User Interviews: Guide to an Insightful UX Interview

Laura Angelica updated on 2023-03-23 14:48:53

Whether you are starting a business or working on a new product, there are effective ways to insure yourself against unexpected things like product failure and financial loss. If you want your software or Application to be successful, you need to know your users. Just understanding your target audience is not enough. You have to know what exactly they want and how to give it to them. Wondershare Mockitt believes that the easiest way to find out about the needs and wants of your users is to simply ask them.

I understand that some UX designers don't want their applications to be criticized. But if you want your product to sell, you have to accept criticism. While you bury your head in the sand, other teams are improving their products and making money from them. Do you know that the same thing happened with Google when they introduced Google Wave in 2010? Then no one understood what it was and how it should work. Google did not realize its mistake and after two years the program was closed.

What Are User Interviews and When to Use Them?

user experience interview

User interview is a qualitative research method in which the researcher asks the user a series of questions in order to determine his behavior, pain points, and motivation in his life. These interviews usually do not concern the whole life of a person, but a specific part of it. For example, a researcher might be interested in learning about a user's experience when they go shopping, to the gym, planning a weekend, traveling, etc.

User experience interviews can be conducted throughout the design process. However, they are often done early in the research phase to help create a keen understanding of who your users are, which usually translates into user identities and travel maps. Moreover, they can be performed after the usability test so that the researcher can get a deeper understanding of the user behavior/actions taken during the test.

Why do we need a user interview?

As I said earlier, user interviews are one of the main elements of the research process. This means that there is practically no escape from their holding. Although now that I think about it, you shouldn't even shy away from interviews, silly fools. That's why:

  • User interviews are one of the best ways to learn about the people your product serves because all interviews are dedicated to them, which allows you to better understand their lives.
  • They can give you a human emotional reason why a user is interested or not engaged in your product.
  • Chatting with users is a huge bonus when it comes to empathy because the human connection is so strong buddy.

When will user interviews be conducted?

User interviews can be completed in a variety of situations:

  • Before starting the design, collect user portraits, usage procedures, and scenes through user interviews;
  • By observing and supplementing the user's use of the product, experience process, and use obstacles (interruptions), to enrich the situational investigation, and at the same time obtain more users' awareness of the product;
  • At the end of the usability test, observe the user's behavior and habits, and collect user feedback;

User Interviews: Planning and Preparation

Prepare questions before the interview

Although you may think of questions while sitting with users, be sure to bring the list of questions you intend to return to the interview.

The list of user interview questions ensures that you:

  • Be able to get feedback from your team on the problem before the interview;
  • Remember everything you want to know, and ask users as many questions around the topic as possible during the interview;
  • Have a clearer mind and guide the direction of this interview more clearly;
  • You can overcome stress or fatigue with a list of questions in your hand.

Write user interview questions that boost conversation

In each question, only one thing is required. Use: "How often do you use the navigation system?" Then follow up with "Which are you using?" instead of "You are using a navigation system, and if so, which?" Inspire memories by asking about specific events rather than general processes. Recalling events will stimulate users' memories and enable them to tell clear events.

Create/ prepare as comprehensive questions as possible

Some interviewees like to talk and can give long and comprehensive answers to questions. Others need to prompt in the form of follow-up questions to convey the same quantity and quality of information. Prepare as comprehensive a problem as possible to solve the two situations you may encounter.

Take user interviews seriously

As you can see, getting to know users better can be both useful and pleasant (despite the serious subtitle). You communicate with your potential clients, find out their opinions and compose them into one picture.

When you figure out what's what: is the market ready for your product, do people have problems that you want to solve with your product, you can start developing and create any commercial product.

Be prepared for criticism

This is what user interviews are for: to see the real state of affairs in the market and get to know the real target audience if any. Researching your users and their needs can save you a lot of time and money, and most importantly, help make your product a little better and sell it better.

How to Conduct the User Interview?

user Interview

1. Set the goals of the interview

This may sound obvious, but it is extremely important. Before you start writing your interview script, list the objectives of the interview. Don't start writing questions right now. Why do you ask? This will save you from unnecessary questions. In general, setting goals is a great way to stay on track, but when it comes to getting the information you want from users, make sure those goals are written down. I suggest writing them at the beginning of the interview script so that they are always visible.

The interview should have a well-defined topic or question that you want to understand and study by talking to and listening to people. However, do not limit yourself to a specific list of questions. As a UX designer, it is important for me to understand the purpose of the interview and what I want to get from it. So I prepare just a few basic questions that I will help you in conducting a user interview.

Here's a quick example of how open-ended and closed-ended questions can affect the quality of your interview:

Q: Do you like using the app?

Ans: Yes

Q: Do you often go to the cinema?

Ans: Not

2. Be neutral - Don't be bias

In fact, do not try to speak the interlocutor's words and throw your assumptions in the bin. A very common mistake in user interviews is researcher bias. One particularly embarrassing mistake that researchers make is asking "leading questions." This is a common mistake that interviewers from all walks of life can make. A script with a leading interviewer's question looks like this:

User: "It's really hard for me to go to the store because I don't have much time right now. Children, work, study, housework ... It takes too much time to go to the grocery store.

Interviewer: " This should upset you terribly, right? "

User: " Yes, I guess so."

It may seem harmless to assume that not having time to buy groceries can upset someone. It's kind of obvious, right? However, as a researcher, you must remain completely objective. If you want to know what the user thinks about making purchases difficult for him, ask: "How is this for you?" Don't assume their feelings for them. They may not describe their feelings the way you think they are.

3. Make your user comfortable

The last thing you want is to make the interview awkward. If your interviewee feels uncomfortable during the interview, the likelihood that you will receive quality information from him will be significantly reduced. Here are some tips on how to organize a comfortable interview:

  • Give them a chance to talk about themselves to relax. Create a safe conversation environment.
  • Try to pay attention to the user, not take notes.
  • You must use a voice recorder during the interview (with their permission).
  • Give the interviewee time to respond. It's okay to take the silence for a moment to let them think.

4. Be prepared to answer their questions

Follow-up questions are a great tool to gain a deeper understanding of the user's thoughts. Never forget to do them where possible, so you can get more interesting interviews. In most cases, follow-up questions should be used, but there are some scenarios in which they need to be used to get the information you need. Some of these scenarios are:

  • When the user gives short answers
  • When the user says something that hints at a possible understanding
  • When the user seems to be moving away from the topic - an additional question can help him to get back)

5. Be a human, not a machine of questions

It may seem strange, but I think it is necessary to raise this issue. Relaxing is so important as an interviewer. Your energy can easily affect what the interviewee's energy will be. So, here are two very simple tips on how to be or portray a relaxed professional person:

  • Tell the user that you are listening to their responses.
  • Do not read the questions continuously to the user like robots, wait for his answer and then go straight to the next question.
  • Track them down, or at least give them a polite word guide that you want to move on to the next topic/question.

Analysis of the User Interview

After the interview, analyze all the data, summarize the results and make recommendations to the project. Depending on the needs and goals. The summarization of your findings and the recommendations you provide are more valuable than the material you create. Most people are not interested in reading your notes or listening to your notes.


User interviews are incredibly important during the product research / digital design phase and are therefore an integral part of the overall design process. They are perfect for bringing emotion to the product you are developing and truly enable you to understand people beyond data. However, you must remember that the interview must be conducted according to the correct rules so that you do not risk bias or missing out on valuable information.