• 10 hours
  • Easy

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Last updated on 12/5/18

Look for patterns and actionable insights

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Now that you've completed all this research, it's important to do something with it right away while it's still fresh in your head! It's time to make your research meaningful.

In a professional context, make sense of your research as a team; your brains can work together to approach and interpret your findings in different ways.

Gather your findings

Start by collecting all your documentation in one place. Your document will differ for each project, but may include:

  • Field notes / notebooks

  • Sketches

  • Photos

  • Screenshots

  • Video

  • Audio

  • Interview transcripts

If your research grew  and developed differently from your initial research plan, make a quick outline of everything you did as part of the research for this project. I like to add a few quick notes to help spark my memory as I work through my notes and ensure I don't forget to analyze any findings.



  • City Lawns - (public) dog park

  • Bark Wow Wows - private, membership only dog park

  • Paws Arrr Us - specialty dog boutique


  • Bob - owner of Spot (Beagle) and Max (Golden Retriever)

  • Lucida – owner of Paws Are Us

  • Malique – dog walker

  • Sandra - vet

  • Carlotta – local pet toy designer who sells on Etsy and at Paws Arrr Us


  • Borrowed friend's dog to attend local dog "Meet-up"

While I'm taking notes during interviews and observations as much as possible I like to add small symbols like stars or use a different color pen to denote the fact that I may way to come back to this idea.

First review

Everyone has their own process, but I start by reviewing my notes and transcripts with a highlighter or different colored pen. I pull out quotes and write each one on a separate sticky note. As much as possible I use the words of the people who spoke them. Paraphrasing can work, as long as it's in the spirit of what the person said, and NOT me making up what I wanted them to say (if I have an audio recording, I'll revisit it). Quotes and key ideas drive my next steps.

I also find it much easier to analyze data in a physical (printed) form than jumping between tabs on my computer where I may get distracted. If you're workshopping with your team, it also makes it easier to keep everyone working towards the same goal.

Steve Portigal creates what he calls a "topline summary" which serves as an initial informal analysis that captures first impressions. It becomes a good reference point from which he can build and focus on analysis. It's a way to consider possible emerging patterns. In order to create a topline summary, organize all the major themes under headings. These headings are just a first attempt to organize the information. You can always rename them as you organize the information into related topics or thought processes. Your goal is to look at responses from different interviews and start thinking about the important information that emerged rather than who said what. 

Steve Portigal on making research into a useful form [20:58 min]

Throughout the rest of the course we'll examine common tools you can use to make sense of your research. Other types of analysis you may encounter in UX include:

  • mental models*

  • concept models *

  • gap analysis

  • task analysis/workflow*

* indicates we'll explore these topics in later courses

Example of certificate of achievement
Example of certificate of achievement