Identifying the key research goals and planning sessions to cover those topics will help you run interviews most effectively. In this video, learn how to prepare a script for your interview so the conversation flows smoothly.
- When you start planning for interviews, you'll want to come up with a script that outlines a set of questions to cover the topics you'd like to discuss. Preparing the script is a way to define and prioritize the research goals and set a proposed structure for the conversation. You should use this script as a guide only and plan on asking follow-up or separate questions as they arise naturally in the discussion. You may have hypotheses to explore, but remember that interviews should be used to explore how's and why's that definitively prove or disprove points.
You may also want to run a flavor of ethnographic interview called a Contextual inquiry. In a Contextual inquiry, you go to the person's normal place of work or their home and have them walk you through a set of tasks. You'll observe their process and ask them follow-up questions as you go. The sessions may vary greatly based on what the user does. But it's still helpful to have a script ready, with a bank of topics to cover and questions to ask. I recommend first writing out the specific questions you want answered with the research, such as why someone signed up for a service or how they chose their subscription level.
You can't get good information by directly asking those questions, but listing out the goals will give you a sense for how much you want to cover and help you prioritize the topics. There is no magic number of questions, but you typically want to plan for sessions to be about 30 to 60 minutes. I've found that's usually about three main topics. You may need to skip some topics if you get deep into a discussion, so knowing what you absolutely must cover, versus what is nice to have, will help you regulate the discussion. When planning the flow of the discussion, start with an introduction that explains who you are, sets expectations for the session, and reminds participants how their input will help you.
If you'll be recording the session or need any other forms signed, include that information upfront and make sure to ask for permission. You can write this out in the script to ensure that you don't forget any key points. Make the first questions easy for participants to answer, and not too personal, such as explaining their job function. This'll get the conversations started and help the participant feel comfortable talking to you. Then you'll want to move on to the meat of the interview, which will cover the key topics you've listed out.
More on how to craft the best questions in the next section. Make sure that you build in time to wrap up the conversation with any lingering questions on your part. Give the participants time to make any other comments or ask questions, as there might be something they've been thinking that you didn't think to ask about. This is also a good time to thank them and remind them how they're helping the team.
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