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Interviewing Users: How To Uncover Compelling Insights

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Interviewing Users: How To Uncover Compelling Insights

O’Reilly Webcast: Interviewing Users – Uncovering Compelling Insights

Released in 2013, Interviewing Users has quickly become a classic, recommended for anyone who should be talking to users. Researchers, designers, managers and leaders all benefit from interviewing techniques and tools that enable you to conduct informative interviews with anyone. Youll move from simply gathering data to uncovering powerful insights about people.

The 7 Stages Of An Interview According To Steve Portigal

Portigal asserts that most interviews follow the same seven stages â it doesnât matter if the interview is for product development or design research, they will still have elements in common. By recognizing each stage, itâs easier to prepare and facilitate more informative interviews, gaining valuable user insights for your research.

Connecting Your Interview Questionnaire To Your Studys Hypothesis

When asked to think about invaluable interviewing techniques not covered in Interviewing Users, Bindu shared some key planning strategies every user researcher can employ beforehand.

âLearn to connect your interview questionnaire with your hypotheses,â she emphasized, âso you donât end up in a situation where you don’t have the data that you need. This also ensures your research is lean and can be traced back to your research questions.â

She likes to use the Hypothesis-Driven Process, something she came across during her ongoing efforts to improve as a researcher. Hereâs what that process looks like on her team:

On a recent research project, her team worked to come up with three or four broad research questions about the project, then they listed their assumptions about that topic. When she says assumptions, she means things like âpeople love to change music playlists per their moodâ or âpeople listen to music on short driving trips and podcasts on longer road trips.â

Bindu calls this âgathering the essenceâ of the study. She asks colleagues to share their assumptions, compiles them into one list, and then chooses the most important ones for testing. Each assumption requires its own specific questions and testing methods. Ideally, youâll end up with overarching hypotheses.

Recommended Reading: How To Write Email After Interview

Adapting Portigals Best Practices To Fit Remote User Research

Some of Portigalâs advice transfers well to remote research. An interview can still move from broad to specific terms. You can still embrace the awkwardness, leverage silence, and slowly build rapport with your participant.

But you canât rely on body language and the way your room is arranged when youâre chatting over Zoom. Here are a few of the ways Bindu recommends for making a remote interview a success:

  • Turn your video feed on at the beginning to create a vibe for the interview. The idea is to welcome the participant, to cross the threshold with them, and to restate the objectives while youâre chatting face-to-face. Afterward, Bindu usually turns off the video to procure cleaner audio and to avoid distractions by the non-eye contact that remote face-to-face settings offer. âBut this heavily depends on the research context,â she added.
  • Make sure any associated tasks can be done with technology the participant already has installed. And always have a Plan B if problems arise. If you do need participants to use any technology they might not have used before, itâs best to send instructions ahead of time and have them practice, if possible.
  • Mute the notetaker. Just like an in-person interview, you want the focus to be on the conversation. Little things like the keystrokes of your notetaker become big distractions as you try to navigate from the kick-off questions to the tipping point, where bonding and rapport are established.
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