User Research Quick Tips: User Interview

If you wish to create a user-centered product, no one shall escape from conducting user research to garner insight from their users. User testing and interview are some of the most common yet very effective method to collect useful feedback about your product.

New to user interview? These Quick Tips for User Interview crafted by our experienced research team will give you a head start!

General Practice

A user interview session can involve 3 different roles

  • User – the interviewee
  • Interviewer – to ask user questions
  • Observer (recommended) – to take notes.

Some ways to ensure user is comfortable with the interview session.

  1. Make sure user is comfortable with the setting (sitting posture/ temperature / lighting / language preference etc.).
  2. Inform user that he/she is allowed to stop or rest during the test whenever required.
  3. Try to learn more about the participant (user) before the interview session, especially the demographic data: marital status, age etc.
  4. Introduce yourself as interviewer (who will be having conversation with the user), not the note taker (who is just helping to take notes).
  5. Try to use simple language and avoid jargon, you can run a mock interview before the actual session.

1.  Preparation

List Interview Questions
– Make a list of questions, based on the issues that you would like to learn more about (your product/business).
Map the topics
– Try to a map of key topics & keywords, allows flexibility in asking relevant questions.
Warm-up Questions(Build Relationship)
– How was your day?  How did you arrive here?
– Did you able to the find the parking easily?
Ask about past behaviour
– “Could you tell me about(when) the last time you .. ?”
– “How was the experience?”
One Question At A Time
– If possible, avoid using ‘and’ or ‘then’ in a question to confuse user.
Encourage Stories
– Start with ‘How?’, then follow by asking ‘Why?’ on the response.
Avoid ‘Yes’ ‘No’ questions.
– Avoid asking questions that can be answered with just ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

2. During Interview

Keep interview structured, but allow flexibility
– Try to ask relevant questions and stick to your topics.
– However, if necessary, skip to other questions (and cover the question list later).
Reminder for user
– There is no right or wrong answer. Every feedback is equally important and valuable.
Listen more, let user lead the conversation
– Do not interrupt or restrict user from expressing their opinions. Let them elaborate freely and stir discussion.
Acknowledge their response
– Give sign of acknowledgement to encourage further elaboration but do not overreact with excessive laughter or head-shaking.
Ask open-ended questions, and the ‘why’s.
– Try to ask why more than once, you can go up to 6 times of ‘Why’ if necessary.

Some useful questions to ask:

General – Useful questions for probing real insights

  • What triggers your to …[Keyword]
  • What factors that affect your … [Keyword]
  • What are the pain points when … [Keyword]

Product Usage – Understand user behaviour, expectation & interaction with product

  • Why did you sign up or try it out in the first place?
  • What confused you while using it?
  • Why did you use it again?
  • What did not meet your expectation?
  • How/why would you use it regularly?
  • If you can only change/remove/improve one thing, what would it be?

Picking a profitable audience (4 key questions from Seth Godin) –  Uncover business content and map user journey.

  • Where do they meet?
  • Have they ever spent money on this in the past?
  • Is there anything taboo that would prevent them from sharing this?
  • What’s the half life of the information?

Note: The user research quick tips was prepared for MaGIC (Malaysia Global Creativity and Innovation Centre) User Research Lab, an initiative that allows startup community to conduct user testing & interview using the a lab that equipped with proper facilities. The lab is currently undergoing renovation, we will update the blog when the lab is ready to be used. Should you’re interested with using the facilities provided by MaGIC, feel free to contact: jowynne[at]mymagic[dot]com[dot]my.

You are also highly encouraged to read User Research Quick Tips: User Testing.

Author: Netizen

We're an award winning UX research & strategy consulting firm in Asia, aspires to improve experience of the world by empowering everyone to build user-centric products through our innovation tools & approaches. We've been providing expertise to enterprises in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam & Philippines.