Let’s face it: recruiting a good cohort of users for your study can feel much harder than it should be. And analyzing qual data is something you can't help but devote significant man hours to.
All that is to say: when you have strict research deadlines, fielding a study is rarely what slows you down. It's getting the right people onboard, and getting the right insights from their sessions, that requires we jump through some hoops.
We designed dscout to give you a boost throughout the process. Here are a few ways you can harness the platform to get from "huh?" to "aha!" faster.
Use our panel, or bring your own
dscout Recruit combines lots of control (i.e., you get to choose your participants and screener questions) with lighting-fast turnaround (e.g., most screeners fill within 72 hours).
Go from boring, dated grids of participants to video applications where would-be participants showcase their creativity, imagination, and fit of a person for your study.
Create your screener with one of our researchers, launch to our panel, and watch as the applications roll in. Use filters to get to the best application and select your sample. Context starts with the best people.
Make (use of) a good first impression
Not 110% sure what you’ll explore within your study? Drop an open-end or video prompt in the participant screener. Not only will you glean the creativity and imagination of potential participants, but you'll gut-check hypotheses and research questions.
Screener videos and open-ends are exportable, so you can get top-level or first-impression insights to stakeholders and colleagues fast. If you'd like to start sharing early, you create a highlight reel of screener videos—in platform— with our Media View tool.
Fewer participants, more data.
Smaller—but just as mighty—samples make going from recruitment to fieldwork, faster. With a diary methodology that leverages multiple moments packed with data, over-time, the need for giant samples is reduced.
The amount of data captured from each participant is maximized with remote qualitative approaches.
In this way, you don't need 100 people per segment, demographic category, or geographic location. Instead, 3-5 will suffice.
Balancing a sample is still important, but you can move more quickly by selecting fewer folks with the knowledge that you'll gather so much more from each person.
For example, consider a standard survey, wherein data from participants is 1:1. They answer, you receive. With remote qual like dscout, research like a journey or persona study happens over time and moments, which you're capturing along the way. Instead of 1:1, it's 1:10 or 1:25. Again, smaller samples can still net reliable, punchy, and fast-turning results.
Design with your desired insights in mind (i.e., be strategic)
Immersing yourself in the rich subjectivity of open-ends, free response, and rich media questions is a hallmark of qualitative inquiry...and can be (should be!) time consuming.
Save yourself some time by starting your research design with the deliverable format(s) and questions you'd like to answer, and then program closed-ended questions where possible. Filtering and tagging become much easier, and you're able to provide some light quant with your outputs.
Also, Chunk up your big, hairy questions. Starting a persona study? Interested in seeing and end-to-end experience journey? Maybe looking at a longitudinal design? Whatever your question, breaking up the design into parts, or sub-activities will not only help you stay focused on designing the best research prompts for the data you need, but going with a compartmentalized approach means piecemeal analysis (read: faster).
You also likely have a variety of stakeholders interested in your insights (e.g., product, design, eng, management) who themselves are interested in different aspects of the project. Chunking up your design allows you to match your deliverable and data to their appropriate audience.
Seeing trends in your on-boarding activity that hint to a usability issue? Send to eng/design! Hearing something about perceptions of the brand and loyalty in the reflection? Share with marketing and sales.
By creating discrete tasks you're saving time, personalizing your insights, and getting more value from the data.
With Diary, adding stakeholders and colleagues as viewers gives them all the same views into the research that you have, but without the analysis privileges.
Bring your stakeholders on board from the get-go
What better way to deliver insights to stakeholders than by inviting them along to see the raw, organic data? That's easier than ever with remote research platforms like dscout.
With Diary, adding stakeholders and colleagues as viewers gives them all the same views into the research that you have, but without the analysis privileges; in other words, your analysis stays in-tact, but they can weigh-in.
Assign them a particular scout or participant to "follow" and watch as their moments roll in, or ask them to look at answers to specific questions or parts (remember chunking up the research?). However you choose to weave them in, the simple act of weaving them in can reduce the time it takes for the data to roll in and for the decision-makers to see it.
Moreover, this practice will engender empathy for the work that you and your team(s) are doing. It will highlight the effort involved and the richness of the data. Clicking a video firsthand can really drive home the impact compared to passively "seeing it" via a deliverable presentation.
