A Diary Study is a way to collect qualitative data about a user’s experiences, preferences or actions with a system.
Diary studies help answer a variety of questions such as
- How the user feels about a device
- Which features are used more
- What time of the day the system is used the most
- Does the user accept the technology?
- What are the emotions associated with the usage of the device
"In interviews, it can be difficult to get a sense of behavior over time because you have to rely on the participant’s memory of past activities or circumstances, and artifacts can only do so much to prompt that. One way to widen your view of someone’s activities without shadowing them 24/7 is to ask them to keep a diary. This can be some-what structured, much like a survey taken several times, or can be free-form entry guided by a few questions. A diary can take almost any form: written responses to a periodic e-mail reminder, a handwritten notebook, a narrated video, or photos with written commentary"
There are various methods of diary studies you can use and the best option depends on your project and budget.
Some of the methods are:
- Paper Based
- Email Based
- Text (SMS) Based
- Social Media Based
- Voicemail Based
So to get a better picture of how your product will be used by the user in their own environment diary studies are an effective qualitative research method.