Asking questions in the right way can help you get the most out of interviews. In this video, learn how to craft questions that will get you the most honest, detailed responses.
- To create the questions, start with the list of research goals you have and write out a series of questions that look at the issue with various angles. For instance, if you're trying to understand why someone signed up for your service, you might start with a simple question like how did you decide to pick this service but you might also ask things like what other services did you look at, why didn't you choose those services, what were the biggest factors for you to decide, what were the pros and cons of each, how sure or unsure were you that you made the right choice, who helped you decide? These questions all explore the same decision but look at it from different angles.
You can also ask for the same information in different ways to make sure that you're getting the whole story. Focus on creating open-ended questions starting with who, what, where, when, why or how. Just make sure that you ask one question at a time. For instance, you wouldn't want to ask how do you find and share interesting articles? Instead, you'd want to first focus on asking about how they find articles and explore that thoroughly then move onto the sharing task.
Splitting the questions ensures that you'll uncover insights around both items and won't confuse your participants. Try to match the language style of your participants and when in doubt, ask questions as simply as possible. I also like to have participants recall something and simply ask them to tell me about their experience. My favorite followup question is tell me more. Even if you think there's a simple answer to your question, people will always tell you more detail and context when you leave things open.
You also bake in assumptions when you ask closed questions and the point of conducting interviews is to uncover the things you don't already know. To that note, phrase the questions as neutrally as possible so you don't introduce your biases. You'll need to practice this when conducting the interviews but it helps to start by writing the questions in a non-leading way. For instance, don't ask how frustrating it might be if someone receives an error when filling out a form rather ask the participant to remember the last time that they got an error and tell you about it.
Note that I didn't ask how they feel but rather left it open to tell me anything that comes to mind. This way, you don't assume what participants were feeling or thinking and you'll get information about what was most relevant to them at the time. You can also phrase the question with both the positive and the negative view embedded like saying how sure or unsure are you about your choice? It helps to ask participants about specific recent events. Remember that human memory has limits.
People will unconsciously make up a story that makes the most sense to them and fill in what they can't remember. With the form error example, ask them first to recall the last time it happened to them. Get them talking about the specific experience and what they were trying to do. You'll get much more specific truthful information if someone is recalling a specific interaction rather than generalizing about all their past experiences. If you are exploring a particular interface or process, try the contextual inquiry approach and have participants walk you through the tasks they'd normally perform.
Situations will likely come up that you hadn't considered asking about and you'll get an even deeper look into the participant's true experience. Regardless of your research goals, having a set of open, non-biased questions will help you get the most out of your sessions.
Amanda Stockwell explains what UX interviewing is, when UX professionals use interviews, and what kind of information you'll gather. She also takes you through how to prepare for interviews, moderate your sessions, and analyze your data. After you wrap up this course, you'll be prepared to conduct UX interviews on your own.
- What's a UX interview?
- The pros and cons of in-person and remote interviews
- Recruiting and selecting the right participants
- Planning interviews
- Crafting questions
- Conducting interviews
- Remaining neutral
- Organizing and analyzing data
- Summarizing findings