dscout is a qualitative research tool that captures in-the-moment thoughts, reactions, and experiences as they happen. The product features a 2-sided design with a participant-facing mobile app capable of capturing video, images, text, and audio, and a researcher-facing web app used to design studies and analyze participants’ responses.
From 2014 through 2015, the team released many new features in the product — the most significant being a ground-up redesign and rebuild of the participant-facing mobile app.
In years prior, the mobile app played a secondary role to the researcher web app. The app’s rating in the app store had much to be desired, crashes were frequent, and the holistic experience had a long way to go. In addition to these participant-facing issues, maintaining the app was painful due to its underlying spaghetti code, and the frequent crashes were causing data loss issues for researchers.
After the company hired a few senior engineers with mobile experience and me, we tackled this first large initiative. This year-long endeavor resulted in a scalable, native, modern platform with a great experience. In the process, we also refactored the backend and added additional features to the researcher tool to support higher engagement with participants in research studies.
From Casper to Samsung to Google, some of the world’s biggest brands use dscout to conduct UX research studies. This project set a solid foundation to enable the product to grow and meet new challenges. Much of the work we did still lives on to this day (although updated), including the media capture interfaces in the mobile apps, the participant entry cards in the researcher-facing web app, and more.
To help drive engagement in new research studies, we gave researchers the ability to launch customizable splashpages to recruit participants outside of the dscout community. It also drove a growth surge in our participant community on the platform, who would then participate in studies by other researchers.
Updates to the Researcher Tool
Although the mobile app for participants received most of our attention, we used new features introduced in the participant app to begin transitioning the researcher tool to a new React front-end — of course, with an updated visual design.