Evaluative User Interview: Fundamentals for Conducting the Interview | Christine Johnson | Skillshare

Evaluative User Interview: Fundamentals for Conducting the Interview

Christine Johnson, UX Designer

Evaluative User Interview: Fundamentals for Conducting the Interview

Christine Johnson, UX Designer

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7 Lessons (18m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Recruiting Participants

    • 3. Creating the Interview Structure

    • 4. Creating Unbiased Interview Questions

    • 5. Generative Research Techniques

    • 6. Tips and Tricks for Conducting an Interview

    • 7. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

In this class you'll learn the fundamentals of evaluative research interviews, you'll create an unbiased interview guide for future interviews, and you'll learn the basics of conducting a successful user interview with some tips and activities.

As a student, you’ll create an interview guide which can be used as a foundation for high level, evaluative research interviews in the future. This class is geared toward anyone looking to jump start or grow their interviewing techniques and skills. No prior knowledge is required.

Meet Your Teacher

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Christine Johnson

UX Designer


I'm Christine, a hybrid designer with expertise in interaction design, product design, and visual design for digital and print. Currently living in Los Angeles!


I take on every design problem with a human-centered approach. Through design thinking, I put the human at the center of the design. I'm also highly analytical, weighing both the business and user perspective of any service or interaction problem presented. I bring a highly innovative, creative and justified thinking and style to all my projects. As a designer, I collaborate with cross discipline teams to conduct design research including secondary, competitive, market trends, interviews and field research to then analyze and produce insights from observations and data. I've been in the design community... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, My name is Christine. I'm aux And you I designer. And in this class, we're gonna learn the fundamentals of user interviews. We'll start by learning how to create an unbiased interview guy. Your user interviews. This guy could be used as a foundation for interviews you can conduct in the future and will help you stay focused during your user interviews. You'll also learn the fundamentals of conducting a successful user interview all sure tips and tricks that help you ease through an interview and get the most valuable information from the participants. This class is really for anyone that's interested in growing their interviewing techniques and skills, so let's get started. 2. Recruiting Participants: I think this first lesson. I want to discuss the steps needed before actually creating the interview guide and conducting that interview, which is finding participants. This step is crucial because you can't conduct an interview without an interview. Eat. There are many ways to find participants, and there's really no right or wrong way to do this. The idea is to get as many people as you can to interview as long as they meet your needs. You may feel a little uncomfortable at first. Reaching out whether it's cool calling are asking a friend. But this is a necessary step in finding people to interview, and the more data and insights, the better what you want to do. First, you find the right either to interview. If you're looking to find participants that are outside of your network, you may need to set up a screener survey. This survey will help you narrow down the participants. You want to talk Teoh. It will help get interviews set up. I like to use Surveymonkey when setting up screeners. This tool is flexible. It allows you to build surveys with multiple choice, fill in the blank and drinking another nice feature is the ability to create logic jumps between questions to help tease out participants. That may not be a good fit. Some other great options are Google forms, Zo Ho Survey and Tight for they all offer a free version, which is obviously very nice. It's often helpful to have an incentive for participation, such as an Amazon gift card or something similar. If an incentive is not available for their participation, highlighting the value of their input and their ability to shape the future is definitely key. They want to make sure that it's worth their time and they want to have an impact. A great place supposed to screen or survey will be on your own platforms like Facebook, Twitter or lengthen. Another re option is actually Craigslist. For a wider reach, simply post a generic add that will likely attract a large audience and linked to your screener survey, which will that help narrow down those results? For some, this screener survey step might not be necessary. For example, if you work for a company with an internal database of customers, you'll likely find your ideal user as part of that network, and you can simply email them directly and ask they'd be willing to participate in a quick interview, whether that's for an incentive or for just future impact of that product, your tool. Now that we've covered the basics of the screener survey and recruiting participants, next lesson we'll learn how to create the interview guides structure. 3. Creating the Interview Structure: Let's jump into building out the interview Temple structure. This step is important because it helps keep you focused while creating interview questions . This interview structure can also be a great starting point for Interview Guide in the Future to begin, let's start with a basic structure for the interview guide. I like to build this out in Google Dogs, so it's easy to access from any device wherever I need it. It's also super easy shares you can share with other interviewers or the interviewee. After the interview, some participants actually want see your notes. The way that worked for me time and time again is to structure your document with five sections. Introduction of yourself, introduction of participants, general high level questions, specific questions regarding the topic and a blue sky closing. So first you should begin within intro to yourself, other interviewers and the overall project in the goals. This helps the participant feel more comfortable and gave the better understanding of where their answers will be used in the future. This also lots with the participant to ask any questions they may have before the interview begins. All in hopes of the participant is relaxed and trust you here, you'll be able to ask the participant for their