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A Definitive Guide to the UX Research Repository [2024]
Home > Blog >
A Definitive Guide to the UX Research Repository [2024]

A Definitive Guide to the UX Research Repository [2024]

Satvik Soni
December 23, 2023

UX Research repository fundamentals

Let’s start things off with a brief overview of research repositories.

We’ll discuss what a repository is.

And we’ll discuss how it can help you.

Alternatively, you can also just sign up for a free trial of Looppanel, our ah-mazing repository tool. This way, you get a guided tour and live-action experience of how a repository works!

What is a User Research Repository

A repository is just store of information. We call it a repository when we want to be fancy 💃.

A user research repository is a place to store research data, notes, and insights.

These can be accessed when needed, ideally by everyone in the organization.

A good repository would let teams across the organization find what they’re looking for on their own. This makes research insights more accessible to the right people at the right time.

A user research repository can start as nothing more than a Google doc.

User Research Repository
Starting a UX research repository

It can also grow into a complex library of insights within entire applications that can do AI qualitative analysis, auto-organizing of notes, helping you speed up research.

The qualitative analysis dashboard from the UX research repository tool Looppanel
Looppanel's AI qualitative analysis dashboard

This article will go over all of these possibilities and help you implement the ones you choose. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

Benefits of a User Research Repository

There are 3 key benefits of building a UX research repository.

  1. It speeds up research ⚡
  2. It makes collaboration easier 🤝
  3. It prevents redundant research 🔁

⚡ UX Research repositories speed up research

Looppanel helps researchers get to insights 5x faster

UX Research projects start with a request for user insight.

The project is planned, user research methodologies chosen, participants recruited, user interviews conducted, raw data stored and analyzed, reports created and shared, and finally the data collected is archived somewhere.

A UX research repository speeds up every step of this process.

By definition, the user research repository acts as a storehouse of past insights & reports, along with an archive of the raw data to go back to. This store of historical data allows repositories to cut away requests that can be answered using data from previous projects.

Once the request does go through, past projects help plan the next ones better, often by giving the team a good starting point for what they already know about users.

Our AI repository tool Looppanel does live-note-taking during calls and summarizes transcripts with great accuracy. It frees one up from being dependent on some research assistant's schedule. This is one unique feature that other repository tools don't do btw, just pointing it out😬.

A good repository also enables team members to bookmark key moments and take notes, ideally tying those with time-stamps to your recording & transcript of the call. We also let teams generate video clips of highlights, so they can share it with stakeholders easily (making you 5x faster at discovering insights & getting buy-in for them!)

Speed up research with UX Research repositories
UX research repository examples: Looppanel's call transcripts and AI notes

Repository tools also help in qualitative analysis, with auto-organizing and affinity mapping of data.

Once that’s done, the team can collaborate on reaching insights.

And speaking of collaborations…

🤝 UX Research Repositories make collaboration easier

UX Research is a team sport. Having a user research repository allows for it to remain one.

In an ideal case, repositories should allow people outside the UXR team to contribute to the organization’s body of knowledge.

Once successfully implemented, the repository can be accessed by anyone. This makes the organization’s knowledge easier to find by those who need it the most.

Easy access to insights and data also allows for collaborative analysis.

Teams will reach diverse and unique conclusions.

Some of these will be insights that researchers could not have thought of.

Some of these will be insights other teams couldn’t have reached on their own.

Inputs from your customer success team could help your copywriters, for example. It is easier to write relevant copy if you already have a record of what the users are complaining about and what they want to hear.

Researchers can also set up frameworks that allow non-researchers to conduct their own quick research. This is amazing—the UXR team is no longer the bottleneck for conducting research! Everyone in the organization gets exposure to research.

User researchers get to see their family once in a while.

Of course this wouldn’t happen from day one and depends on the UX maturity of your organization.

Research democratization only takes place once you enter the later stages of UX maturity. A repository can help a lot with this though, by making it easy for anyone to find research info, especially non-researcher stakeholders. It's all out in the open, and stop seeming like a secret mystic ritual.

🔁 Repositories prevent redundant research

Stop redundant research with UX Research Repositories

User research piles up quickly. It’s easy to lose your work in the unrelenting jungles of Google drive and Google Sheets and email chains and Miro Boards and floppy disks and pen drives and—you get the idea.

The data and/or insights hidden away in these corners might be required by other teams eventually. When that happens, researchers can hunt for them through the jungles or conduct the research again.

Having a repository makes things easier to find and prevents you from running the same research over and over and over again. Since items are centralized and searchable, you can discover the relevant information within a couple of clicks. 

Above all, it takes the guesswork out of the equation.

