5 things to look for during Interviews and Screen-based Research

When you are planning a research project, you don’t really know what insights and learnings will come from it. As you speak to participants, patterns and issues will emerge in their feedback, and you will start to recognize certain pieces of feedback that stand out as important.

That said, when you start a project, you will have some sense of what types of feedback you are looking for based on the method of research you’re running. For example, when you run a usability test, you want to uncover any user experience issues that prevent your participant from completing a task.

It is important to tag your notes as you take them, so that you can call out specific pieces of feedback as important or particularly insightful. This will dramatically reduce the amount of time required to distill the learnings from your session notes by helping separate the signal from the noise in your notes.


Field Guide allows you to quickly tag the notes you take during a session, in the same way you tag things on Slack or Twitter. When creating your project, you can define what tags you want to use depending on the type of research you’re leading. While running a session, you can simply type #to quickly access those pre-defined tags, or to add a new one.

It is best to keep your list of tags to no more than 7 for a project, for the sake of keeping yourself focused. Use these to call out different types of important feedback, you can analyze them for learnings and next steps after your sessions are done.


In order to get you started, here are some suggestions on tags for your project. You will learn which tags work best for you as you go through a couple projects.

For Interviews:

  • #need — the motivation that is driving the participants actions and feelings
  • #painpoint — barriers or roadblocks that prevent the participant from fulfilling their need
  • #activity — actions the user takes throughout their experience
  • #touchpoint — people, places and things the participant interacts with through their experience
  • #quote — something the participant has said that helps clearly exemplify the learnings or next steps you have identified

For Screen-based research:

  • #issue — technical or user experience problems the participant has encountered
  • #comprehension — information, interactions or experiences that your user didn’t understand
  • #preference — the choice a participant makes when presented with options
  • #effort — ease (or lack of) that participant has in completing a task
  • #quote — as above, something the participant has said that helps clearly exemplify the learnings or next steps you have identified

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