Driving Synthesis Using the Database Advantage | ProductCraft by Pendo (2023)

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Connected.io blog.

Ah, synthesis. The romanticized phase in the product development process when practitioners take all of their research data—interview transcripts, scrawled notes, participant headshots, audio, video, etc., etc.—and mine, sort, and cluster that data in order to identify insights. It’s a chaotic phase, which often culminates with project teams holed up in dark rooms papered in sticky notes, frantically trying to define an opportunity to brainstorm against.

As product designers, we’re excited when it’s time for synthesis. It’s not everyone’s favorite time, but it’s one of ours; it’s when we empathize in order to make senseof the needs of the people we are trying to design for. It requires empathy and openness, and a whole lot of patience, especially when your stickies start to flutter off the wall, out of their neatly sorted clusters.

Synthesis is also often associated with crunch time; there never seems to be enough time to fully make sense of the data. While we consider ourselves sticky note aficionados, doing synthesis digitally instead of physically—with a database like Airtable or Optimal Reframer—not only relieves that time-crunch but also augments different aspects of the synthesis process. From being able to share more effectively and efficiently, to organizational perks, digital synthesis will help you and your team move into ideation (sans stickies).

Why getting synthesisright matters

Before we jump into what the process of doing digital synthesis looks like, it’s key to note why it’s so important to take the time and get synthesis—any kind of synthesis—right in the first place. If you don’t find the right problem to solve and frame the opportunity in the right way—constrained, but not too constrained, broad, but not too broad—you won’t only be ideating in the wrong space, your product will be headed in the wrong direction. With tools like Airtable and Optimal Reframer, it’s easier to get that right frame and start building the thing that will work best for the people using your product.

Driving Synthesis Using the Database Advantage | ProductCraft by Pendo (1)

The synthesis process

So, there are four loose steps to doing synthesis: Share,Organize,Interpret,andShare Again(e.g. the final research report). We say “loose” here because we’ve often found that it’s quite natural to jump between the three; you might end up organizing and trying to interpret, then re-organizing and re-interpreting. At any rate, sharing relates to knowledge or level-setting amongst teams; organizing happens when you sift through and group similar chunks of knowledge together; interpreting refers to sense-making of those knowledge chunks; and sharing again is when the research is neatly packaged up into some sort of story. Each of these steps can be augmented through a digital database or comparable tool.

Step one: share

When you are working in an analog fashion, sharing means getting the entire team in a room in order to review your learnings together. This might mean speaking aloud and recalling anecdotes from memory, relating pieces of interview transcripts to the group at a user-level, or even re-listening to audio recordings. Typically, as you go through the sharing process, there is an element of transcript; of taking those anecdotes, interviews and recordings and jotting things down on sticky notes.

Ultimately, there are lots of ways to share so that your team collectively has the same knowledge base to work from. This process is time-consuming, and getting an entire team in the room can be a challenge. And, if you have clients that are interested in being brought along in your discovery process, then this becomes doubly hard—either trying to get the client’s time, or taking the additional time to loop them after your sharing session(s).

Driving Synthesis Using the Database Advantage | ProductCraft by Pendo (2)

Which is where the database comes in handy. It removes the extra step of needing to transcribe your interview notes on to stickies, and instead notes can be copied and pasted and then marked-up accordingly. And, by storing your observations in a tool like Airtable, your team can work asynchronously to share information with one another. Databases provide practitioners with the ability to create atomic units of research, which are stand-alone observations from your research. For example, you might have an observational nugget from your research like this:

Driving Synthesis Using the Database Advantage | ProductCraft by Pendo (3)

With a database tool like Airtable, this nugget can be annotated and tagged, like this:

Driving Synthesis Using the Database Advantage | ProductCraft by Pendo (4)

These observations can have as many tags as you as a practitioner see as relevant (e.g., user demographic, quotes, link to photos, or audio snippets). Thus, observations can be interpreted at a much more thorough level than the single sticky provides. By documenting and sharing via Airtable, it’s also easier to get clients involved in the early stages of your research. Observational nuggets can be shared back to your stakeholders. This can help you to demonstrate why up-front user research is so valuable, and also get buy-in later on when concepts are being selected.

