UX Research & User Testing

Running Interviews

Paul Boag

Paul Boag

UX Research & User Testing

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The "Running Interviews" Lesson is part of the full, UX Research & User Testing course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul discusses the importance of conducting user interviews and provides advice on how to run them effectively. He emphasizes the value of building rapport with participants, listening more than talking, and asking follow-up questions. He also suggests collecting quotes and creating a highlights reel or horror video to effectively communicate user feedback to stakeholders. He mentions different tools that can be used for conducting interviews and reassure learners that there is no right or wrong way to conduct interviews.


Transcript from the "Running Interviews" Lesson

>> If you can get more than that, right, if you can squeeze a little bit more time and effort out there, then consider running a couple of user interviews, right? Three maximum you need to do I would say unless you're really on I'm not talking best practice again, but for people like us in this workshop, if you get three, you're doing well.

Even one, again, something is better than nothing. Do a little bit more than you've done already. So just a very easy user interview is really worthwhile just having a chat with people. So you might be wondering, well, what do you do in those interviews? So bit of advice on how to run user interviews if you ever wanna give it a go.

First of all identify the topics and start questions. So what kind of broad things do you wanna know going in and just write up some questions around those topics. Don't worry too much about it. Don't agonize over it. You don't need to worry about the wording so much cuz it's gonna be a conversation.

You're gonna it's gonna be flexible, it's gonna go off on tangents. That's all great. Concentrate on building rapport with people as that's a really big one. So begin the interview with some like non threatening questions to make the participants feel comfortable in the conversation. I often offer them tea because I'm British and that's what you do if you're doing it in person.

Although increasingly you do it remotely these days. Then just listen more than talk. So encourage participants to do most of the talking. Resist the urge to fill in silences with your thoughts or leading questions but keep it casual. There's no magic way of doing it. And the thing that I would remind you is they've never seen a user interview before.

So they don't know whether you're doing it wrong or right, right? It's more about, especially if you've already done a bit of a survey, doing an interview is mainly about just getting to know the old audience, to get feel for them and what kind of people to be able to picture a person in your mind when you're doing it.

And don't be afraid to ask some follow up questions. If they say something particularly interesting or unexpected, ask follow up questions. I ask the question why a lot? An annoying amount. So why did you do that? Or why did that annoy you or whatever? I call it the belligerent toddler approach.

Why, why, so, yes. Then of course, once you've done the interview, if you put on all this effort to do an interview it's worth kind of making sure you use it effectively. I tend to get a load of quotes together from the interview because it's great to be able to throw them into presentations and quote users.

Cuz one of the big things you find when interacting with stakeholders is two types of stakeholders. The stakeholders that are driven by data, right? They're the ones that want your survey results, right? 73% of people got annoyed at this particular thing, right? That resonates with them. And then there's the other group of people that are the more empathetic people that just want a really sweaty quote saying how much somebody got annoyed with one particular thing and that was swing them.

Together it works really well if you can get away with doing both. So collecting those quotes together is really worth while. It's worth getting transcriptions, which is mind blowingly easy these days with AI, because it means that you can search through them and highlight stuff for future reference.

And if you got a little bit of extra time and I agree this does take a bit more time, I create what I call a highlights reel, or sometimes I call it a horror video. So, the highlights reel is a kind of collection of the key points, that people are making just so that people get an overview of it.

Other times I create a horror reel, which is where I wanna scare stakeholders into letting me do what I wanna do. And so I just feel it with all of the most frustrating and annoying moments and I send it around to stakeholders. Normally, only 90 seconds, something very short and snappy just to kinda get a reaction from them and kinda get them caring a little bit more.

You could do all of this via Zoom, but actually, there are some other tools out there that you might wanna consider. You might be a Zoom person, you might be a Google Meet person, Team person, all of those you can do it. If you can scrounge a little bit of money together, I do recommend look back because it's much easier for highlighting bits it does the transcription for you.

It makes it easy to create those low light videos and stuff like that. You only need to get it for one month, you pay for on month of it and then you cancel it. So that's a useful little tool that I use quite a lot. And like I said a minute ago, don't worry about doing it wrong, participants aren't gonna know.

[LAUGH] So just kind of have a casual chat really, terms of questions to ask. It's up to you but I tend to ask a little bit of background and context cuz I'm trying to get to know the person a little bit and their pain points, and their goals, and that kind of thing.

I try and get an idea of how they use the service if they've used it before and any challenges they encountered. I talk about needs needs and opportunity a lot, how satisfied they are with the service areas that they think should be improved. And then I just encourage them with some open ended feedback at the end where they can say anything they wanna say.

If they've used it before, any thoughts on what they've just seen or if you've shown them the app while you're doing a conversation. Now these are interviews rather than usability testing. So it's more of a chat than it is actually testing an interface and we'll come on to usability testing later.

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