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# Study Templates

SoundingBox study templates make it easy to create studies to answer any research question you have, from strategy to design validation.

SoundingBox is all about helping you do your research quickly and efficiently. Getting started on the right foot is critical. Enter templates: your path to getting started, no matter where you are in your development process. Want to get early phase strategic insight before design? Have designs you want to evaluate? Templates have you covered.


There are two kinds of templates in SoundingBox. Study templates are pre-made templates we create to help you get started. That's what this page is about. But you also have the option of creating your own templates out of studies you've created to make iterating easier.

# Why Templates

Often teams rush into design strategy without research. Strategic practices like personas or customer journey maps are too often created out of thin air without drawing on research. Often the only time research enters the picture is once a design is available. Then we have something to test. We aim to change all this.

Instead, we believe that research should be baked into your whole design process, from strategy through to evaluation. When research is used throughout the development process, starting early with strategy, only then can real innovation occur.

# Generative vs Evaluative Research

Often in the research world, we make a distinction between generative research and evaluative research. Generative research is something you do at the beginning of a design process. Evaluative is what you do once you have something to evaluate, something you can test.

It's worth asking, why don't teams routinely do more generative research? We think one reason is a lack of familiarity and comfort with how it gets done. In some ways it's easier to imagine evaluative research: we're testing something we've built. It's more straightforward. But how do we research something we don't fully understand? By its exploratory nature, generative research is all about charting a course in unknown waters.

This is where SoundingBox templates enter into your research journey. We want to show you exactly how to create studies, wherever you are in your research process: running the spectrum, from initial generative exploration to evaluating prototypes.

# Getting to Know Study Templates

When you log into SoundingBox you'll notice two kinds of templates:

  • Strategic Research Templates - Templates to help you get started with generative research to inform your strategy before you begin building.
  • Design Testing Templates - Templates to help you get started with evaluative research, testing out what you're building, usually after you have a prototype of some kind.

It's no accident that there is roughly an equal number of strategic research templates as there are design testing templates. This is because we strongly believe in the power of generative research, and think it is of equal importance to evaluative research—perhaps more so. De-mystifying generative research is part of our core mission.

# Empty Templates

There's also a third kind of template you can start with: an empty template. If you're already a research blackbelt, this is where you might want to start, although we wholly recommend checking out the other templates to get a sense of how SoundingBox studies work.

# If You Don't See Templates

If you log into SoundingBox and don't see any templates, it's likely because you're not a SoundingBox administrator on the account you've been asked to join by a team member. You can either create your own free SoundingBox account to explore templates, or you can ask your team member to make you an admin on the account. Learn more about SoundingBox teams here.

# Strategic Research Templates

Strategic research templates are all about forming a deeper understanding of the problem space and generating new ideas out of this new understanding.

# Exploratory Study

Our exploratory study template combines two camera tasks with a handful of open-ended questions to give you insight into how people think about and do an activity, perhaps in their home. For example, you might want to learn about someone's morning ritual as it relates to their favorite beverage. The first camera activity has them talk through how they think about the topic, priming them for the second camera activity that takes advantage of the camera on their smartphone to film their environment. Open-ended questions provide additional textual context, filling out what they would improve, and ask them to speculate about their perfect experience of the topic at hand.

# Competitive Research

An innovation isn't really an innovation unless it improves on something other companies are already doing. Yet when we think about design it is sometimes hard to identify and quantify alternative approaches to designing and marketing a product. Enter a SoundingBox competitive research study. The competitive research template makes it possible to measure and compare how people experience a group of product marketing websites, with one group for each competitor. The measurements you take, via scale questions, combined with the replays of people's experience, will let you identify what aspects of the design resonate with people most.

# Persona Research

Too often personas are created out of thin air. It doesn't have to be that way if you start with our persona research template. The persona research template uses a single camera task to have people tell you about themselves, usually in relation to a given topic. Replay their responses to form a deeper understanding of who people are and the challenges they face. Learn about common questions they have about your topic to better understand how you can address their needs in what you build. Follow up questions in the template give you insights into the brands that people associate with your topic as well as give people opportunities to document their motivations, needs and pain-points.

