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Analyzing Data

Review your data, create snippets, identify patterns, and craft insights

Overview of the Data Analysis Process in Handrail

Reviewing Data

Capturing Snippets

Using Research Cards to Capture Additional Information for Analysis

Grouping Cards to Identify Patterns

Crafting Insights




Overview of the Data Analysis Process in Handrail

Different research practitioners have different practices for analysing data. Handrail provides a core workflow that can be adapted to fit your needs. Handrail's analysis workflow involves the following steps:

  1. Collect data — Data may come from a variety of sources. You may conduct interview sessions, collect survey responses, or reference external sources of data.
  2. Review data — For interviews and surveys, you review data on the Results page. For reference studies, you review data on the Sources page. Once the data is available, you may choose to simply read the data from top to bottom or you can use the filter panel on the left side of the Results page to focus down on particular topics, questions, sessions, etc. See Reviewing Data for details.
  3. Create snippets — While reviewing, you can pull out important pieces of data and put them into cards. Simply highlight the text and select "Create Card". See Capturing Snippets for details.
  4. Interpret snippets — You may wish to capture additional notes on cards as you create snippets and interpret the data, providing additional context around each snippet. You can also change the color of cards and add tags to keep them organized. Tags can be used to filter the view of the Analysis Board. See Using Research Cards to Capture Notes for details.
  5. Identify patterns — Now we're on the Analysis Board page, where all the snippet cards you created on the Results page have been automatically published. Here, you can create groups and drag cards into them to show relationships between snippets of data. You can continue to add notes and tags to cards at any time. See Grouping Cards to Identify Patterns for details.
  6. Craft insights — As patterns emerge and you narrow in on the most important findings, you can turn any group on the Analysis Board into an insight. Simply select the " Insight" button at the top of the group, and the group will be published as an insight to the Summary page for that study. See Crafting Insights for details.



Reviewing Data


Interview and Survey Studies


The Results page is where all the data from your interviews and surveys are published. The data is structured according to the way that notes were entered in the interview guide—by question, by topic, or by session.


The Results page has the following key features to assist with reviewing data:

  • Create Card popup — Highlight any textual data displayed on the Results page to display the Create Card popup. This is how you generate a snippet. See below in this section for more details on capturing snippets.
  • Filter panel (left side) — Allows you to filter the data shown so you can focus on the parts of the data you are interested in.
  • Word clouds — Generated for qualitative data, they help surface common themes in the data. Click a word in the cloud to highlight instances in the text below. Add "stop words" to reduce noise in the visualization and help surface more relevant themes.
  • Charts — Generated for quantitative data (such as multiple choice or task success questions), they provide automatic visual representations of the data. Export images of the charts to be used in presentations.
  • Personas — If participants are associated with personas, the participant sessions associated with a particular persona will be grouped together. If personas are not used, they won't be shown at all.
  • Data export — Data is exported to CSV format, allowing for manipulation in other tools, such as Excel.


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Reference Studies


For "reference" studies, your data is referenced on the Sources page. On this page, each team member can capture notes per source.


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Capturing Snippets


When you highlight any data on the Results page, the Create Card popup is shown. This allows you to create a "snippet"—an important piece of data that is captured in a card for further analysis. Each snippet knows its source (session number and participant), so you can always trace evidence back to where it came from.


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Using Research Cards to Capture Additional Information for Analysis


Cards, whether or not they contain a snippet, can be used to capture and track information during the analysis process. Each card can have the following content:

  • Snippet (if card was generated by creating a snippet of data from the Results page)
  • Image or Video (for referencing visual content)
  • Notes (for capturing interpretation of snippets or other notes)
  • Tags (which can be used to filter the board and also to search for insights later)
  • Color (for color coding)


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Grouping Cards to Identify Patterns


Once you have created cards, with or without snippets, you can begin grouping related cards on the Analysis Board. To group cards:

  1. Select "New Group" to create a new column on the Analysis Board.
  2. Give the group a name (it can be a placeholder name, as the names can be changed at any time) and optional description.
  3. Drag cards into the group.
  4. You may duplicate a group, if needed, which also duplicates any cards in that group.


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Crafting Insights


Insights in Handrail have the following attributes:

  • Title or Insight Statement
  • Description (used to provide details or context for the insight statement)
  • Cards (serving as evidence and detailed analysis for the insight)
  • Tags
  • Cover image


There are a few ways to create insights:

  1. Create a group on the Analysis Board and turn the group into an insight using the "Insight" button at the top of the group.
  2. Click the "New" dropdown at the top of the Analysis Board and select "Insight".
  3. Go to the Summary page within a study. In the Insights panel on the left, select "New Insight".

You can edit the details of an insight at any time, no matter which method you use to create it.


Insights displayed on the Analysis Board:

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Insights created on the Analysis Board are automatically published to the Summary page where they can be used in the Summary Report:

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Select an individual insight to view its details, edit the insight, and access a link to share the insight with others: 

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Need more information or have questions we didn't cover here? Get in touch!