If you want to conduct research of a user’s experience of your app or product over an extended period of time, versus a one-time session, then a diary study is the right method for you. Diary studies, aka longitudinal studies, are a great way to collect qualitative data through a user’s daily logs — in the user’s natural context — so that UX researchers, developers, and designers can study and learn from these daily interactions.

Lookback serves as your data collector and single URL for a project. It’s the repository that your entire team can create and share time-stamped notes and highlights to surface insights during or after the study. You can use Lookback for your desktop or mobile diary studies to add strategic value to your practice. Here’s how:

1. Decide how to structure your study, then create a project.

Will each participant have their own project? Or do you want to collect all recordings in a single, global project? Each unique session will create a recording that saves itself, within the associated project, chronologically by date/time indicating the participants name or identifier. Once you’ve decided the structure, create a project – same as you would for any study on Lookback. If you’re creating a multi-project diary study you will have to repeat project creation for each participant.

2. Chose how to communicate the study’s instructions. 

You’ll want to be clear on how often your participant should click the Self-Test link to record a new session: once a day? Twice a week? At least X times in a defined period of time? Check out our customizable mobile and desktop templates for ideas. 

It’s important to note that instructions, calendaring, and communication with participants is managed by the researcher throughout the duration of the diary study. Lookback provides the tool for housing and recording the study, not scheduling or communicating with beforehand.

3. Share the Self-Test URL in your instructions

Within the project you’ll see the Self-Test icon, click to access the link to share with your participant. If you’re creating one global project, share the Self-Test URL with all of your participants. This single URL can be distributed an infinite amount of times. For a multi-project diary study, be sure to share the project-specific self-test URL with the right participant once you’ve created the project 😀. Watch our Self-Test demo video for a broader tutorial.

4. Send thanks!

Once the diary study has completed, be sure to thank your participant 🙏

We would love to know how you do diary studies with Lookback. Feel free to reach out to us at uxresearch@lookback.io with any questions, feedback, tips and ideas.