Things to Consider When Setting Up A UX Diary Study

Things to Consider When Setting Up A UX Diary Study
Google Image

What is a UX Diary Study?  

UX diary studies are a qualitative research method that asks participants to record their perceptions, thoughts, opinions, and actions to a particular prompt. They are typically longitudinal, lasting a few days to a few weeks or even months. In simple terms, UX diary studies aim to gather data about users while using a particular product or performing a specific task to make design improvements that increase customer satisfaction. 

Setting Objectives 

Study objectives will serve as your compass throughout the project. You can refer to them at each step of the research process to ensure you're gathering the right type and amount of information. If you are working within a team on a UX diary study, it is important to consider everyone's input. Typically for a study, 3-5 objectives are standard. 

When writing your objectives, think of how the idea for the study came about. Your goals must be clear, concise, and achievable. Here are some question prompts that might help you create impactful objectives: 

  • What is our current customer experience like when using our product(s)?
  • Which parts of the process are easy/difficult for customers? 
  • Why are customers choosing one product over another? 
  • What are the 3-5 things we must know about how customers use this product to serve them better?

You will have to customize these questions to fit your specific project goals, but they should help get a conversation started. Once you have written some draft objectives, it's time to iterate and refine them until they meet the below criteria:


Create achievable objectives that can be satisfied through your chosen methodology, such as a UX diary study. You'll be able to assess if your objectives are feasible in the pre-planning phase. For UX diary studies, you'll want to consider if your target audience can answer or complete the tasks presented and if you are conducting the correct number of interviews to fully understand the questions at hand. 


Vague objectives are the bane of every UX study's existence. They muddy the waters and make it challenging to inspire action. For example, if you are getting negative feedback on one of your products, instead of an objective saying, 'uncover negative customer experiences,' you would specify which product is causing problems. A specific objective would read more like this: 'uncover the causes of negative customer feedback during the online booking process.


Since UX studies generally aim to collect qualitative and anecdotal data, you must consider the appropriate metrics for your research. In some cases, you will use frequency counts or attitudinal questions. These are great tools to measure the prevalence of a particular issue or the thoughts and feelings of the participant while completing a task. For example, you might want to know how often a participant is experiencing negative emotions regarding your product. 


The complexity of your study will depend on how long you want to collect data. Generally, UX diary studies span from a few days to several weeks. You and your team will need to decide how long you think it will take to gather enough information to meet the project's objectives. It's also essential to keep the fielding time concise so you don't lose participants' interest. You can mitigate drop-off by adequately setting expectations during recruiting and compensating participants appropriately. 

Selecting a Target Audience 

Setting target audience criteria is critical to the success of your UX diary study. This is where you want to be extremely specific about your objectives and determine how your target audience will help or hurt your chances of meeting them. 

Screening Questions 

Screener questions should be used to determine who does and does not qualify for your diary study. If you are using a database of existing customers, you should have a lot of the information needed to qualify respondents already available. If you want to include potential customers, you should be a lot more detailed and specific with your screener questions. 

When writing screener questions, you don't want to make it obvious which answer options will be qualified. Poor screener questions can lead to unusable results. For example, if you want to include people who purchase organic foods in your study, then you would not want to ask, 'do you purchase organic foods?' instead, you should ask, ‘when was the last time you purchased organic foods.' The latter option is more discreet and will ensure you include only qualified respondents. 

How Many Audiences 

Companies will often have multiple target audiences, segments, or personas. When conducting a UX diary study, you'll likely want feedback from multiple, if not all, of these different customer groups. It's standard to have at least 5 participants per target audience. This ensures consistent themes and hopefully some differences in feedback from each group. 

Creating Your Prompts

Map to Objectives 

As previously mentioned, your objectives serve as the compass for your study, so you'll want to refer to them often to stay on track. One trick is putting your objectives into a table and writing down prompt ideas for each. This way, you can trace each question to a specific objective and desired outcome to keep your study concise and focused. 

Here is a sample table that may be helpful to map objectives to prompts. 

  • Objective
  • Prompt
  • Outcome

Test Internally

After mapping out your prompts and objectives, you will need to test your prompts internally. Set aside a few hours with your team to do trial runs of the study. At this point, you will want to show your test participants precisely what the experience will look like. If you are using an online platform, like EthOS, you will want to have all of your prompts programmed into the tool. 

During the testing phase, you want to ensure that:

  • Respondents will be able to answer the questions how you intended 
  • The flow of the questions makes sense 
  • The questions are easy to read and understand
  • You have covered all of your objectives thoroughly
  • Each question is displayed correctly and with the appropriate media (if applicable)

When testing your remote diary study prompts amongst your team members, take notes on how the questions are answered, any further questions you had, or anywhere there are obstacles for the respondent. Of course, when you're using a remote platform like EthOS, you can easily create follow-up tasks for respondents. 


Finally, once you have mapped your objectives and done internal testing, it's time to iterate. During this phase of UX diary study preparation, your team will make the final edits to your objectives and prompts to ensure your research question will be answered when it comes time to field. 

Ready to Field 

Finally, the time has come. After a thorough and thoughtful planning period, you will be ready to field your study. All the prep work will be worth it, as it will help ensure you have a smooth fielding experience. 

Consider using a remote diary study tool like EthOS, as it will alleviate many of the logistical challenges usually associated with diary studies since the platform allows you to edit to prompts, set follow-ups, and track the study's progress all from one dashboard. 

UX diary studies are a powerful tool for taking deep dives and collecting detailed information about how your customers use your products, leading to actionable and impactful results.

Similar Articles

Consumer Technology Trends

Consumer technology trends not only influence the operation of businesses but also affect the way consumers interact with technology. These trends have a huge impact on the way that people utilize technology in their daily lives.

Ocr as a Strategy to Win in a Competitive Insurance Industry. Here’s How

In the past, business processes used to be extensive and exhaustive. Today, optical character recognition has become an absolute necessity for insurance businesses owing to the amount of paperwork they have to deal with.

feedback software

There was a time when companies and businesses used to develop every feature that they wanted, and this also includes building customer feedback software starting from scratch. 

How to Improve your Customer Service with WhatsApp Business App

Do you remember the day you went without using WhatsApp? Probably, your answer would be there is no such day. Such is the eminence of WhatsApp. That is why WhatsApp can provide massive business opportunities as well.

Why outsource back-office support services?

Outsourcing back-office support services is one of the most important decisions a company can take to reduce costs, increase operational efficiency, and become more competitive in relation to its industry peers. Companies outsource back-office functions to focus their available resources on core business functions and operations thereby leading business growth.

Tips for Keeping Your Warehouse Accident-Free

Warehouses, major manufacturing plants, and other commercial spaces can be some of the safest places to work, but only if certain steps are taken. All members of staff, from upper management down to temporary workers, have to follow the rules, set a good example, and show initiative where needed.

data cleansing

When you start building a company, the first thing that you will need is the customers that you can rely on, and the problem may occur in this early stage. Acquiring customers is not an easy task, but one can make it happen with an effective marketing strategy.

Same day letter delivery service

This is the article where I talked about the top  5 services offering same-day letter delivery. Same-day deliveries can be quite convenient especially when it’s something urgent.

Business Cards 101 - Things You Need to Know

Sending thank-you notes to your customers or clients is a great way to show that they matter to you and to your business, and a handwritten note sends an even stronger message and can further strengthen your relationship