It can be easy to lead participants unintentionally in interviews. In this video, learn tips to remain neutral to get the most honest, unbiased feedback.
- When listening to participants, be sure to be fully engaged and not make assumptions about their answers. Their interpretation of something may be different from yours, so ask for details and be sure you're fully processing what they say. Paraphrase the main gist of what you think they're saying, and repeat it back. Then, they can either expand more, clarify something that was off, or confirm what you thought, and you can move on. If you're unsure about a word they used, what they said, or how they see or do something, ask, no matter how obvious it may seem, or if you've asked it before.
You might even want to purposely ask the same question a few different ways to be sure you don't miss anything. Communication is tricky, and it's easy for people to gloss over the things that they know best. The whole point of an interview is to explore how your participant thinks, so get them to slow down. Remind them that you want to learn all about them, and that they should treat you as complete beginners. Keep in mind that every participant has a different communication style, and set of values and context, so what works for some participants may not work for another.
Beside the obvious things, like making sure your language and attire is appropriate for the setting, pay close attention to individual reactions and do your best to shift your style on the fly. For instance, if someone seems to be slow to open up, spend some extra time getting to know them and identify something that they seem passionate about before digging in to details. To nudge people to talk more, you can also remind them how helpful their insight will be. You'll get the best insight when your questions flow naturally, which means the order may vary greatly between participants.
It helps to have the key questions memorized so that you can pull them in as it makes sense, rather than planning to always ask the same thing in the same order. Remembering the key questions can also help you steer participants back to the main topics of conversation if they get distracted or off on a tangent. Finally, remember to be gracious and non-judgmental, especially when discussing sensitive topics. Even if you're paying participants, they're giving you their time and opinions for your benefit. Participants are likely to share more if they feel like a valued partner, and they're likely to clam up if they feel judged or embarrassed.
It takes some practice, but remain neutral, control your reactions, and pick strategic times to remind participants that there are no right or wrong answers. Reminder that when it's possible, have a colleague take notes so that you can focus on the person you're talking to. That will allow you to read more body language cues and the conversation should flow more smoothly. If you don't have that option, it's best to take minimal notes during the session and record the sessions so you can revisit details.
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