How to Get the Most out of 📝Notes, # Hashtags


Taking notes and using hashtags in UserZoom GO

Taking notes when doing research is a fact of life. However, matching notes to a particular moment or user behavior and revisiting them can be a manual, time-consuming effort that bogs down your analysis and time to insights.

For that reason, one of the core features of UserZoom GO is the ability to take time-stamped notes and use #tags to make your research and analysis quicker and easier!

So without further adieu, let's start by talking about who can take notes and when.

Who can take notes?

  • Users with a Researcher seat can take notes both during a live moderated session and on the recordings after a session.
  • Collaborators can join live moderated sessions as note-takers, but can't take notes on the recordings afterward.

When can you take notes?

Notes can either be taken in the moment during a live moderated session, or they can be written down later while observing participant recordings for both moderated and unmoderated in the dashboard.

The benefits of taking notes during a moderated session

One of the main benefits of taking notes and using hashtags (more on that in a second) during a moderated session is that it makes it easier to find the important bits in the recording later. As one of our researchers said:

"Taking notes during the session really just helps me stay organized more than anything. It also makes analysis faster because I don't have to memorize everything that's happening or re-watch the videos."

Once you have notes written down, it helps to categorize, or tag, them for faster analysis. We enable this through our hashtag feature.


What is the #tag feature?

UserZoom GO allows you to tag your notes, which is helpful for categorizing them. For example, you may want to tag a note as #success,  #confusion, or #quote as a quick and simple way to categorize and find specific notes later on.

Or, how one of our researchers put it ...

"Tags make it easier for you to start identifying places, behaviors, stories, etc. that help you connect the dots and see categories of things that are happening."

So again, why take notes and tags in GO versus on a doc or piece of paper? The simple answer: It makes it faster and easier to do your research and analysis.

Pro GO tips:

  • All your notes can be downloaded as a CSV and organized however you want. So if you are used to doing Data/Rainbow sheets, not only is this easy but the timestamps are automatically there and there is a link directly to that timestamp in the video.
  • The timestamp starts when you first start typing, which means it is easy to summarize an insight with a single note (e.g. "#confusion about the participant onboarding experience").
  • The notes being time-stamped makes it easy to go back to the exact moment you want to analyze further without searching or rewatching.
  • You can take notes during the session as well as after and can edit notes after a session.


The end goal: faster analysis & better collaboration

Once you've completed your user interview, the recording and your notes will be available on the dashboard, and the true heart and soul of research begins – analysis. But as is often the case, time is of the essence, which is why we gathered a few tips to help speed up your analysis and time to insights.

Pro tips:

  • You can download all your notes in a .CSV to make a Data/Rainbow Sheet. Bonus: you have all the timestamps marked on this file!
  • You can pull in the tags to get quick quotes for reports.
  • On the recording, you can take additional notes as well as edit your previous notes and tags.
  • As a general tip, try making the recording and notes are fullscreen as you do your analysis.

Not only does taking notes in the platform speed up your time to insights, but it is also easier to collaborate with other researchers and stakeholders. Rose, Lead Product Researcher at UserZoom, discusses how using notes and tags makes collaborating easier:

If I only use a spreadsheet to take notes, it wouldn't enable others at the end of the study to easily pull hashtags or times, and them creating an insights report would be much more difficult. Using the notes and tags in GO is simply more collaborative because anyone can go in and create an insights reports from my notes and tags."


Tips & tricks: How to get the most out of notes and tags

Setting up #Tags

Our experts provided the following tips to make using tags easier.

  • Though some tags are created on the fly during a live session, it helps to brainstorm specific tags beforehand to make analysis faster and easier.
  • Make simple, short tags that everyone can understand and remember. Pro tip: avoid using too many acronyms.
  • It is great to develop standard tags across all your research. This makes it easy for others to take over or make use of your research, as well as collaborate with a variety of stakeholders.

Keep in mind tags can be used in multiple ways, such as:

  • To code themes and patterns (#bug, #navigation_error, #usability, etc.)
  • To mark quotes and snippets you want to use (#quote, #happy, #mad)
  • To organize and analyze feedback based on screens (#screen5 or #task2)

If you take only one thing from this article, it's that our experts adamantly agree that using the #quote tag is a fantastic way to remember, and easily find, golden nuggets from your sessions!

Tips for taking notes during a session

The key to note-taking is making notes that are long enough to clearly express what you're trying to capture without being too long or too short. Too long of notes can distract you from the session while too short of a note will leave you scratching your head later on and leave you with an unmanageable menagerie of very short snippets when you export them.

Our experts agree that a sentence or two should be what you're aiming for.

Also, keep in mind that when you make a note, it's best to do so at the start and/or end of a story. "She liked it" isn't a story and isn't particularly insightful; however, "she says how much this feature has made her product experience better" is a helpful moment to take note of and will provide a better marker for you later on when you're analyzing your session and feedback.

  • As one of our experts  Jamie mentions - using notes is a great way to make sure you do not miss important areas, especially if you really need to concentrate.
  • Though thinking about your tags ahead of time is great, the platform is also flexible enough to add to or come up with those tags on the fly. Many researchers often build the #coding as they go.  The good news is that because the #notes are timestamped and flexible, it's doable!

Pro GO tip: Our experts agree that the timestamps on the notes and tags are the most helpful feature as it prevents the need to manually search for the moment you need.

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