Learn the basics of Dovetail in under 10 minutes by watching this video.
Read about Dovetail’s video highlights and transcription feature.
Read the UX Research team’s guide for documenting insights in Dovetail.
Check out Dovetail’s help center for commonly asked questions.
Check out this project (internal access only) for a great example of how to organize your data, use tags, and turn highlights into insights.
Projects. Locate your stage group. Click
New project and select the template you need for your project. You will be redirected to the Project’s ReadMe file. As part of the template, you'll need to provide a link to your research issue in the GitLab UX Research project. Make sure to use the
UX Problem Validation,
UX Solution Validation, or
CM Scorecard label to ensure proper tracking of your research issue.
In the ReadMe file, update the name of your project from
Problem or Solution Validation Research to something more recognisable. Ensure you add a link to your research request/brief. There is no need to add further information about your project to the ReadMe file unless you wish to do so.
Data in the left-hand menu. Add your raw data to the project, such as notes/observations taken during research sessions, video recordings, support tickets from customers, user sentiments from social media, and so on. Organize and structure your raw data in a way that resonates with you.
This video demonstrates how to use the import feature and how to structure your data around research questions / tasks:
Once you have imported all your raw data, you are ready to start highlighting and tagging content. Think of a highlight as anything interesting that you heard or observed during a research session. For example: a user pain point or motivation.
A bit like affinity mapping, tags in Dovetail help you identify and keep track of patterns that emerge across your research data. A single highlight can have one or many tags associated with it.
By default, tags in Dovetail live in a specific project. You can create as many tags as you like and use them for a variety of tracking purposes.
We encourage you to tag highlights with:
The feature/area of GitLab to which the highlight relates (for example: ‘Merge Requests’, ‘Navigation’, etc)
The persona (‘Sasha: Software Developer’, ‘Sam: Security Analyst’, etc) who made the comment if possible.
This will make searching for and locating highlights in the future much easier.
If you find yourself re-creating the same tag over and over again for multiple projects, please let your UX Researcher know. The UX Research team is in the process of creating a range of global tags that you can apply to your highlights.
The UX Research team is responsible for creating, maintaining and auditing global tags (also known as extensions).
While importing the raw data from user research, sometimes there are insights which are useful to other stages and/or groups than your own. The
Extensions feature within Dovetail allows for creating tags which can be used across projects. You can use these extension tags to make cross-stage content more discoverable by other stages and/or groups.
Best practices to follow while using the global tags under
Shared Tags extension:
First, you must add the extentions to your project. You will need to repeat this process for each new project you start. To do this, navigate to the
Settings page for your respective project, and under the
Extensions tab, link the already created
Shared Tags extension to your project.
Next, navigate to the Tags page of your project. You will now see that extension tags are now available to use in your project. Now that the extensions are available to your project, you just need add them to your insights! Locate insights that could be valuable to other sections, stages or groups and add the appropriate extension tags.
Be sure to double check the list of Extension tags before you add a new tag. Since this list is available to everyone in the GitLab Dovetail account, you might find that your tag already exists.
Only use a single global tag for the highlighted content. For example, use the name of the related stage group to create the tag for that insight. Otherwise, apply a tag using the related stage name. And if you’re unsure of what stage to use, mention the product section instead.
All the content highlighted with these global tags across projects can be tracked by visiting the tags section in the
Shared tags extension page.
Charts to quickly get an overview of how frequently themes are mentioned across your research data. Themes that frequently reoccur in your data warrant an insight.
Insights help you to summarise your research findings. Select multiple highlights in order to create an insight.
Sometimes during research studies you’ll note something of interest but perhaps don’t have enough data yet to decide whether what you observed or heard was an edge case or something which may be impacting other users.
A general rule of thumb: If you’re uncertain about whether something should be turned into an insight and/or only have 1-2 highlights that support the theme. Your observation should remain as a ‘highlight’ rather than be converted into an ‘insight’.
Highlights can still be searched, tracked and revisited again in the future when you’ve gathered more research data.
This video demonstrates how to take structured notes in Dovetail similarly to a google spreadsheet with multiple notetakers.
Yes! When creating a new project, please select the
Customer calls template. In the ReadMe file, update the name of your project from
Customer calls to something more recognisable. Continue to follow the steps outlined under The UX Research team's guide to documenting insights in Dovetail starting with Importing raw data into Dovetail.
Note: If you're only speaking to one customer and haven't heard evidence from other customers that they are experiencing the same problem or want the same feature improvement, it's highly likely that your finding should remain as a
highlight rather than be converted into an
insight. Feel free to reach out to your UX Researcher if you're not sure.
Yes, scroll to the bottom of the Project list and under
Sample data, you will see some sample projects created by the folks at Dovetail.
While our Dovetail projects are currently only accessible by GitLab employees, sometimes you have a project you feel should be only seen by you or a few others. You do this by controlling who has access to your project.
Please refer to our Code of Business Conduct & Ethics handbook page.
Please post feedback and questions in the #ux_research Slack channel.
If you find out something useful which you feel will benefit others, please submit an MR to this page and assign it to