Diary Studies

User research resources for beginners and pros

brad dalrymple
May 10, 2017 · 2 min read

A diary study collects information from participants by having them repeatedly record their thoughts about a specific activity or experience over a period of time, which may vary from a few days to a few months. This method is often used to get highly contextual information to assess attitudes, behaviors, and/or motivations. Diary studies are great at reporting the “why” of the documented experience and, because of the longitudinal nature, you also see how and why this experience can change.

  1. Diary Studies: Understanding Long-Term User Behavior and Experiences
    Kim Flaherty
    Read this for a overview of when using a diary study is useful, a explanation of the methodology, and a few helpful tips.
  2. Peaking into your participants lives with a diary study
    A primer on diary studies with walkthrough of an example.
  3. Dear Diary: Using Diaries to Study User Experience
    Carine Lallemand
    This article is a great example of how to use a diary study to document an experience through the different times/phases a person experiences.
  4. How we ran a diary study from within our product
    Megan Dell
    I love this article — it’s a good step-by-step case study of how to run a diary study and some tools you may already use.
  5. Running mobile diary studies via SMS
    Benjamin Humphrey
    Traditionally, diary studies are a pretty manual process, involving pre-made sets of journals and physical photographs. This article uses text messaging as a way to bypass old processes.
  6. Use a Diary Study to Extend Your UX Research
    UX Mastery
    This article is a great overview of diary studies and includes a wonderful ~3 minute video.

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brad dalrymple

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User Research

Thoughts on User Experience Research Methods, Lean UX, and User-Centered Design

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