Aug 02


Now comes the interesting part of your research! You’ve gathered data in notes and are ready to dive into it.

Tagging and coding

One basic element of qualitative research is coding, i.e., putting important bits of your data into categories. This categorization in is performed with tags. Basically, by tagging parts of the spoken or written word of your participants you structure the a priori unstructured data. Thereby, you make the data suitable for your further analysis to distinguish overall themes and spot patterns. 

In the future, we’ll write about how a good tagging system could look like and what tags we recommend for which type of study. For now, don’t worry! Even if you really thought through your set of tags beforehand, you’ll likely find the need to add new, remove, or merge tags during your analysis. This is totally possible in

Organize your tags in groups

Just as for notes, all your tags within a project are shown in a board view – similar to Trello, Jira, or any other Kanban tool you know. Here, you can create multiple board lanes to group tags together.

Thinking through the set of tags you wish to apply is an important step to ensure you get sound research results. As a starting point, we have a few suggestions on which tags you might want to adopt:

  • Sentiment, i.e., the participant’s feelings: “positive” and “negative”, or “frustrated” and “delighted”
  • Research objectives, such as features like “search”, “sign-up”, or “navigation”
  • For usability tests: A tag for each given task
  • General information on what a statement was about, like “design” or “usability”
  • Sometimes it’s good to have a joker tag like “Important to note”

You can create as many tags as you need for your research. We advise to rather use more than fewer tags since – if you find you were too granular – you can always merge them afterward.

Applying tags

To apply a tag to a text passage within a note, first select it with your mouse or keyboard. Then, a window will pop up at the right side of your note from which you can select the tag you wish to apply. From the window’s input field, you can type in and create a new tag (that is automatically added to your first tag group – you can organize this later on) or search through your existing tags.

When you’re creating a new or searching for an existing tag from the input field, you can simply click Enter to apply the first shown tag.

Pro tip: If you wish to apply one tag to multiple text passages (e.g., to quickly mark all positive connotated statements with the tag “positive”), you can search for the respective tag (so that it’s the first one shown). Then, when you selected a fitting text passage, you can simply click Tab (to jump into the tag selection window) and Enter (to apply the tag).

If a tagged passage contributes to an insight from this or another project, you can link this passage to it (from the tag’s dropdown menu), so it will appear within the respective insight. 

Automatically apply sentiment tags

For each project, you can enable the sentiment analysis plugin. It lets you select text and – with a click on the magic wand – automatically apply the tags “positive” and “negative” to the selected sentences. This feature uses AI to check sentences for a positive or negative tone. 

Note that you first have to enable the sentiment plugin in the project settings to use this feature.

Search for overlapping tags

Setting tags means refining and structuring your data. Having set the right tags makes your data suitable for complex searches, such as “What did my participants say positive about the search feature in the interviews?” or “What usability problems occurred during the sign-up process?”. Not only will this simplify your research to spot patterns quickly, but also over time build up a powerful repository of searchable UX knowledge.

You can open the search by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the right upper corner. On the search page, you can specify projects, notes, and tags that you wish to search for. When you specify multiple tags, only these parts of your notes will be shown, where the respective tags overlap.


About The Author

Mara is interested in all topics around user research, user testing, as well as usability and UX.