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#UX / UI #Product Development

How to nail user interviews in a UX, HCD or Design Thinking process


Great! You’ve got your design brief, areas of interest you want to look into, and some interviews lined up. But what‘s next?



This article provides you with hands-on advice on why and how to conduct interviews in your UX process.

Some of the recommendations you are going to read might seem trivial and obvious but neglecting only one of them can ruin your entire interview. Trust me, been there, done that… 😉

How I failed

Only in recent weeks, I’ve conducted dozens of interviews for some client projects at Hinderling Volkart. The last one I did, I completely messed up! I assumed my interviewee had already been on-boarded and informed about why he got interviewed. So, I skipped a proper introduction and jumped right in! «Here we go! Let’s start! Tell me about yourself!»

That was a big mistake…


«Why the hell are you even talking to me? Do you even know who I am?», my interviewee furiously complained. I didn’t really know… As it turned out, he was an influential opinion leader in his field and the head of…

Well done! The mood was low and the energy down. The interviewee resent my questions and the interview became one of my longest hours ever…

If you DON’T want to faillike this, keep reading!


About interviewing people

If you are familiar with interviews and what they are good for, you may also skip this chapter.

Reason and goal for interviews

User interviews are a research method applied during the discovery phase of a human or user centred design process.


They help you gain a deeper understanding of people’s behaviour and their reason why they do what they do. In the best case, interviews reveal insights that help you answer your question.

Insights are the dormant truth about an issue, one’s motivation, wishes, or frustration regarding a specific topic.


«Creating services or products based on your own needs is easy! However, is very unlikely that you will ever design a product for yourself. If you want to make a product or service that meets your end user needs, listening to your users is essential. Interviews are just one way to do that in a effective and efficient fashion (Daniel Santos, FutureEverything)».

Make sure you know why you interview people. Have a clear problem statement set and know what you want to find out.

User interviews often don’t give you all the answers you need. Sometimes they are the wrong instrument. They may fail when you are trying to ask people to remember how something happened in the past or speculate on a future use of something ( nngroup, 2010).

You want to find out about people’s struggles

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