Qualitative Research


This research was a part of the User Research Bootcamp at the Interaction Design Foundation January – April 2022. It was carried out with the collaboration of Yellow Yoga, where study participants were recruited.

The research aimed to uncover how people in 2022 experience taking Yoga classes. Focusing on the User Audience of the Yellow Yoga studio, the study targeted Users’ preferences, motivations and pain points when looking for a Yoga class.

Process Overview

An overview from start to finish:

From identifying Research Objectives and appropriate Methods, to finding people, coducting Interviews and Open Card Sorts, Carefully transcribing, extracting relevant quotes and creating an Affinity Diagram for each method. Finally, bringing the insights to the foreground by creating a Persona, a Journey Map and HMW Questions.

Conducting a process through all its stages produces long lasting insights: not only about the research subject but also about the process itself. One learns, sometimes the hard way, why it is important to listen, to allow participants the time they need, and follow up on what is truely interesting.

in this Research, 4 Semi Structured Qualitative Interviews and 3 Open Card Sorts were conducted and used as the source of User Data.

Themes from Interviews

The benefits of online classes, as well as their challenges and limitations.

  • Online classes are accessible and convenient.
  • They provided connection and structure in a time of isolation and uncertainty.
  • People want online classes to continue.
  • People talk about a growing feeling a being lazy (not going to the studio) and sloppy (in their practice).
  • People want to return to the studio but feel there is a barrier, a difficulty.

People find in Yoga a source of support, self care and inspiration.

  • People find in Yoga a source of emotional support, challenge and inspiration.
  • People find in Yoga a form of self care, also when dealing with injury or the prevention of it.

People appreciate Yellow Yoga’s authentic and friendly character.

  • People think of Yellow Yoga as laid back, affordable, inclusive, authentic, friendly, welcoming and cozy.
  • People miss the studio, and casually meeting each other in class or after class.

The Yoga teacher plays an important role in people’s experience.

  • People look for classes with their favorite teachers. Teacher > Yoga style
  • People find themselves comparing and judging more when it comes to teachers they don’t know.


The “before” view of an Open Card Sort session

Themes from Card Sorts

Concerns about the future of the Yoga studio and the future of teaching Yoga.

  • Teachers are concerned about the sustainability and future of the studio.
  • Urban Sports has negatively affected group consistency and student commitment, which makes it hard to teach.
  • Teachers feel that the studio’s values are slowly being eroded.
  • Teachers feel that some teaching formats are not adequately compensated.

Teaching Yoga online has had some unexpected benefits.

  • Teaching online is surprisingly personal.
  • Teaching online from home was for some teachers a liberating experience, allowing for more freedom to experiment and develop an authentic teaching style.
  • Teachers have successfully created regular online classes with high student commitment by relying on their own network.

Students’ preferences regarding online or in- studio are becoming clearer and more differentiated.

  • Some people prefer online classes, and expectations are beginning to form. Technical issues regarding sound quality as well as punctuality are important.
  • Some students still prefer the in- studio experience. The ability of the teacher to attend to the people in the studio is important.
  • The hybrid model offers accessibility and flexibility, but the students in the studio find the large screen too intrusive.

Communicating the findings

Introducing primary persona, Yulia !

5 fun facts about Yulia :

  • Yulia finds online classes very convenient.
  • But… Yulia gets easily distracted at home and wants to go more often to the studio.
  • Yulia would love to try out a new teacher she doesn’t know yet.
  • Has a monthly flatrate at Yellow Yoga
  • Prefers taking classes in the morning.

Yulia’s journey through the week

From Sunday to Saturday :

  • Planning the week ahead, deciding which Yoga classes to take.
  • When facing an unexpected change in the schedule, changing plans and finding alternatives.
  • Thought- and emotion process around the decision to take an online class rather than go to the studio.
  • Pain points around themes like class cancellations or substitutions, and the decision whether to go to the studio or use the online option.
  • Questions and Opportunities presented to Yellow Yoga as a stakeholder.

Main Narrative

To help communicate to stakeholders one important thread out of the Journey Map, a few sections were picked out and arranged as a narrative.

  • Initially, Yulia simply faces a choice: Go to the studio or take the class online ?
  • Next, Yulia recognizes the advantages of taking the class online, especially if the class is challenging, or long, or if she doesn’t know the teacher.
  • However the thoughts grow more negative as Yulia is not sure if leaving an online class in the middle is “ok”.
  • The negative thoughts turn into judgement and feelings of guilt.
  • Looking at this process, we can lift up these questions to the collective sphere: What does the studio say about leaving online classes in the middle ? In terms of numbers of participants in the studio and online, what is desirable for the studio ? How could the studio help students see the benefits in both of these forms and not focus on the disadvantages and limitations ?

Wrap up

At the end of the process, a meeting was held with the main stakeholder: the administration team of the Yellow Yoga studio. The research findings were presented and there was a short and productive discussion.

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