Your team doesn’t need to start another project with the troubling intuition that they’ve collected this data before, if only they could remember 🧐.

Some repository tools like Dovetail require you to set up a tagging taxonomy, and get everyone to tag data accurately, if you need to find stuff later. It can get very complicated.

Luckily, new-age repositories like Looppanel have Google-like search features, where you can type and question, keyword, or topic and find all the data you need within the repository.

Some teams also store participant info from previous research projects in repositories. They can then reach out to these people for future research requests. This saves the time and energy they would have spent scrambling for new participants.

Here's a repository for anyone trying to break into UX Research.

Free User Research Repository Templates

If you're just starting out with user research, you can make do a little while with DIY repositories.

They do get overwhelming and scary as information piles up, fair warning. Juggling different kinds of media, manually transcribing data, and searching for old data can be a nightmare.

And then teammate Dave could just mess up the whole thing with ugly formatting.😖

However, if budgets are non-existent and you're still figuring it out, a Notion template will do the job.

There are two User Research repository Notion templates that we are particularly fond of.

Notion’s team provides a free basic User Research template

Notion’s team provides a free basic User Research template

What we like about this template:

  • It’s a great starting point when just getting started with repositories
  • It’s easy to populate and share for a single project
  • It offers a convenient template for an actionable summary

What can be better about this template:

  • As projects pile up, this template can get complicated. At that point it can have the same drawbacks as putting everything on a Drive - finding data can get tough, old research can get buried.
  • The search capability across projects wouldn’t be adequate for larger organizations.
  • This template is mostly useful post-research. You’ll have to separately compile data here after the study is done. Since the template requires effort post-research, it is not ideal for researchers who do not have the time to summarize their study or the will-power at the end of a long project.

You can get this User Research template here.

This excellent UX research template by Konstantin Escher.

This was originally posted to UX Collective. You can duplicate it and use it for your own team.

Ultimate User Research Template on Notion

What we like about this template:

  • This is intuitive and simple to use, even for non-researchers.
  • The template offers a great level of detail. You can get an overall idea that doesn’t overwhelm you. You can then dive deep into the finer data points, if you want.

What can be better about this template:

  • Relevant data can be higher up on the page. Your busy teammates won’t appreciate learning about the research team before they can learn about the research.
  • As was in the previous one, the search capability across projects wouldn’t be adequate for larger organizations.
  • Your team should be comfortable with Notion to use this well. This is not necessarily the template’s fault, just an obstacle you’ll have to overcome.

You can get this User Research template here.

UX Research Repository Tools

If you’ve outgrown your DIY repository (or if you don’t want to spend time making one), there are a bunch of great repository tools available for you.

If you have a good idea of your team’s needs, deciding which tool to go for will be easier! 🫠.

Research Repository Tools
Top research repository tools in 2024

Top Research Repository UX tools in 2024

You can start looking through these UX research tools first (listed in no particular order).

  • Looppanel - Looppanel is an AI-powered research analysis & repository tool. It's built like a research assistant—to automate all the tedious parts of qualitative research you don't have time for. It can record and transcribe calls, take live notes, organize your data & centralize everything in one place. We may be biased but apparently the cool kids of UX Research use this tool.
  • Dovetail - Dovetail is a manual user research analysis & repository tool. You can analyze, synthesize, summarize, and share your customer research on one platform. It requires tagging to make data searchable. It's quite complex to use, so we'd reccommend looking up simpler Dovetail alternatives.
  • Condens - Condens is a repository tool that's basically ‘Dovetail lite’. It has similiar workflows, with fewer features and a slightly lighter price tag.
  • Aurelius - Among Dovetail alternatives, Aurelius is a more old-school repository tool, for researchers to organize notes, capture insights, and analyze data.
  • EnjoyHQ - EnjoyHQ is a repository platform, and is more useful for storage than analysis. It has a lot of integration options.
We've extensively researched and reviewed the best Research Repository tools in 2024. Read all about it here.

Judgement Criteria

When choosing user research tools as repositories, you should review your options based on a few decision criteria.

  1. Analysis 🧐
    How will the tool help with your analyses? Some considerations include— Is there a storage limit? Can you create insights/notes on the fly? Does it offer high quality transcription? Do you have to tag data to find it later?
  2. Ease of use✌️
    Is the tool easy and intuitive to use? Or is it so complex that you need to train your team to use it?
  3. Tech🤖
    Does the tool use AI smartly? How accurate is the transcription feature (ours is 95%, best in the biz💅)? How reliable is the analysis?
  1. Collaboration 🤝
    Does the tool improve collaboration within and across teams?  Does it allow real time collaboration on notes/insights? Can you share clips and reports across your organization, even if some teammates haven’t set up an account?
  1. Cost 💰
    Will it be too much of a burden on the research team’s pockets?
  1. Privacy 🔒
    Is participant data easily erasable? Is research data encrypted?
  1. Integrations 🔌
    Will the repository work with your team’s current “stack” of tools?

