UX Best Practices: What is a Diary Study?

What are Diary Studies?

A diary study is a longitudinal user experience (UX) research method that allows your team to explore how users use your digital product over time. Diary studies often include a combination of videos, photos, and survey questions, in addition to product analytics, which provides your team with a rich mix of qualitative and quantitative data.

Two additional benefits of diary studies include:

The ability to observe users “in the wild.” Diary studies allow your team to observe actual or representative users in their own environment, without a researcher or moderator present. While field studies allow you to observe real activities, they are time consuming and expensive. Usability studies, while they uncover user experience issues related to the pre-determined tasks that we’re examining, may not reveal other issues that occur in real life situations.

The ability to uncover issues that occur over time. Onboarding, retention, and ongoing engagement are activities that occur over a period of time. Diary studies allow your team to examine, for example, the first week a user uses your product or uncover opportunities to engage users throughout the day, as opposed to once a day.

Online UX research services allow you to recruit, create, manage, and analyze your diary studies—making them more accessible than ever.

Interested in learning more about diary studies? Learn about when, why, and how to use a diary studies, as well as other user experience research methods, in our UX Strategy for Success Digital Products workshop.