Learn the basics of Dovetail in under 10 minutes by watching this video.
Read about Dovetail's video highlights and transcription feature.
Watch a walkthrough video on how to conduct qualitative data analysis within 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 tag 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 recognizable. 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's 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. More help can be found on our Analyzing and synthesizing user data handbook page.
As a way to keep Gitlab's research more consistent, we encourage everyone to utilize Gitlab's global tags available in Dovetail which are maintained by the UX Research Team. When research is performed in a consistent manner, it makes gathering insights across stages or over long periods of time much easier. To help move towards that goal of consistent research, try to incorporate global tags and follow our tagging best practices when synthesizing qualitative research. A good goal to have is 50% of tags in your project coming from the global tags.
There are two sets of tags available for your projects. You may use either set whenever you want, as well as your own custom tags, but be aware you will have to enable the tags for each project. When summarizing your research, first look at the global tags, and then the section tags when appropriate, and lastly create your own tags. The differences between the two sets of tags is shown below:
Gitlab Global Tags which contain tags that can be used across all stage groups for a wide range of projects, but particularly useful for solution validation. Try to look at these tags first.
This video contains a walkthrough of the steps below to enable a global tag on your project:
Open the project you are working on
Extensions in the bottom left corner
Check the box next to
Gitlab Global Tags
You will see a new tab titled
Gitlab Global Tags at the top of the
Tags page in your dovetail project.
Repeat this process for each project you are working on.
Just like manually created tags, global tags can be used by highlighting the text you want to tag, and clicking on the global tag you have enabled. This is shown in the image below:
Tags are organized into categories, so you may want to familiarize yourself with the organization of tags and their categories.
Global tags can be used as a way to supplement manual tagging by providing standardization and structure. They are not meant to be the only source of tags used in your project. Due to the uniqueness of each research project, there may often be times when creating a new tag is more helpful than using one of the global tags.
When conducting a user interview, trying to identify the users' feelings towards a particular experience. There may be a number of times when you will want to use tags from the Gitlab Global Tags such as
feature request &
frustrated when talking about an experience. Those insights may not be specific enough for your research, so creating additional tags like
wants a drop-down for options can also be used.
A good goal to set for your project is to have 50% of your tags come from global tags.
If you are unsure about whether to create your own tag or use an existing global tag, first think about what would generate the most informative insights. If a global tag can be used while preserving the accuracy of the insights, then stick to that. Otherwise, follow our best practices for creating tags in dovetail.
Gitlab team members may view the Global Dovetail Tags google sheet that is maintained by the UX Research team.
Gitlab Global Tags are organized into six categories:
|User Action||These tags can be used to indicate what a user did while using the UI.||A user might be
|User Feedback||Useful to describe what a user said during their research session.
Also a set of tags with generic options (A through D) which can be used in design evaluation.
|A user might have a
Or, the user could
|User Emotion||These tags are related to the user’s attitude towards the UI, like in a usability test or walkthrough.||A user could feel
|Workflow||Can be used to track the user’s actions in their workflow specifically.
Also a subset of tags with generic task numbers (1-10), which can be used for usability tests or UX Scorecards.
|You could use the
Or, you may want to keep track of when a user finished
|Personas||Each tag relates to one of our user personas, or characteristics of those personas.
Use these tags when looking for jobs or features that correspond to certain personas.
|When a user configures a static scanner, they could be
Or, if you are performing foundational research on the users’ organization, you could use
|JTBD||Most of the tags relate to the various stages in mapping jobs.
Can be used when performing foundational jobs research such as contextual inquiries.
|When conducting a contextual, a user may talk about monitoring their pipeline, which could be tagged with
The global tags are an iterative process which will continue to grow in the future. We strongly encourage feedback from stakeholders so we can tailor the list to suit as many needs as possible.
If you believe the tag library is incomplete or in need of editing, please send a message to the #ux_research slack channel. We expect to add tags incrementally over time as more feedback and research is done, and therefore may not add a particular tag immediately, so creating a custom tag can be a helpful short-term solution.
Many projects will need a mix of custom tags in addition to some global tags. In Dovetail, you can create any tag you want to help distill your user data into pieces of evidence for insights. While this is useful, this can also be problematic. Here's why:
These tags do not carry over from one project to another, making it difficult to identify similar insights across projects
The tags can be named anything. This results in a large number of similarly-themed tags, which makes it difficult to search by insights across projects.
For example; tags such as
opportunity for UI, etc.
To properly manage research insights within Dovetail, here are some do's and don'ts when creating your own tags.
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.
In order to protect PII (Personally Identifiable Information) ensure that your project settings for Insights are disabled for public access. To do this you navigate to your project and click Insights. From there ensure your share settings look like this:
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
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