Step two: organize

Here, we organize in order to look for the patterns and themes in our research that we have collected to date. Also called affinity mapping, these patterns and themes help us to identify potential relationships between data points in our research (and will give us something to interpret, later on in step three).

In an analog world, organization is, once again, time-consuming. We might have hundreds of data points scrawled down on individual stickies, so trying to group together those stickies in just the rightcategory is a drawn-out process. And, if your team doesn’t have a designated synthesis space—which, let’s be realistic, isn’t always the way of the open office—maintaining your organization over the course of a few days or weeks is next to impossible.

The other predicament of the analog organization step is that well, it’s analog and sostatic. We group things together in one way, and they stay that way. Sometimes, we might rewrite sticky notes out if they seem to fall in with more than one theme, but even then we are reviewing static clusters of themes, as opposed to dynamic and changing entities that evolve as more connections are seen and made.

Driving Synthesis Using the Database Advantage | ProductCraft by Pendo (5)

With a digital database, there’s a lot more room to, well, organize. With the robust tagging systems provided within these tools, we can sort out our patterns and themes in many different ways (without rewriting everything). For example, say you have conducted research into the smart appliance industry, perhaps one of your qualitative data points from a user interview was “I feel the need to babysit my smart vacuum.” In the analog world, you might have this nugget jotted down on a sticky and grouped into a theme you saw emerging like “Customer pains” or “Time wasted” etc. By using Airtable or Optimal Reframer, this nugget can be associated with any number of emerging themes, from “Pain” to “Time wasted” to the age of the user you interviewed.

Being able to employ this sort of tagging enables you to start uncovering new trends. Perhaps a particular data point was only seen as a pain for customers you interviewed who are under 30. And, because we can continuously tag, and retag, and tag some more, designers can be lessbiasedin our data organization. In layman’s terms: When things aren’t static, it’s easier to see them in different ways.

Step three: interpret

With interpretation, we are identifyingwhatthe relationships we’ve found are, exactly (and why they are important to look more closely at). Whether analog or digital, when you are interpreting you are defining what your patterns and themes are in order to create a bigger narrative behind your data. Identifying the relationships between our insights in an analog fashion isn’t necessarily more time-consuming, or more limiting than a digital database. The main difference here is thequalityof insights you may be able to arrive at.

With a digital database, you’ve had the opportunity to organize your data in a dynamic way, which may lend itself to being able to interpret things in a deeper and more informed fashion. Connecting the dots can happen that much more smoothly, and even prioritization of your insights can be quickly conducted by being able to look at the sheer volume of nuggets that back up your insights. Another valuable quality of digital interpretation is the fact that you feel like you have room to breathe; that you and your team can work asynchronously to reflect on each other’s interpretations.

Step four: share again

After you’ve shared, organized, and interpreted it’s usually about time to share again; to communicate (or re-communicate, if your clients have been involved in your synthesis process) your understanding of the research back to your stakeholders. Typically this takes the form of a research report, which details the narrative you’ve uncovered via the research with granular details to support it.

Unfortunately, research reports are usually either lengthy (and therefore ignored) or lack an obvious takeaway of what to do next—meaning it is looked at once and subsequently forgotten. Even a truly compelling narrative or a beautiful deck isn’t enough to get people to start paying attention and act on your research.

Driving Synthesis Using the Database Advantage | ProductCraft by Pendo (6)

Much like in the initial sharing phase, atomic nuggets of research are a great way to actively bring your stakeholders into your work and show tangible evidence. With digital tools, you can have a report but keep it snappy and short. You can focus your report on your narrative alone, and then include links of ‘views’ to your research. Views are specific ways of looking at your research in a database tool. Instead of the single view a regular ol’ spreadsheet would provide, a view provides different ways of looking at the same underlying data.

