Minimal Mandatory Fields
Like all good things, organization is helpful only in moderation. If every research document employs a dozen different descriptors, not only do you run the risk of unnecessarily burdening your team but also of creating unnecessary information bloat. On the other hand, including a few critical pieces of information at the beginning of every document has proven helpful for our team’s research repository.
Whether you choose Dovetail or Condens, one of the main benefits of using a tool that was designed specifically for user research is that it has the necessary organizational capabilities built right into it. If your company has the budget for such tools, I cannot say enough about the benefits of having a dedicated research tool.
Our UX team has agreed on requiring just three fields in every research note:
- Type of Research
- UX Contact
A key benefit of using these fields is simply their location at the top of the note. Before anyone reads a research note, they are aware of the following:
- What they are looking at—for example, data from a user interview, analytics, or a card sort.
- Who to contact if they have questions.
- Why the team conducted this research—for what product or service, internal or external.
Perhaps more important, populating the required fields helps your team to find a specific research note via search—even for later projects. Save yourself time in the future and begin each research note with this critical information.
Global Tags: Your Gateway to Greater Insights
Although some research is unique to a specific project, there are many times when a specific insight or data point could be relevant in the future. So you need a global-tag strategy. As your research repository begins to grow, a set of tags that spans all of your products and services is critical for linking together all relevant insights.
Start small. Outline a set of categories that you think would be relevant to your body of research, and create three to seven tags for each one. If your team is debating or doubts the need for a specific global tag, leave it out initially. Then let your team propose the addition of new tags later on. If a tag would truly provide value, it will inevitably come up again in the future.
Our team agreed upon the following categories: personas, user journey, sentiment, and product/service. This has let us identify the representation of our personas among our entire suite of products and how users feel about specific products. These tags often reveal trends that we might not have noticed otherwise, especially if there is a company-wide change that we could make to improve our overall customer experience.