# Camera Journey

Like personas, customer journey maps are a common design practice. Also like personas, too often journeys are not well-grounded in research. Our camera journey template uses a camera task to have people talk through their experience of a journey they recently went on in your problem space. For example, have people talk through their experience of applying for a mortgage, or purchasing a new car. What were the biggest questions they had? What could have been improved? What where the key problems they had? What would a perfect experience of the topic look like? Use screening questions to recruit people who have recently gone through the process you're interested in to ensure that their experience is top-of-mind.

# Web Journey

Many customer journeys heavily involve the web. People search for mortgage rates, or check out the new car offers on manufacturer web sites. Our web journey template lets you tag along with people as they complete these activities online. Start them on Google and listen to the questions they have as they puzzle over their search results. Follow them to a handful of sites as they go about forming an impression of a product or service like yours. What were their biggest questions? Which site did the best job meeting their needs? Which site let them down the most? It's all covered by the web journey template.

# Going Deeper with Strategic Research

To learn more about various approaches to strategic research, check out our guides to exploratory research, strategy research, and journey mapping.

# Design Testing Templates

All design testing templates have something in common: you're likely going to show people something, have them interact with it, and tell you what they think about it.

# User Test

Once you have some design approaches to your problem, you want to get them in front of people as soon as you can to learn about how well it is working for them. User testing provides a framework for evaluating your design, from look-and-feel to functionality. Is it easy to use? Where do people hesitate? What questions do they have about how it works? Do they like how it looks? How do they feel about the design? How likely are they to convert after experiencing what you've made? These are just some of the questions you can answer with our user testing template.

# Multitask User Test

When you're doing UX design, chances are you're thinking in terms of tasks—the goals people have and how your design maps onto them. A multitask user test lets you frame your tasks into a flow that is simlar to how people might complete your onboarding or other key set of activiites essential to your business. Combine desktop browser tasks with touch screen prototypes to move from marketing to app onboarding naturally. Like with any user test, you're likely working with prototypes—a best practice for keeping costs down as you iterate. SoundingBox supports all the major prototyping platforms so you can be sure to test what you make using whatever tool your team is comfortable with.

# iOS App Prototype Test

You're following best practices and prototyping your app's UI before you incur the cost of coding it up. But when you're ready to test your prototype with people—another best practice of coursde—you need to make sure that you can get it to people who have the device you're targeting and are familiar with its UI conventions. Our iOS app prototype test template makes it easy see how people experience what you're building on their actual phones.

# Android App Prototype Test

Like an iOS app prototype test, the Android app prototype template gets your prototype onto the hands of Android device owners. You give them tasks to complete and listen to them think-out-loud with audio capture for deeper insights into people's thought processes. Like all user tests, you can measure the extent to which people felt successful with scale questions, and capture open-ended comments about their experience. All prototype tests leverage your prototyping platform's share link. Learn more about how to get the share link for your prototyping platform.

# Balanced Comparison Tests

SoundingBox has a number of workflows that help you compare versions of what you've deisgned. Balanced comparison tests are a form of user test that handles rotating the order of the versions that people respond to. Rotating the order reduce anchoring bias ensuring everyone is getting the cleanest read possible. With SoundingBox balanced comparison tests you can compare two or three versions, depending on your needs. Our template takes care of the complextiy of setting up your split test comparison groups.

# A/B Test

Sometimes when you're building prototypes, you generate versions that are subtly different. Maybe the versions have a slightly different visual treatment, or a subtly different layout. Whatever the case, you have a hunch that the differences will have a meaningful impact on the overall design and you'd like to bring some research to the table to help you figure out if this is true. This is what SoundingBox prototype A/B tests let you do: measure the impact of small differences and see which version wins.

# Going Deeper with Design Testing Research

To learn more about testing your designs, check our our guides to user testing, prototyping and A/B testing.

# Empty Templates

When you're ready to go into expert mode, we've got you covered with our empty study templates. There are two basic types: an empty study and an empty split test study.

# Empty Study

An empty study can combine multiple modes of data collection: desktop browser, app prototypes and camera tasks. Use this template to create user tests from scratch, as well as to create any form of exploratory study from scratch.

# Empty Split Test

Sets up a screen-oriented split test for comparing groups of participants. Use the empty split test to create competitive tests from scratch as well as to create A/B tests or balanced comparisons from scratch.