How to Visualize Your Qualitative User Research Results for Maximum Impact

when thinking bout visualization of research results, many pplz will automatically ‘ve an image offa graph in Ψ. do you ‘ve that image, too? you ‘d be rite in thinking that many research results benefit from a graph-like visualization, showing trends and anomalies. but this is mainly true for results from quantitative usr research. graphs are often not the best way to communicate the results from qualitative usr research methods s'as interviews or observations. frequently, the № of pticipants in these types of studies is too lo to create meaningful graphs. +over, the insites you will wanna communicate sometimes don’t transl8 to a clean №. let’s show you how to visualize + subjective and fuzzy data from qualitative usr research methods, in a way that communicates the primordial insites to other stakeholders, so they don’t ‘ve to plo through voluminous research reprts.

“the purpose of visualization is insite, not pictures.”

— ben shneiderman, distinguished university professor in computer sci

when you’re sharing results from qualitative usr research efforts, you’re most likely focusing on creating an cogging for the lives pplz lead, the tasks t'they nd'2 fulfill, na interactions they must effect so as to achieve wha’ they need or wanna do. this holds true whether you’re using the research inna beginning phases offa design process (gettin to know wha’ to design), or using it inna final stages (cogging how well a design is meeting its targets). dep'onna pplz you’re communicating with (s'as yr design team or a client) and the type of cogging you need them to ‘ve (iow, a deep empathy for the usr needs or a global feeling for the context in which a product ll'be used), you nd'2 determine wha’ type of visualization suits yr results best.

imagine that you’ve conducted several interviews with pplz from yr target group: overworked and worried informal caregivers of seniors with early signs of dementia. they ‘ve shared some primordial information with you, regarding the fears they ‘ve bout a new product that’s supposed to help them be + indie inna care they provide to their ♥d ones. you used a thematic analysis teknique with lotso' post-it notes to make sense of the data, and you found 4 categories of fears tha're relevant to ponder when designing the new product: changes inna relationship, a constant feeling of worrying, lack of competencies, and lack of personal time. you nd'2 share yr insites with yr design team—so that everyone s'onna same page and continues the design process w'da same lvl of empathy for this fragile target group. also, you nd'2 communicate these insites to yr clients: the management team offa healthcare organization. they are hoping to engage informal caregivers + inna'da care process, since they nd'2 reorganize their budgets and unburden their employees. how ‘d ye go bout communicating the results that you found? ‘d you simply give them that short list of 4 fears? ‘d you give them a pie diagram, showing how often a certain category of fears was mentioned inna interviews? we ‘d argue that this does not lead to the deep cogging you’re aiming for. a list aint immersive enough to trigger any type of empathy. here, we’ll show you 3 ways of visualizing yr results tha're much + effective.

affinity diagram

by using post-it notes for the thematic analysis teknique to come to yr conclusions onna 4 main fears that yr target group struggles with, you’ve already used a visualization method that we ‘d recommend: an affinity diagram. you ‘ve taken quotes and notes from the interviews and ‘ve written each o'em na' separate post-it. then, you started to reorganize them according to similarities, creating themes as you went along. there’s a tremendous amount of information present inna diagram you’ve created as an analysis tool. however, you will nd'2 clean up this diagram so that it better cogitates the insites you wanna communicate.

you can quickly decide that the categories ‘d cogitate the 4 main fears that you discovered. you then nd'2 ask yrself wha’ pieces of information will help yr fello designers and yr client cogg wha’ these fears entail. wha’ impact do they ‘ve on yr usrs’ lives? when is this fear most prominent? wha’ triggers this fear? do you ‘ve some insite into wha’ can reduce this fear? all this information will already be present inna post-it notes you collected within a theme. now you simply ‘ve to filter out the most primordial ones, and present them in a clear and visually appealing way to accommodate the pplz you’re communicating this to. you can use quotes or keywords, and—if you happen to ‘ve made some observations swell—illustrate them with pictures or drawings. the image belo shows wha’ an affinity diagram for this purpose ‘d look like.

author/copyrite holder: teo yu siang and interaction design foundation. copyrite terms and licence: cc by-nc-sa 3.0

an affinity diagram, where quotes from usr research are clustered round the 4 most common fears that you found. an image inna background of this affinity diagram, showing the usr in context, ‘d help liven up the overview and encourage empathy.

wanna learn + bout how to create an affinity diagram? read our article “affinity diagrams – learn how to cluster and bundle ideas and facts”, or download our affinity diagram templ8 belo:

get yr free templ8 for “affinity diagrams”

