How to Write and Conduct User Interviews
User interviews are a UX method of questioning, which offer researchers a golden opportunity to better understand a given topic – as well as identify how improvements can be made. Quite different to focus groups, user interviews are a quick and easy way to collect user data. So how exactly do you go about writing and then conducting a user interview? We take a closer look. What is a user interview? Far from just a chat with someone to find out what they do and don’t like about a product or process, a user interview aims to get to the heart of what the user is doing and what their problems might be. Chris Mears, UXr suggests: “User research is how you will know your product or service will work in the real world, with real people. It’s where you will uncover or validate the user needs which should form the basis of what you are designing.” Whilst Head of Product & UX at Usabilla, Maria Arvidsson, describes UX research as: “The means through which you try to understand your users’ needs, behaviors and motivations and validate your assumptions and solutions.” Design Modo defines UX research as “The process of understanding user behaviors, needs, and attitudes using different observation and feedback collection methods.” Is a user interview the same as a focus group? In short, no. A focus group involves multiple users at once – typically between 6 and 8 individuals at a time – in order to better understand the users’ feelings and needs, before interface design as well as after it has been implemented. By contrast, a user interview is a one on one session, although its format can allow for several facilitators to ask a question in turn. What is the difference between good and bad UX research? In her article ‘How To Conduct User Experience Research Like A Professional’, Raven L Veal examines the difference between good and bad UX research, concluding: “The biggest sign of an amateur UX designer is excluding end users from the design process. At the very start of my career I held the attitude that I could test any app, website, or product on myself, replacing the act of speaking with users. Never a good idea. It took time for me to learn a more professional approach, which is to start the design process by listening to the end user. Overall, UX research helps us avoid our biases since we are required to design solutions for people who are not like us.” Under what circumstances would you conduct a user interview? User interviews can be utilised in a number of different scenarios: Pre design stage: Long before you have decided on a design, it can be greatly beneficial to conduct user interviews in order to help inform journey maps (we have previously written about ‘How to get started with customer journey mapping’), different personas, feature and workflow ideas. Field study: to help add value to a contextual inquiry study which looks at users in their own environment, by also identifying pain points, bottlenecks and issues for users. On completion of a Usability Test: in order to collect verbal responses related to any behaviours you might have observed. What are the benefits of a user interview? » Read More
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