Skip to content Runs Diary Study on New Android App

The principal user researcher at describes her dscout experience.

Aruna Balakrishnan: Recently, I was introduced to dscout in a qualitative research forum, and then again at an event where Fitbit and Troika researchers were explaining how they use it. After running two projects myself—including a diary study on’s new Android app—I would argue dscout delivers one of the more powerful formats of user data we have.

Hello, mobile diaries

Using the dscout app, study participants answered open- and closed-ended questions, and they recorded certain answers with 30-second videos. This data was filled with so many insights because users focused on what was most important to them, and this seemingly small amount of data carried a lot of context.

Of course, if your study has hundreds of people—or even just 30 participants—you still end up with a lot of videos. When you have a lot of videos to review, having those clips pre-made is research gold. I was able to rapidly choose clips—without worrying about cutting them—and immediately share them. It made the data so much more accessible to our team.

Where limits serve a purpose

Even running a traditional diary study would have been impossible for me as a one-person research team. Recruiting, managing the participant communication, keeping track of who’s done what, and taking the time to analyze all the data—both the qualitative and quantitative coming in—is a huge undertaking to do manually.

"The dscout platform simplified the process, eliminating much of the logistical coordination work and letting me focus only on the information I wanted to get and the information that I did get."

At first, the restrictions around the number of questions you can ask and the length of video scouts could record were, admittedly, a bit irritating. Then I realized those limits served a purpose: focus.

When you have limited resources, you have to focus on exactly what you want to get out of the study. It contains the amount of data that you're getting. That makes analysis approachable and achievable quickly and easily.

That big moment

We learned so many exciting things from this project, such as how important local topics were to our users. With our new app, you can share your location, so we can showcase relevant local petitions. It's obvious that people want relevance, so we knew it was going to make a difference. But their reactions got us thinking about how to translate that user experience and journey onto our web experience.

We captured so much feedback like, "Wow, there are things happening right around me that I could get involved in!" That huge moment of joyful user experience inspired us to double down on our efforts to localize. We did that research—from set-up to analysis—in four weeks. We hadn't anticipated that it would be both so fast and so powerful.

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