One of the major topics in many design processes and user driven development is doing interviews. So lets have a closer look on preparation, proceeding and analyzing how to do useful interviews. Mostly done with invited users, friends and colleagues talking about ideas, products, work and experiences. So what will be the outcome?

Lets start at the beginning

Interviews can be done at any step in your challenge whenever the team wants to get user or expert knowledge and user experience. Understanding user thinking and problems. Primarily used in the define, analyses and prototype testing phase. But you should always think about the purpose of your interview. You can use them to gaining knowledge in a certain topic, collect thoughts, check with users to learn and gather their experience.

When doing interviews you should first think about who can be a useful interview partner in your current situation. The easiest way will be to invite neighbors, friends, colleagues or family members. More difficult will to do interviews including unknown users or subject experts. These will required some more preparation. Following you will see a short list including some topics you should cover in your interview preparation.

Step by Step

  1. Prepare a interview guide. Before you can start your first interview you should prepare yourself and the team about the upcoming challenge. Be clear on the purpose of your interview and who will be your interview partner. Prepare topics and questions you need to ask. Sometimes a quick story can help to get startet. Prepare a introduction. Also think about a possible outcome what topics to cover and what is the interview prepared for? Do you want to get some insights? Gain some knowledge about an topic?
  2. Invite your attendees and prepare your team – after your has prepared the interview it is time to get some people to be interviewed. How and where can you get them? Will you invite them to your place or will you find them somewhere outside. If you need user you maybe need to think about where you will find them. Schedule a time frame when and where you want to do your interviews
  3. Now its time to do your interview. The questionnaire has been prepared. Attendees are invited, the team is ready. Now go ahead. Sometimes it will be beneficial to a quick introduction and introduce the purpose if the upcoming interview. Sometimes you need to keep yourself short and let them do. To receive a impactful answer you should proceed around 10 to 15 interviews. Then you should be able to prepare an answer to most of the questions you have.
  4. Results – this will bring us to the 4th and final part in our interview journey. After finishing your interview session it is time to have a look on the results. You will end up with a list of great meanings, thoughts and answers to your questions. To prepare a general answer you need to analyze and review the answer and compare the results. Sometimes sketches and pictures will help you to visualize the results.

Then you should take the results and bring them into your journey about the design challenge. Work with them and improve your work.

Some tipps

Record your session – You should be clear on the way on how you want to collect your information. Transcripts, notes or sketches can be really helpful in this way. But you should give the responsibility to one of your colleagues while you do the interview someone else should do the recording. comics, quick drawings and journey maps are also great tool you should use. Audio or video recording are recommended too. But next to note taking as you can catch the thinking and meaning of the answer in a better way if you are in the interview. But keep in mind you need to check with your attendee if a recording is fine for them.

Time and Space – Think about the place and when you want to do your interview. Looking for attendees during the morning rush our at the train station will not lead to great results. If you invited your participant you should prepare your space to create a comfortable environment for the meeting.

Check back – If you use an introduction or visuals in your interview always check with your interview partner if they understand what it is about. Also check if you got the answer correctly. Try to avoid misunderstanding and you can also use this as a hook to prepare the next question.

And of course – you should always have fun! Do not leave it behind. Keep in mind the interview partner will recognize if you like what you are doing and will reflect this in there answers. So….

Have Fun!



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