For example, you could create a view that supports a point in your narrative around why children develop an emotional attachment to their robot vacuums. This view could include all of the individual observational nuggets that ladder up to this broader theme—giving your narrative some serious evidence to back it up. Or, maybe you have another point around emotional attachment as it relates to adults. You could create a second view that includes all of those nuggets—even if some of them are the same nuggets as your first point.

Driving Synthesis Using the Database Advantage | ProductCraft by Pendo (7)

Additionally, the database lends itself quite nicely to other forms of research outputs beyond the report. Facebook Research wrotean article on four alternatives to the report: Mini-Museums, where you put your research on display for people to physically move through; Video Screenings, where your research can come to life in the form of a mini-doc; People Deep Dives (which help to create empathy by introducing participants and their stories in detail); and Live Blogging. As the database helps you document and keep your research coherent, you can be a lot more creative in your research output. And, in doing so, motivate people to act on that research.

So there you have it: The many, many advantages of using a database for synthesis. For us, the visceral qualities of the analog synthesis process are a difficult thing to let go of, and it should be said that the analog process also has many advantages. There’s something to be said about the connections that can be formed when you are physically moving things around with your hands.

But taking off our sentimental hats, we’re finding that the digital version has ultimately led us to richer insights, which is ultimately what design research synthesis should be about. Additionally, using a database has long-term benefits: you can always revisit your synthesis and add to it, instead of combing through documentation of old sticky notes. This can be particularly helpful when you are starting out on a project on a similar subject. In the future, we’d love to see what a fully immersive digital synthesis process might look like(virtual synthesis, anyone?)and how that might open up new possibilities for remote teams working to work together from anywhere in the world. For now, however, we’re excited to keep sharing, organizing, interpreting, and sharing again via a digital database in order to sense-make with whoever, whenever.


How to use Pendo for customer success? ›

How to use Pendo data to drive product-led customer success
  1. Step 1: Understand your product's value proposition. The first step is to align around your product's value. ...
  2. Step 2: Build your maturity matrix. ...
  3. Step 3: Correlate maturity scores to an external outcome. ...
  4. Step 4: Put your maturity score to work.
May 19, 2022

What is Pendo and how will it help you? ›

Pendo helps you understand users and user behavior through rich analytic capabilities that are specifically tailored for software products with logged-in users. All user activities across the application can be captured and easily aggregated at both the user (individual) and account (company / customer) level.

How does Pendo analytics work? ›

Pendo's product analytics capture everything that happens in your product from the moment you install it. The analytics work retroactively from your install date, so you can call up any of that data whenever you need it without having to tag features or events beforehand.

How does Pendo collect data? ›

Pendo tracks page view events (page loads and URL changes) from visitors. Upon the loading of a page, Pendo collects the URL, some browser information, such as language and browser version, and the title of the page.

Is Pendo easy to use? ›

Real-time "Guides" feature is a gamechanger for product and IT alike. Implementing Pendo for my enterprise has been pretty easy and very seamless. They're a great group of people to work with, their tool excellent, and the ease of implementation can't get much more straightforward.

How much does Pendo scale pay customer success manager? ›

The estimated total pay for a Customer Success Manager at Pendo is $127,564 per year.

What can you track with Pendo? ›

Reporting within the Pendo UI - Overview

Track events can be seen in Data Explorer reports, paths, funnels, visitor reports, account reports, and the visitor timeline. You can also see track events data by going to Product > Track Events and clicking into each individual Track Events details page.

What is Pendo used for? ›

Insights - Pendo enables product analysis, allowing teams to monitor, record, and analyze the way users interact with the digital content, their app, and website. Guidance - this functionality allows developers to embed walkthroughs in a user-friendly way and offer reminders and helpful tips at the same time.

Is Pendo like Google Analytics? ›

Use Pendo to create more engaging products. With absolutely no coding, understand everything your customers do in your product and use in-app messages to increase engagement. Google Analytics and Pendo are primarily classified as "General Analytics" and "Tour Widget" tools respectively.

How often does Pendo update data? ›

In general, you will receive updated data every hour. We perform bulk calculations at the top of each hour and it can take up to 15 minutes past the hour to finish processing depending on traffic.