Go a step further and bookmark, tag, flag, and @mention stakeholders by-name! If you see something relevant or wonder what a colleague might think of a particular moment, let them know. This way, they're pinged via email to jump into the platform and look at something you've curated for them as the data roll in. What's more agile and lean than that?
If you're conducting interviews via Live, add stakeholders as observers and let them choose which sessions they want to "sit in" on. They can easily chat you questions or follow-ups, involving them further in the process. Think "other side of the focus group mirror," but digitally.
All of this can really drive up the impact of your ultimate deliverable. Stakeholders become familiar with the participants on whom your analysis is based, adding to their understanding and your impact. This familiarity elevates impact discussions, too, with more time spent on the "How might we?" and "So what?" questions as opposed to the "What is this?" and "How did you do this?" ones. Insights become, well, more insightful.
Tag and filter for easier analysis
Staring at dozens—or even hundreds—of moments can make the road to insights feel long and arduous, but filtering and tagging can make it manageable from the outset.
Start with demographics, categories, and/or groups: Who do you want to see data from first? Then move through your project: activities (e.g., setup, first impressions, daily usage, competitive analysis), specific questions, or even specific scouts can all be useful filters to get you focused on what matters most for the questions at-hand.
Maybe you asked a closed-ended question about emotion or importance. Filter for the MOST important or MOST negative (or positive) moments and start their. What themes, trends, and throughlines do you notice?
Alternatively, look at a single question (e.g., "What was helpful about _____ in this moment?") to spot consistencies that could inform how you look at more holistic questions (e.g., How do users understand the use cases for ____?).
Tag relentlessly. Use descriptive tags to document and code what's happening in each moment (e.g., At home, on-the-go, mobile, desktop) for later scanning; thematic tags (e.g., trying to locate credible information; considering options) when you're building your frameworks; and admin tags for great scouts, useful quotes, or puzzling responses.
Don't forget the magic of the search bar! Hoping to see moments when your top competitor is mentioned? Or maybe you're interested in moments when a specific product is being used? Whatever your need, type it in the search bar and get to the more important moments right away. Again, digging into the highest-priority moments can only make your analysis of other moments sharper and clearer.
Edit data quickly into high-impact visuals
Our Diary tool is specialized in collecting impactful, short-form participant media, like photos and videos. With Media View—dscout's built-in video clip editor— create playlists of impactful scout videos and edit them into shareable highlight reels. Use the trim-by-transcript feature to showcase that sentence that really drives home the experience friction or delight point you're seeing.
Alternatively (or in addition!), export a few videos that really tell the story and drop them into comms channels, Wikis, emails, or however you socialize intelligence internally. You know the power of a contextual video or photo, and dscout makes it easy to export and share.
Use our Slack integration, public/private share links, or direct exports to get the insights in the hands of the stakeholders who need it most. You can (and should) do this on a rolling basis, as the data stream in; no need to wait until you have the perfect framework: if you're seeing it, they should, too.
All of the open-end and video transcripts are represented visually by our word cloud creator, giving you another avenue of presenting textual data. Filter to that question where you asked scouts to describe this moment in one-word, set what kinds of words you want and how many, then one-click export and drop into a deck.
Do the same with our quant frequency charts, which also respond to filters, tags, and demographics. Whether you're showing the sample demographic breakdowns or comparing segments on the pivotal quant outcome variable, you can do it more quickly (and visually) with the frequency charts, which also have the easy one-click export button.
If you're conducting interviews with Live, make use of clips. You know the question that most participants really reacted to, so cut to those and export a few to send along. Use the automatic transcript or the timeline playhead at the bottom to find the best quote for your themes.
Work with the data that remote qualitative platforms do so well at capturing: bite-sized, in-the-wild, organic moments. Together, these moments create journeys, processes, and experience maps for your users. Individually, they zoom-in on friction points and delights. Clipping, editing, and culling makes it all the more digestible
Ben is the product evangelist at dscout, where he spreads the “good news” of contextual research, helps customers understand how to get the most from dscout, and impersonates everyone in the office. He has a doctorate in communication studies from Arizona State University, studying “nonverbal courtship signals”, a.k.a. flirting. No, he doesn’t have dating advice for you.