Theme editing best practices

Why edit your themes

When Thematic initially creates your themes it does so independently and tries to group your themes in a way that makes sense.

However Thematic's AI doesn't have the context you have about your data and your dataset. For example, users might refer differently to a feature of your product. You might have specific goals too, which can influence how to organize themes.

Make sure to spend 1 to 2h to add your tweaks and make the analysis more accurate and relevant.

You might want to use the tool for a bit, and then re-edit themes again. The key is, don't be afraid to make changes (Thematic keeps history of all applied versions), but also don't spend too long here!

Full explanation of the Managed themes area features

What does a good themes taxonomy look like

  1. Easily understood
    1. Are the themes easily understood if shared with anyone in your organization?
  2. Actionable and relevant
    1. Does each theme cover a meaningful topic that could be actioned?
    2. It may be too generic, but does it group other more specific themes?
  3. Context-specific
    1. Do the themes correctly cover context-specific information (e.g. acronyms)? 
  4. Aren't biased 
    1. Have the themes been reviewed by relevant stakeholders to prevent bias?
  5. Have a good coverage
    1. When you apply themes, do they tag 80% of all comments?

Remember, if you ever get stuck, get in touch with our customer success team!

How to review themes to improve their quality in Thematic

Before you make any changes, sort themes by frequency. This way you will review most common themes first

Review the accuracy of the theme taxonomy

Delete generic themes to remove noise and focus on what matters

  • Remove all names that aren't useful, e.g. your company name isn't useful, but feature, products, competitor names are useful
  • If feedback is from app reviews, delete themes like "app"
  • Sometimes you click into a theme and it's unclear what it means. Often it's easier to delete it. Thematics marks these with a red exclamation mark.
  • Often there are generic themes that you want to keep to ensure coverage, e.g. "great app", "terrible app". You can create a base theme "generic feedback" and add those themes there. This will help declutter the analysis view.

Merge similar themes to declutter

  • If you have themes like "difficult to search" and "couldn't find", they likely refer to the same thing
  • You might want to merge "ease of use" with "easy to use", or keep them separate

Rearrange the base & sub-themes

  • Cost and Billing could be two separate base themes, or sub-themes under one base theme
  • Move all features into a theme "features", or keep them separate to dig deeper into each one
  • Should design/look be separate from UX/UI? This might depend on your team structure
  • Organize all competitors under "competitors", or integrations under "integrations"

Discover additional themes to improve coverage and specificity

  • Before adding any themes manually, make sure to run discoveries! A separate section below explains how.

Add a missing theme to ensure didn't miss anything critical

  • Look at comments or sentences without any themes and add a theme that might have been missed
  • Occasionally there already exists a similar theme. Just add the missing mapped phrase, or run Auto-suggest to find other phrases.
  • A theme can be added without any mapped phrases to group other themes.
  • You can create a new theme with a few mapped phrases, and then run the discovery on it (see the section below)
  • Be careful not to add phrases that are too generic, e.g. "rate" can refer to a rate you pay or a rating you give.

Review the accuracy of individual themes 

Rename themes to make them more understandable 

  • If all comments tagged with "sound" describe various issues with sound, you could name it "sound issues"
  • Do you want to use your user's or your team's terminology, e.g. "features" vs "functionality"

Review merged themes

  • Occasionally AI makes a mistake and merges a more generic and a more specific themes. 
  • You can unmerge, review, and if necessary merge back, depending on comments tagged with these themes

Review a theme's mapped phrases to ensure accuracy

  • Review phrases for a theme, if anything strange stands out, check if it's because of a merged theme. If not, delete those phrases.
  • If a theme only has 1 or 2 mapped phrases, run "Auto-suggest" to add more phrases
  • Review comments to check that the theme is tagging them correctly
  • Don't over-do this! As some themes have hundreds of mapped phrases

See our article on Managed themes area features to learn how to do these actions.

How to discover new themes in your data

Thematic organically discovers many relevant themes, but it might miss a theme, or it might miss a more specific version of a theme. 

The good news is that in Thematic, you can work with the AI to add the themes fairly quickly.

Additional benefit of discovering themes vs. adding themes manually is that Thematic automatically finds synonyms and variations. 

Please note

  • The best new themes cover a specific concept, with a few mapped phrases. 
  • A really generic theme isn't always useful, but can be good to run additional discovery on.
  • Not all discovered themes will be useful to your analysis, so only add the meaningful ones.
  • Running discovery on larger sizes of data will usually produce more generic themes, while discoveries on smaller sizes will produce more specific themes.

Discover themes across the entire dataset

Here are three examples of how to get the most out of this feature.

Discover themes in untagged comments to improve coverage:

Discover themes in themes added in the recent feedback added to the dataset:

Discover themes in the negative comments by slicing based on a score, e.g. NPS.

Discover similar themes given a theme

If you have a theme that's generic, you can try to find similar themes related to it.

Please note that if you added this theme manually, you need to Apply themes first, before returning to the Manage theme area to run discovery.

Confirm the discovery, and in some cases you'll see a good selection of themes to add:

You can rename a theme, specify where it should be added (as a new base theme, or as a sub-theme under an existing theme). 

You can also add them, and then merge afterwards.

Should all themes have mapped phrases?

Base themes don't need to include mapped phrases or merged themes. If they are empty, they will show the total count of comments tagged with their sub-themes.

In the example below, pricing the base theme contains more generic mapped phrases like "price" & "cost". The sub-theme "pricing (general)" shows comments which were tagged by the base theme but not any of the more specific sub-themes.

Need more help?

Full explanation of the Managed themes area features

Watch an in-depth masterclass on how to edit themes.

Reach out to our support or join our slack community!