Starting a new digital diary study can be downright daunting.  But with the obvi text platform, you will gain insights from your participants around the country with a simple reply.

Participant responses can be so interesting that you want to ask more questions--and in the process, your curiosity could overwhelm your participants’ time and energy. As they say, with great technology comes great responsibility.

Follow these 5 simple tips for interacting with your participants in a digital diary study project:

Find the right time
Timing is everything! Working with students? Send messages after school. Need to talk to people about their commute? Send messages during the commute. Catch your remote participants when it matters, and when they’ll be most likely to respond. Good timing allows for better responses.  

Simple questions lead to better results
Remember, obvi assignments are delivered via text. Looking down and scrolling through a long text block featuring several questions, nuances, and themes leave participants tired, uninterested, and bored. Get to the point! Be clear and concise with your assignments.  Participants will be much happier...and so will you.

Allow for extra time
Research participants are real people. They have jobs, school, kids, hobbies, friends, partners, pets, etc.  Always allow for extra time/days for your research.  Invariably something will come up called life and you will not be able to wrap up the project on time. So plan accordingly...    

Nudge your participants
We all need reminders, and given how much people text in their daily lives, messages can get lost. Not all participants are alike, and you may need to remind one or more participants to complete an assignment. Reminders can be a great tool to nudge your participants in order to get the very best insights.

DM with care
People are super interesting! Their responses may tempt you to ask lots of follow-up questions. But it’s important to be respectful of the arrangement you’ve made with participants. Remember, most are on their phones playing Candy Crush or scrolling through Instagram, not sitting and waiting to have an in-depth conversation with you after each assignment. Be mindful of their time and the parameters of the study they committed to. Don’t overstep and wear out your participants.

In summary, it’s pretty straightforward: be respectful of your participants’ time and keep it simple to get useful, thought-provoking insights.