User interview guide. 2022 Edition

What is a user interview?

An interview is a UX research tool used to obtain or verify information from users, as well as to validate business hypotheses.

Prior to the interview

First, you need to consider whether the interview is the right tool for the research you are going to conduct.

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash
  1. How can you use this information to improve your product design?
  • What are the familiar behaviours when it comes to cleaning tasks in the home?
  • Knowing the possible frictions in some areas of an online shop.

Online or on-site interview

At the beginning of this post, we have already discussed some of the advantages of remote interviews (such as avoiding travel or increased efficiency).

Profile recruitment and sample size

Recruiting your interviewees is always crucial. It is best to create several profiles based on both demographic criteria (gender, age, place of residence) and behavioural criteria (operating system, activities, type of use) and write them down in a document.

Build a trusting relationship with users

Once you have selected your users, they are categorised into profiles and the sample is relevant enough, it is very important to start building a trusting relationship with them.

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Structure your interview

All interviews need to have a defined structure. A good script will allow you to gather the information you need without distractions, as well as allowing you to address certain topics as the interview progresses.

  • General introductory questions: these will help you to gain the user’s trust and empathise with them.
  • Specific questions.
  • Closing the interview.

Preparing interview questions

When preparing questions, start with the most obvious ones. In fact, they are the ones that relate to the user himself:

  1. How have users performed with the product so far?
  2. What matters most to users when using similar solutions?

What to avoid at all costs

The answer here is easy: questions about the future (have you planned what you are going to eat tomorrow?) or full of technical words and internal jargon.

During the interview

If you have worked well throughout the preparation phase of your interview, your users will arrive comfortable and relaxed, as they know what to expect and will be confident enough to answer your questions honestly.

  1. Although it may sound repetitive, start the interview by explaining what the purpose is and what will be done with the data collected.
  2. Organise the questions to start with a few questions that are easy to answer and as open-ended as possible. This will allow the user to relax and reduce tension if necessary.
  3. Show the user that you have their full attention: take notes, nod and don’t forget about eye contact. In a video call, you can make direct eye contact by looking into the camera.
  4. Don’t be in a hurry and allow users to reason and respond. Talk to them slowly and calmly.
  5. Show empathy. This is one of the most important soft skills to work in UX and cannot be faked. This empathy can be active, showing concern for something that the user transmits, or passive, not asking questions again when detecting an uncomfortable situation.

Avoid leading and closed questions

In leading questions, the answer is already implicit in some way when formulating the question, which can damage the final result of the interview and not achieve the objective you are looking for.

And what about after the interview?

With all the notes you have collected, you will need to proceed to the data analysis. Keep in mind that there are objectives and the data collected will be used to refute or validate the hypotheses.

  • Whenever I’ve looked for something, I’ve always found it. The truth is that I don’t complicate myself too much and I use the search engine for almost everything because it works very well. I use it a lot on my mobile because it even detects spelling mistakes.
  1. The methodology used: selected criteria and methods; script used during the interviews and the questions asked.
  2. Main findings: you can present this information translated into tables and categorised according to the order of the questions to facilitate the understanding of the report.
  3. Recommendations to be implemented, along with their priority or urgency.
  4. Annexes with all relevant information about the process followed.

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Torresburriel Estudio

Torresburriel Estudio

User Experience & User Research agency focused on services and digital products. Proud member of @UXalliance