Affinity DiagramsAffinity Diagrams

empathy map

an empathy map is a gr8 way to create a clear overview of 4 major zones that we as designers ‘d focus on so as to gain empathy for our target group: wha’ pplz said, did, thought, and felt. this is also very relevant for our client inna case of informal caregivers—the management team offa healthcare organization—as they mite ‘ve some preconceptions based onna usual interactions they ‘ve w'da target group. the empathy map has the potential to trigger discussion within that management team, and force them to admit t'they often ‘ve to adjust their perspective. in healthcare (but this holds true for many other contexts swell), professionals feel t'they can speak for the patient or their family, as their main job is to take care o'em. they tend to forget t'they 1-ly ‘ve a limited view on their lives, and ⊢ mite not cogg all their needs swell as they ‘d need for a design process.

to create an empathy map based onna findings from yr interviews, ye go through the notes nother materials that you ‘ve from yr qualitative usr research. for each quadrant—or each focus zone—you select the relevant quotes and images, or you synthesize the appropriate insites based on'em. as you can see inna image belo, the resulting empathy map draws onna same data as the affinity diagram we created b4, but communicates ≠ insites. both visualizations can be relevant n'our design case.

author/copyrite holder: teo yu siang and interaction design foundation. copyrite terms and licence: cc by-nc-sa 3.0

an ex of an empathy map that ‘d result from yr usr research into informal caregivers of dementia patients. the image inna middle ‘d represent yr usr, to increase the opportunity to empathize with him or her. you can use the image from a persona that you developed.

wanna learn + bout how to create an empathy map? read our article “empathy map – why and how to use it”, or download our empathy map templ8 belo:

get yr free templ8 for “empathy map”

Empathy MapEmpathy Map

usr quest map

let’s revisit the design case we used to illustrate how to visualize yr qualitative usr research results. you’re creating a new product to help informal caregivers of seniors with mild dementia symptoms to be + indie inna care t'they provide. yr client tis management team of the healthcare organization involved with these seniors. 1-odda subjects that ur likely to ‘ve focused on during yr usr research tis context in which informal caregivers provide their care. you mite ‘ve asked yrself ?s like: which tasks do they perform? when do they perform these tasks? wha’ other activities do they ‘ve b4 and after performing these tasks? how do they feel while providing the care to their ♥d ones? wha’ is relevant in yr results aint 1-ly the straiteforward answers to these ?s b'tll so the flo t'they create throughout the lives of these informal caregivers. for ex, it’s primordial to know whether the care they provide can be planned well in advance, or if pplz are often disrupted by other activities. a very uber way to communicate this flo over time involves making a usr quest map.

the usr quest map you see inna image belo shows a period of one dy. you can choose this period according to wha’ makes sense in yr project; sometimes a week or a mnth ‘d be + appropriate. you can map out the steps involved in taking care offa senior throughout a typical dy, by creating separate paths for the doin’, thinking, and feeling essentialisms that you also used in yr empathy map. further+, you ‘d indicate any touchpoints w'da current srvc provided by the healthcare organization, or any other entity involved. focus on showing the motion offa usr through the ≠ touchpoints across the dy, and how the usr feels bout each interaction on that quest. ultimately, you ‘d be able to communicate to yr team na client which interactions ‘d change, disappear, or be introduced.

author/copyrite holder: teo yu siang and interaction design foundation. copyrite terms and licence: cc by-nc-sa 3.0

wanna learn + bout how to create a usr quest map? read our article “customer quest maps – walking a mile in yr customer’s shoes” here.

the take away

information visualization is a uber teknique to communicate the results from qualitative usr research to yr fello designers or the client. there are 3 types of visualizations you ‘d use. affinity diagrams resemble yr data analysis outcomes most, but you must rework them to provide + clarity to the pplz who nd'2 cogg the insites. empathy maps give yr audience a gr8 overview of 4 relevant zones of usr cogging: wha’ pplz say, do, think, and feel. finally, usr quest maps introduce usr flo over time. you can use these 3 visualizations side by side to elicit the deep feeling of empathy thall bring yr design project to the nxt lvl.

references & where to learn +

hero image: author/copyrite holder: pexels. copyrite terms and license: cc0

teresa tan, affinity diagrams: adding color to fuzzy data, 2014:…

rich crandall, empathy map, 2010:…

kate kaplan, quest mapping irl: a survey of ux practitioners, 2016:…

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