How to Pick the Right Research Repository tool

There’s a ton of options out there.

Researching research repositories requires a repository.

To make an even more informed decision, ask yourself and your team these questions.

Do you need a repository?

If your organization has just started basic user research, we will recommend against investing time and/or money in a repository. Build out your basic research infrastructure (such as interview templates, research roadmaps, etc.) using trial and error to see what works for you and your organization.

Spend time advocating for research internally. 

If no one buys into your results, it doesn’t matter how nicely they’re cataloged.

You can also opt for a repository tool that's easy and simple enough for beginners to use.

What does your team need?

Is the cost of that tool with extensive tagging options justified? Do you have enough teammates to justify investing in an expensive and complicated repository tool? Is your organization mature enough to need collaboration between researchers and non-researchers?

Consider what will help your unique situation.

The shiniest tool available might overcomplicate your research flow.

Where will your research live?

If your team lives and breathes on Google Drive, they should get their research reports on Google Drive. If your repository doesn’t allow this, “nobody will ever, ever find it”, says Gregg Bernsetin, head of user research for Condé Nast.

Teams usually spend their time on Google Drive, Notion, Confluence, etc.

Ideally, your repository tool should integrate with them to reach your team where they are.

Pick a tool that is fun and easy enough to tempt your team to migrate.

Repository Pitfalls to Avoid

You’ve shed blood, sweat, and tears on this research repository. Let’s see some reasons all your efforts can go to waste. Why do research repositories fail?

Sounds like a good way to end this article 🥰.

We interviewed design and research leaders to find out why 80% of repositories fail. Read the findings in our latest whitepaper here.

Lack of buy-in beforehand

Make a case for repositories in front of your organization. It would be pointless if you built or bought a repository for an organization that does not understand its benefits.

Getting buy-in would involve convincing multiple stakeholders. You would have to convince other teams of the benefits of collaborative research. Convince the product team that being actively involved in the repository will let them create a better product. Convince the marketing team that reading and adding insights will help them understand the customer better. Convince the sales team that repositories are the easiest way to identify the “pain points” people want to pay for.

A team that understands the purpose of implementing a repository across the organization will be more receptive during the onboarding process. Earning your buy-in within and across teams, therefore, can prevent the next pitfall as well.

Improper onboarding

Your team hates you for making them learn another tool.

You hate your team for not picking it up on their own.

To avoid this situation,, spending time and energy making sure everyone understands how to use the repository is always wise!

Your organization should be confident in their repository skills. That way, they’re more likely to use it when making decisions and add to it when they have interesting insights.

A team that struggles with the repository would try to figure things out for ten minutes (data not backed by research) before giving up and going back to their daily work.

Also make sure to stress the importance of participant privacy, especially for the non-researcher.

The wrong tools for the job

This one is obvious (and has been repeated all over the article).

A shiny repository tool with every conceivable feature might hurt your research work. Don’t go too big too soon if your organization is still tiny. Even a large organization just getting started with UX research will be turned off by complexity. It’s easy to fall into the role of a “librarian” if the repository doesn’t align with your workflow and team needs—you don’t want to spend more time curating your research than you do creating it!

There’s of course the other hand here. Work at a thousand person organization where they love UX research? You probably shouldn’t settle for a nice google sheet.

Pick the right tools for the job!

Role ambiguity

Someone from the research team should be accountable for the repository.

Building and maintaining the repository, answering questions related to the repository, onboarding new team members, ensuring that other teams are doing things correctly—these are just some of the tasks that go into a successful repository implementation.

If you are a UX research team of one, you’ll be accountable for all of this! (take a nap)

If your research team has more people, everyone should know what their job is. In the absence of clarity, you get confused team members stepping on each others’ toes.

You can also take cues from the teams at Google and Razorpay. Read how they built good repositories here.

In Conclusion

Implement a research repository! Your research team will thank you.

Even the most basic repositories will immediately improve your research capabilities.

It's also really important to choose the right tool.

Looppanel is a research repository tool that's built for researchers by researchers, btw. It's easy to use and helps you get to insights 5x faster. You'll love it, just trust us on this.

Try Looppanel for free, and get started on your repository.


UX Research Repositories
UXR Repository
UXR Guide
UX Insights
User Research Repositories
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