permission to record the session as well. Next open of the conversation with general questions about them in their background or rule . Really try and get an understanding of the space their in in their background. This will help you begin to ask follow up questions during the interview. Also a great way for the participant to start to open up and discuss the topic there Really familiar with himself. It will help them get into a flow of talking to you and expanding on details. Third pretty section with general high level questions regarding the industry or topic. These questions will help you get a really good understanding of their world and how your specific topic fits in their day today. Fourth Create section contains specific questions regarding the topic of discussion. So what do you want to learn from their participants? What questions you answered. This is where the meat of the interview live. So it's great to have at least 10 to 20 questions prepared, and we're gonna get into this in the next lesson. You can include questions you may have discovered during the research of the topic, or you may just need an open discussion to learn more. It depends on the topic that you're interviewing about and what data you want to get from the interview. Lastly, I love closing out the interview with the Blue Sky question, especially if the interviews a little tougher where the participant discusses pain points or concerns around the topic. These questions often leave the participant feeling a little drained or maybe frustrated. So ending on a future focused question will help the participant feel energized and hopeful . Now that we have the structure of the interview guides set up next lesson, we learn how to create the actual interview questions. 4. Creating Unbiased Interview Questions: Now we're going to build out this interview, guide the skills you learned in this lesson or important, because it will help you stay unbiased and get the most out of your interviews. These questions will be used to help semi structure of the interview and aren't necessarily made to conduct a rigid interview without divergence. There's simply a guide to help you through an interview, but overall, you want to have a conversation with the participant. So think of these questions as great conversation starters for voice recording tools. I've had great experience with just a simple force. A quitter app on my iPhone have use voice memos, which is free in the APP store, and I simply place it right by the participant if it's an in person interview or even directly next to my computers, bigger for online calls. Another, more robust option is one note on your desktop. I found success in one no, especially if you're working on the project with a team. It's super great for a collaboration. Also, a nice little feature included is direct linking from the notes you take during the interview to the actual recording. This way, you can search your notes and find specific parts of that audio for gathering quotes. Or, if you just need help, refreshing your memory of the interview. So let's start running. These questions for the introduction section include your name, title or role in a brief description of the project. I also like to emphasize how much I appreciate their time and expertise in the area. Here's an example. Andrew. You could follow Hello, Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today. My name is Christine, and I'm a user experience designer at school share. My primary role is to conduct user interviews and gather feedback for this current project . We're trying to discover the most used features on the skill share website and really try and understand from platform users like you why they're important. This way we can take that valuable few back and enhance the future set on our tools for you . Do you have any questions before we begin for the introduction of the participants section , ask questions around their background, role company or anything you might find relevant for your topic. For example, you should lead with Tell me a little bit about yourself in your role at this company. Try and kind of get them comfortable and energized to talk for the General High level Question section aimed to ask questions that are surrounding the topic or industry. For example, if we use the skill share example, you could ask questions similar to describe. Are you currently use the skill share tool or something like Walk me through how skill share fits into your role. This way you'll get an understanding of how they're using the tool in general and where your specific topic of interest may fit in. Now for the specific topic Question section, let's talk about how to build unbiased questions without leading the participants. You want to make sure when building out your interview questions that you're framing them as open ended questions without bias. For example, try to avoid starting your conversation with do you or can you? Because these questions will be answered in a yes or no. This leads to answers that are short with virtually no rich description. For example, if you ask, do you use the share functionality on the skill share videos? They may answer with just yes and not elaborate. Instead, try leading with. Describe how you use the share functionality or explain how you use the share functionality . This should open up the conversation, and they should be able to answer with more than a simple yes or no. For another example, try crafting your questions in a way that will allow for elaboration and storytelling. For example, if you're trying to figure out if sharing a video is an important feature on the website without questioning the functionality directly, ask the participant a question that allows them to tell you a story about their interactions. Something like Walk me through how you interact with the videos. Often, these types of questions will lead to stories or examples with emotional motivators, so you can get to the actual truth about how and why they're interacting with the videos. Lastly, avoiding bias is extremely important. Everyone has preconceived ideas of what users may think or do, but try not to steer the participant into an answer you want to hear. The purpose of the interview is to listen and learn about their experiences and understand their perspective not to prove your assumptions are right. It's not intended to collect evidence or build a case from an idea or solution you may have about the topic, so staying neutral is super important. An example of a biased question might be something like this. Why do you enjoy using the share functionality on the videos? This makes the protest mint feel like they should enjoy using it, and this could see the