A user-centric scuba diving logbook solution

My passion for scuba diving has taken me from Tulum to the Great Barrier Reef. Despite an abundance of digital logbook solutions, everyone I met on my travels used paper logbooks to track dive details. What was stopping the migration to digital? The goal of this personal project was to uncover underlying reasons preventing the use of digital logbooks and create a solution guided by research and user involvement.

Survey Design

A survey was created to test assumptions, reduce uncertainty and learn about diver needs. The questions focused on dive logging behaviors and attitudes towards keeping logs digitally. It was hoped an understanding of why there’s a low uptake of digital logbooks could help inform the design of a digital logbook divers would use.

Participant Recruitment

Participants were recruited from diving forums and social media. A total of 273 unique, anonymous responses were collected over five days. The diving community embraced the project, producing this better than expected result.


Back to paper

Significantly more respondents logged dives using paper logbooks. Digital logbook dropout rates were high, with over 30% of those who tried a digital logbook not using one using one on their last dive.

What makes logbooks inconvenient

Digital logbooks can’t be stamped, take longer to complete, can’t include verification signatures, require an internet connection and converting paper logs to a new system would be time-consuming.

Verification stamps are important

Respondents who had never logged digitally enjoyed having their logbook stamped or signed by dive center or dive buddy more than those who log digitally. They also logged their dives sooner.

Recorded data differences

Respondents who’d never logged digitally recorded fewer types of data. However, they recorded fish species, signatures, verifier’s certification number and dive center stamps significantly more often.

Photos not included with logs

Although the majority of respondents took photos on diving trips, few (27.38%) included photos with their dive logs.

Sharing photos and app use link

App users were more likely to share diving photos online and less likely to store photos on a computer. The majority added data to logbooks manually, possibly affecting importance placed on ease of use.

Giving up on dive log apps

Respondents who went back to paper logs did so because of difficulty finding a good app, it takes longer than paper, changed operating system, not intuitive, too time-consuming to convert past logs

Improvements to existing apps

Improvements or features app users would like included the ability to produce a printable backup, ability to export as a common file type so data isn’t tied to app, ability to sync data with a cloud service such as Google Drive or Dropbox, more automated data entry, and improved usability.

Most frequently logged data

The computer software subgroup differed from the other two subgroups in the data which they logged most frequently. Participants who preferred logging using computer software did not frequently log the dive number and additionally logged gas mix.

Friends have the greatest influence

Friends were the top-influencing factor when choosing a dive destination selecting a dive center. Most (76.41%) respondents were also influenced by photos when selecting a dive destination and most (81.44%) respondents select a dive center before leaving home.

Apps were best for digital logging

Respondents who’d adopted smartphone apps were more satisfied than those using other forms of digital dive logs. Users continued to use apps because of portability, ease of use, convenience, sufficient functions for needs, GPS and Facebook integration.

An iterative process

The verification process was moved to the Add Dive screen.
The buddy verification now only offers existing buddies as options.
The primary button, Add Dive was positioned in the top right.
Secondary functions were housed in the tab menu.
Buddies tab Search function searches existing buddies and other Dive Passport users.
Buddies tab displays only existing buddies.
Functions which are least important are listed in the Sidebar menu.
Log out to be separated as it is the least important for the app operation.
The Invite Friends function was removed from the buddy verification process.

High Fidelity Design

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Invision Prototype

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Try the Prototype Yourself

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