How long does Pendo keep data? ›

Overview. Pendo retains subscription raw event data for 7 years/84 months from the date it was collected. This time period is the data retention time limit. After the subscription age reaches the retention time limit, raw event data older than the retention time limit is automatically deleted from the Pendo database.

How long does Pendo processing take? ›

Processing all historical data typically takes 1 hour to complete but can take as long as 4 hours for large subscriptions with many events. Very active subscriptions with several years of high event volume may take longer. Allow up to 24 hours for processing to finish before contacting Pendo support.

Can Pendo do surveys? ›

Pendo supports both web and online apps, so you can create surveys for both of them. What's more, you can conduct them for your customers and employees alike because Pendo is not only for user onboarding but also an employee onboarding tool as well.

How do you use Pendo designer? ›

After you log in to Pendo, open a browser tab and use the following shortcut key to launch the designer from the Guide Details page: Alt + Shift + 8. If that doesn't work, open up the console in the developer tools (F12), type pendo. designerv2. launchInAppDesigner() in the console and then press enter.

How to use Pendo API? ›

Login to the Pendo Application as an Admin user. Visit the Integrations section in the Pendo App, and then click on Integration Keys. Click on the Add Integration Key button at the top right-hand side of the screen. Give your new key an appropriate description.

Can Pendo send emails? ›

You can send personalized emails to your users, encouraging them to use Pendo Feedback and improving the amount and quality of data your receive.

Does Pendo collect IP addresses? ›

Pendo collects IP addresses by default. Some customers find this useful for identifying the geographical location of their users. However, some prefer not to capture IP addresses. If you don't want to capture IP addresses in Pendo, contact Pendo Support to disable IP address tracking for your app.

What is time to first use in Pendo? ›

The Time to First Use widget shows a box plot and mean average of the time it takes visitors to interact with each core event for the first time. This is the time from a visitor's first event in Pendo to the first time they used the core event.

Does Pendo pay well? ›

Average Pendo hourly pay ranges from approximately $13.00 per hour for Marketing Intern to $20.23 per hour for Intern. Salary information comes from 293 data points collected directly from employees, users, and past and present job advertisements on Indeed in the past 36 months.

How much does a software engineer make at Pendo? ›

The salary starts at $82,950 per year and goes up to $176,781 per year for the highest level of seniority.

How much does a senior product manager at Pendo make? ›

Pendo.io Product Manager Salary | $128K-$179K+ | Levels. fyi.

Can Pendo track anonymous users? ›

Pendo saves and tracks anonymous Visitors at the browser level using local storage and cookies. If the same person comes back to your application, Pendo attempts to use the same anonymous Visitor ID for them.

Who is Pendo owned by? ›

Pendo is a company offering a cloud platform for digital product creators and product development teams that is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina and was founded in 2013 by Eric Boduch, Erik Troan, Rahul Jain, and Todd Olson.

Why is Pendo called Pendo? ›

Pendo means value

As far as our name goes, Pendo is the latin word for “value.” The goal of any great product is to provide value—people don't typically spend their time (or money) on things that don't give them any value.

How many people use Pendo? ›

More than 8,700 companies now use Pendo to provide better software experiences to 700 million people every month.

Does Pendo integrate with Jira? ›

If you use JIRA to manage your software development, our two-way JIRA integration allows you to close the feedback loop for customers and internal users of your product, and improve efficiency between product and development teams.

Should I work at Pendo? ›

Pendo has an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5, based on over 253 reviews left anonymously by employees. 75% of employees would recommend working at Pendo to a friend and 68% have a positive outlook for the business. This rating has improved by 1% over the last 12 months.

Does Pendo work on apps? ›

Pendo Mobile SDK

This allows Pendo to automatically track any user action in your app, providing insights without prior app tagging (retroactive analytics). Analytics and Guides are agnostic to app versions, allowing you to make updates without needing to change the way Pendo tracks user interactions on mobile apps.

Is Pendo private or public? ›

Pendo is a private company and not publicly traded.

