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How to Conduct User Interviews?

User interviews are a great way to extract information. It helps in understanding the experience, usability, and ideation from the users themselves. It is cost-effective and helps you get first-hand information from the direct users of your product. 

User Interviews
Source – UXdesign.cc

What are User Interviews?

User interviews are conducted to understand the user experience. The researcher asks a series of questions to the users and records them to understand the usability. They are primarily used to determine demographic or ethnographic data. 

User Interviews
Source – https://www.interaction-design.org/

For a user interview, there are generally 2 researchers and a single user. The first researcher asks questions and the second one takes notes. In case, it is not possible to have 2 researchers, it is recommended that you record the call. It is generally difficult for the researcher to take notes while on the call and it deviates from the experiment.

User interviews generally include information on the background, technology, why they use the product, their business use cases, frequency of the use, pain points, the objectives and motives of the product.

Why Do User Interviews?

User Interviews give you an insight on what your users think about your product, process or your site. It has proven results because here you are testing the element with the direct audience. You get to understand their emotions and sentiments on why they like something or do not like something. User Interviews can be conducted before you have a design. This helps in informing the feature or workflow ideas. It enriches a contextual study of tools, processes and bottlenecks.  

How To Do a User Interview?

You need to have a clear idea of why you are conducting the interview. For example, if you are trying to understand why users are canceling the subscription within 3 months of time, your questions need to be focussed on that. You need to ask yourself, what is the info that I seek from the users and how will I use the information to improve the product. 

Given the current situation, you also need to choose the mode by which you want to contact the customer. Ensure that you always choose a way that is easier for the customer than it is for you. 

Preparing Questions

Interviewing requires a lot of patience and effort. It is also essential that you have periodic intervals between 2 interviews. This will give you the time to understand what the user wants before you move on to the next.

It is also essential that you plan the interview question well in advance. The questions should align with your earning goal. Having the wrong set of questions will only nullify the efforts that you have put in.

While preparing the questions, ensure that you have two sections – Introduction and product-specific questions. Your introduction questions will help you build a relationship with the user and put them at ease. Here are a few questions that you can ask your user:

  • How is your day?
  • What apps do you use?
  • Any other lifestyle questions related to your product.

Here are a few product-specific questions:

  • What is the pain point related to the product?
  • What did you find difficult?
  • Have you paid for any of these other products or tools? 
  • How did you hear about these other products or tools?
  • What do you like or dislike about these other products or tools? 
  • Are you looking for a solution or alternative for [problem/task]? 
  • What’s the most you would be willing to pay for this product? 
  • Does this remind of you any other products?

Tips for Preparing Questions

Ensure that you keep the following in mind while drafting the questions:

  1. Keep the script short. 
  2. Keep the questions less than 20 words.
  3. Avoid jargons, slang, abbreviations 
  4. Human memory is fallible, so ask them things that are happening currently. This means you need to talk to your existing users and not to those who have churned out long ago. 
  5. Users can only comment about the product or feature that they have used, so do not ask them questions like, would you use this feature or product? They will not be able to give you insights on products or features that they have not used.
  6. Do not hold on to the questions like a holy grail, remember that the scripts are used to give a sense of direction. Improvise as the conversation proceeds.

Things You Should Do When Interviewing People

As an interviewer, it is your duty to put the interviewee at ease. You need to make them feel comfortable and put them at ease.  

1. Put yourself in the mood

It is important that you are in a good and positive mood before you start the interview process. This lightens the spirit. A positive mood is contagious and is likely to spread to the person on the other end of the call. 

2. Provide a warm welcome

The quality of the interview depends on the data that you collect from the users. Therefore it is necessary to create an atmosphere from the start. Ensure that they are comfortable when you start the interview. 

3. Build an arc

Help them understand the agenda before you start the interview. Give them a context on why you are conducting the interview and how you are going to use the inputs. You can also go ahead and learn about their business, this could turn out to be a good icebreaker as well. It will also help you understand their business and how you can improve the deature/product to cater to businesses like theirs.

4. Explain that there are no right or wrong answers

The interviewees should no that there are no right or wrong answers and that anything that they tell you will help you understand how to make the product clear, easy and useful for customers like them. 

5. Start off with the easy questions

Do not jump to the tedious questions right at the start. Ask questions for which they don’t have to think a lot. Ask softer and lightweight questions in the beginning such as when did you last user the service, have you tried similar products, etc.

6. Ask questions that they will be able to relate to

You need to frame your questions in such a way that they are able to relate to it. For instance, you can ask questions like what did you feel the last time you endured this problem, rather than what would you do when you come across such an issue.

7. Prioritize open-ended questions

Do not ask questions for which the answer would be a yes or a no. Remember that you are asking these questions to get information from the users. The more open ended they are, the more information you get.

8. Ask follow-up questions

Always ask follow up questions. Do not settle on the answers that you get. You can practice the five whys technique. Five whys is where you ask why literally five times. This gives you a chance to completely understand the concept. 

9. Time management

Keep an eye on the time. Practice the questions beforehand and ensure that you get the information that you want within the scheduled time. Here the user is helping you out therefore it is essential that you do not waste their time and plan the interview in such a way that you get all the inputs that you need within the stipulated time.

Conclusion

User interviews are a  popular technique to get user feedback. It is fast and easy. It helps you learn about your users perceptions on design. User Interviews when conducted effectively helps you gain deep insights on the product, feature or processes. 

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