by this, you can abduction more about the user than the video/audio recorder can. You can note down the body language, behavior, and personality as well.

Lastly, technology also can’t be 100% relied upon, the camera array could die, the audio might not get captured or there might be some glitch. So it’s always good to have accurate notes as a backup.

How to plan for note-taking?

Even though you’ve managed to lay down the accent of the notetaker, there might still be a few apprehensions:

“We can’t write notes like a researcher. You guys have been doing this since a long time.”

“I am too absent alert to what the user is saying so I miss everything”

“I make a lot of spelling mistakes so I don’t think I can physically write notes”

Yes, note-taking comes artlessly to some and it is a task for others. So here are some ways to start affective your stakeholders in taking notes during a assay study and if you are addition from a non-research accomplishments and attempt with note-taking, I hope this helps…

Disclaimer: By autograph notes, I do not mean notes for account of the affair or a workshop, user assay notes need to be and are different. But these avenues can push you to get into the habit of autograph annihilation and everything.

1. Identify your abundance level

Make sure you stick to a tool that you are adequate with; you can use a pen and paper or a laptop. Accept the altitude that the assay would be conducted in (remote, walking, an alien space, a assay room) so that you can be able for it. Make your strengths well known so that it is taken into application and accounted for while planning the anatomy of the notes.

2. Know the type of study you will be complex in

Understand the kind of study your team would be afterward and the amount of data you would be extracting. By being prepared, you make sure that the right data is being calm in an adapted format that your team can work with.

A spectrum assuming how note-taking varies from a small account study to an ethnographic study.

The acute range of Notes depending on the kind of study.

3. Familiarity with the Script

For those accommodating in the research, it is capital to go over the questions to be asked and know the flow of the session. This would help in alienated any confusions on the main day so you can absolutely focus on capturing every detail possible.

Training yourself to take able notes

Notes aren’t just a good-to-have, commodity to drag ourselves as the voice of the user. To be able to do commodity with them, we need to ensure that the notes are captured in the right way.

Here are some tips that worked while I took the notes (trust me that’s all I had to do as for a couple of months as an intern) or when I complex people to beam my assay sessions:

1. Set a structure

Here is where your assay guide would help, adapt a certificate disconnected by broad topics mentioned in the account question. The notes can be added to each area when covered during the interview. Discuss with the folks you will be alive with to make sure you have covered aggregate important.

A table with one column breaking down the account to major topics and the other colum blank for notes
Break down the topics in sub-topics/questions to guide the notetaker through the session. This can be done using a spreadsheet as well

There is no single framework for this. Experiment with altered layouts to see what is most acceptable for the study you have at hand. I came across one such absorbing layout which may work for contextual interviews.

AEIOU Frame work- Activities, Environment, Interactions, Objects and User
AEIOU Framework

2. Quote, don’t interpret

Try capturing the accurately (what the user absolutely said and what they did) instead of making conclusions. By doing this, maybe you are adding your own biases which are unrelatable to the user. There is an entire next phase for amalgam and sense-making where the skills of interpreting will come in handy.

The user mentions that she tracks her daily costs on spreadsheets while the notetaker concludes that she loves spreadsheet
She never said that!! Classic mistakes that may lead you to the wrong path

3. Do not filter

Record ALL notes and not just the one accompanying to your achievement or feature. By doing so, you might be capturing user needs and behaviors that shape your product’s future action.

About the user, quotes, accomplishments and behaviours, wow moments, frustrations, keywords of the study
Few points to keep in mind, behindhand of the note-taking method

4. Do a favor by adding time stamps

It is fine to miss a few things while taking notes. Keeping a time affectation for every affair helps you to highlight the times of the area you couldn’t capture. In this way, you can get back to that absolute part of the recording and complete it.

Add a timestamp to the book you missed in the account to announce commodity important

Pro Tip: It’s best to review the notes just after the account or the very same day so that any likely missing info is recalled and anon written.

So, what’s next?

Now that you have got your raw data, it’s accessible that not many people would be able to absorb so much. This raw data needs to be broken down and alone coded by the researchers. The alone parts will then be stitched calm and articular as trends, themes, and insights abstraction out the entire story.

In conclusion, all the “grunt work” (like a few people call it or even get afflicted with) helps you be absolutely assertive about your insights and finish the activity strong!

Appear May 12, 2020 — 08:45 UTC

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