Does Pendo have a knowledge base? ›

Pendo + Algolia

Embed Algolia knowledge base directly in the Pendo Resource Center.

How do I download data from Pendo? ›

If you want to export the data in the side panel, select Download CSV below the table. If desired, you can include additional metadata to the CSV by selecting Add Metadata and selecting a value from the dropdown menu. Once you choose your desired metadata, select Generate CSV to download the file to your device.

How big is Pendo? ›

With more than 430 employees worldwide, Pendo continues to invest in the best talent in order to meet demand from some of the world's leading software companies.

What is the limit for Pendo free? ›

Pendo Free has a limit of 500 monthly active users (MAUs). MAUs are calculated by adding up all unique Visitor IDs in a 30-day period. When your subscription approaches this limit, you see a banner indicating that you're about to hit the MAU limit.

Does Pendo use cookies? ›

Purpose - The response of a ping includes a notification count. Pendo writes this to a cookie so that it is persisted across refreshes, It's deleted when the user opens feedback. If disabled - If the user refreshes the notification icon on the widget tab, it would disappear until the next ping.

How do you use Pendo for onboarding? ›

  1. Step 1: Getting started with onboarding guides. Navigate to the create guide page within Pendo. ...
  2. Step 2: Guide layout. Select a guide layout. ...
  3. Step 3: Building guide content. ...
  4. Step 4: Guide activation. ...
  5. Step 5: Guide segmentation. ...
  6. Step 6: Guide publishing.

What is the 4 step onboarding process? ›

Phase 1: Pre-Onboarding. Phase 2: Welcoming New Hires. Phase 3: Job-Specific Training. Phase 4: Ease of Transition to the New Hire's New Role.

What are the three keys to a successful onboarding program? ›

There are three keys to a successful strategic onboarding program: people, culture, and milestones and tasks. A consistent, and repeatable onboarding process requires few adjustments and benefits all stakeholders involved. Plus, you're more prepared to set your new hire up for long-term success.

What is the difference between visitor and account in Pendo? ›

Examples of Visitor-level metadata include: first name, last name, email address, user permissions, and role or title. Examples of Account-level metadata include: account name, industry, market segment, account creation date, signup date, contract start date, renewal date, and contract value.

What are the 4 stages of customer success? ›

About the Customer Success Maturity Model
  • Phase 1: Forming.
  • Phase 2: Storming.
  • Phase 3: Norming.
  • Phase 4: Performing.
Jun 13, 2017

What are the 5 core elements of effective customer success management? ›

So these are the five key pieces to customer success. Onboarding success, product success, customer success, company success, and team success.

What are the 5 steps to success for good customer service? ›

5 Steps to Building Excellent Customer Service
  • Recognise the importance of happy customers and quality customer service. ...
  • Match your customer service tactics with your business strategy. ...
  • Improve your call centre agents' experience and performance. ...
  • Use the right tools. ...
  • Apply an appropriate methodology.
Apr 10, 2018

What are Pendo terms of use? ›

The Terms of Use and access to the Service contemplated hereunder are personal to you, and are not assignable, transferable or sublicensable by you except with Pendo's prior written consent. Pendo may assign, transfer or delegate any of its rights or obligations hereunder without your consent.

What is the user limit for Pendo? ›

Pendo Free has a limit of 500 monthly active users (MAUs). MAUs are calculated by adding up all unique Visitor IDs in a 30-day period. When your subscription approaches this limit, you see a banner indicating that you're about to hit the MAU limit.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Last Updated: 23/09/2023

Views: 5605

Rating: 4 / 5 (61 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kimberely Baumbach CPA

Birthday: 1996-01-14

Address: 8381 Boyce Course, Imeldachester, ND 74681

Phone: +3571286597580

Job: Product Banking Analyst

Hobby: Cosplaying, Inline skating, Amateur radio, Baton twirling, Mountaineering, Flying, Archery

Introduction: My name is Kimberely Baumbach CPA, I am a gorgeous, bright, charming, encouraging, zealous, lively, good person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.