What is an interview?
An interview is a 1:1 discussion with a user or a business stakeholder to explore the problem(s) that you are trying to solve. Interviews are valuable because you need to have a solid understanding of how your project will impact the business and you need to understand your target users before design and development can start.
How to conduct an interview:
Have 1:1 discussions with users and business stakeholders. Identify the different areas of the business the project will impact and reach out to them for individual conversations to understand what will be valuable to them. Identify your target audience segments and interview people from each segment.
- Create a welcoming atmosphere to make participants feel at ease if the interview is in-person.
- Start each interview by introducing yourself and your role.
- Provide a general description of the goal, but don’t provide a lot of detail that could skew the interview.
- Obtain consent for taking notes or any type of recording before the interview begins. Explain that the interview won’t be shared with anyone or attributed to them directly.
- Always listen more than you speak.
- Consider including a note taker so you can focus on the interview.
- Take responsibility to accurately convey the thoughts and behaviors of the people you are studying.
- Avoid leading questions and closed yes/no questions. Ask follow-up questions.
- Don’t be afraid to ask why to uncover key insights.
- Prepare an outline of key questions in advance, but don’t be afraid to stray from it if something interesting comes up.
When should I conduct interviews?
You should start conducting interviews at the beginning of a project once you understand the problems that you are trying to solve. This should be a part of your discovery phase.
Interviews can be formal or informal. At the most basic level, you simply need a list of questions to ask, a way to record responses, and a venue for the conversation.
Results from a single interview can be limited in value since you’re only being exposed to the perspective of a single stakeholder, though they are still valuable because they’re directly from the source. When the feedback from multiple interviews is consolidated in a meaningful way, the results become much more useful.
Anyone on the design team can ask questions of stakeholders and record responses. An interview is one of the most straightforward user research methods.