Over our years of contracting and consulting we've worked in a wide range of teams and tried many tools to analyse our UX research. User Interviews and User Tests are the staple of UX research yet there haven't been many great tools out there that work with the UX process. We decided to change that with Evolve.
In my blog post outlining 4 methods for analysing user interviews I describe 2 common approaches that exist in other software today: Coding and Tagging. These methods involve meticulously reading transcripts and applying codes/tags to the individual pieces of text to standardise the analysis. While these methods are great for an academic setting they are incredibly time consuming and often involve having to go back over the text multiple times as you discover new codes/tags.
We've never been big fans of either coding or tagging. We've tried the tools out in the market and we've also tried to use generic tools like Trello, Airtable, and Excel to analyse the research. But non of these approaches compare to the physical experience of moving sticky notes around on a wall when affinity mapping. We wanted a tool that let you have that experience but still allowed for a rigorous analysis of our qualitative research.
We especially liked the simple Kanban style of Trello. But Trello has plenty of limitations for analysing UX research:
- If you want structure in your notes you would ideally want 1 kanban board per research participant - but then there is no way to affinity map between participants
- If you put all of your participants in one board it becomes overwhelming if you do more than a handful of participants
- You need workarounds to tag each note with the participant that the note came from
- If you affinity map your notes you lose track of where they originally were (hence the need for workarounds) and you can only ever put one note into one theme
- Once you have affinity mapped your notes into themes there's no easy way to pull them out and write a report
So while we really liked the simple drag-and-drop nature of a kanban board Trello just had too many limitations.
Sheets and Airtable were great for keeping the traceability of the note to the tags. But the problem with using spreadsheets is the lack of visual grouping as you build themes. Also once the notes are in a spreadsheet there is no good way to archive the notes in a way that is searchable for the future.
We have plenty of competitors who do a great job of making Coding/Tagging user friendly. But these approaches are cumbersome (as I described in my article). We wanted something different.
We've just launched the beta version of Evolve and we're looking forward to hearing your feedback. While we're in beta all of our plans are free - even our professional plan which lets you collaborate with team members. You can sign up to try Evolve for free. We'd love to hear any thoughts or feedback that you have which you can submit to us through the feedback section inside the app.
Our beta version includes sample projects - including the results of analysing a user test. If you'd like to try Evolve on your own project, why not start with our guide on how to analyse a usability test with Evolve.Back to blog