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How-to: Diary Studies with Lookback

How to set up and conduct a Diary Study using Lookback

Russ Troester avatar
Written by Russ Troester
Updated over a week ago

If you want to conduct research of a user’s experience of your app or product over an extended period of time, versus a one-time session, then a Diary Study might be the right method for you.

Diary Studies (aka longitudinal studies), are a great way to collect qualitative data through a user’s daily logs — in the user’s natural context — so that UX researchers, developers, and designers can study and learn from these daily interactions.

Lookback serves as your data collector and repository that your entire team can use to create and share time-stamped notes & Findings to surface insights during or after the study. You can use Lookback for your desktop or mobile Diary Studies to add strategic value to your practice. Here’s how:

  1. Decide how to structure your study, then create a project.

    We suggest creating a unique SelfTest or Tasks Round in your project for each participant. That way they can use the same Participant Link for each day of the study:

    Of course, you might prefer that all participants upload their sessions to a single, global SelfTest or Tasks Round. Each unique session will create a recording that saves itself, within the associated Round, chronologically by date/time indicating the participants name or identifier. Once you’ve decided the structure, create a project – same as you would for any study on Lookback.

  2. Chose how to communicate the study’s instructions. 

    You’ll want to be clear on how often your participant should click the SelfTest or Tasks link to record a new session: once a day? Twice a week? At least X times in a defined period of time? Check out our customizable email templates for ideas. 

    Please note: instructions, calendaring, and communication with participants is managed by the researcher throughout the duration of the Diary Study. Lookback provides the tool for housing and recording the study, not scheduling or communicating with beforehand.

  3. Share the Participant Link with your participants

  4. Within each SelfTest or Tasks Round you’ll see the Invite Participants button. Click to access the link to share with your participant. If you’re creating one global Round, share the same Participant Link with all of your participants. This single link can be distributed an infinite amount of times.

    If you're doing a multi-Round Diary Study (each Participant is using their own round), be sure to share the Round-specific Participant Link with the right participant once you’ve created their unique Round 😀.

  5. Send thanks!

    Once the study has completed, be sure to thank your participant 🙏

    We would love to know how you do Diary Studies with Lookback. Feel free to reach out to us at with any questions, feedback, tips and ideas.

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