participant down a slightly untruthful path because they think that's what you want to hear. Also, be sure to not correct participants, even if they answer the question wrong. For example, if you asked describe how you use the share functionality on the video and they proceed to tell you there isn't a share button dig into why they think there isn't one. Don't tell them there is, in fact, that functionality. You can gain some really interesting perspective from someone who doesn't even know that fisheries is. Lastly, wrap up the interview with a blue sky question. Thes questions could be fun and future focused. I like to ask her questions similar to this. If the sky was the limit, what would you want to see happen with the skill share website in the future? Or maybe all restrictions aside, what would make the skill share website absolutely perfect for you. The answers air fun and often have great insights. This will likely leave the participant feeling happy and helpful. Once you have a set of questions you're happy with. I like to bold around 5 to 10 questions, depending on how many you have total that you want to ask all participants in your interviews. This helps with consistency of data across your research and also helps you stay focused and on track. During the interview, I always put my questions for the interviews this way. I'm off my computer, fully present in the interview, and I could write my notes from the interview directly on those questions. Nice work you've created your interview questions. Next listen, we're going to discuss some generative research techniques that could be used during your interview. 5. Generative Research Techniques: Let's talk about some useful generative research techniques, you can try your next interview. The questions we created previously in the interview Guy can help get great insights through conversation with the participant, and these techniques will help the participant get past the cognitive filters and can bring out the deeper levels of human experience. You can often get a different perspective from the interviewee as well. It could be a great technique for participants that may be struggling to open up. Let's go over three different generative research techniques. You could try in a user interview first. You could have them do a simple ranking, have them bring certain items from a list, then asked them to discuss why they think the items as they did. One option to consider when having a participant rank items could be to instruct them to rink from level of importance. For example, iRobot several features from the Skill share website on these papers, and I'll ask the participant to rank them from most important to least important, then explain why this is useful for highlighting most used features or items in a product. The second technique example is to build out a quick user journey. You can have the participant draw out their user journey on a white board or a piece of paper. For example, you could ask the participant to write out the path they take to find and learn from a skill share video on the tool. Once they've drawn out their path, you can ask them to discuss each point and why is significant to them in their journey. The last option you can try is a card sort. You will give the participant a set of cards, each labelled with piece of content or functionality. For his able, you could write all of the different pages on the current skill share website on individual pieces of paper. The goal may be to reorganize the navigation for a more user friendly approach, then ask the participant to sort those cards into groups that make sense to them. This is often useful in discovering the way participants create patterns and groupings for Web design or product identification. Generative research techniques air super useful and successful with in person interviews, but could still be orchestrated with online interviews. You can utilize interactive tools like envision or mural for digital collaboration with the participant in these tools, they can move virtual sticky notes around and still rank, draw out those user journeys and organize the card sort. Now that we've discussed some generative research techniques for your interview, consider adding some to your interview guide. Then post your guide to the Project Gallery so we can see the final results of your project . Join me in the next video lesson, where we'll cover a few fundamentals for conducting the actual interview. 6. Tips and Tricks for Conducting an Interview: Let's jump into discussing the fundamentals of conducting an interview skills you will learn this lesson are focused around how to successfully run in conducting these. Your interview. These skills are important because you want to make sure you're interviewing. Techniques are getting the best results, so let's talk through six fundamentals. First, make sure if you're working on team that you've decided the rules of each person. Try not to exceed three people in the room because the participant might feel overwhelmed. So assign a lead interviewer and a note taker. The lead interviewer should be paying full attention to the participant, and the note taker should remain quiet and take notes. I usually allow for a few minutes of end of the interview for the note taker to ask follow up questions. Keeping this format helps the participant feel like they're having a conversation with just you versus being passed around between people. The second fundamental show appreciation. I always make sure to be respectful of their time and assure them that they're the experts throughout the interview. This helps them feel valued and confident and in turn, building mutual respect might open up the opportunity to talk with them again in the future . For the third, be sure to only talk 10% of time and listen. 90% of time. Silences can lead to insights. And if you allow there to be pauses and this can feel super awkward, sometimes they make you talking and provide greater detail. This is their time to shine, so make sure to keep the focus on them and really listen in. The fourth fundamental piece of conducting an interview is to use the five wise technique. This is a great design research technique to really dive into the root causes of problems and can eliminate the casual elements that created the problem. This creates great insights into underlying issues. You can simply ask why or why is that several times until you determine the route costs? Fifth, being neutral. Try to remain neutral without assumptions throughout the interview. Even if the interviewee maybe wrong. It's still there experience, and it's still very relevant. Sometimes there's more to be said about something they overlooked or misinterpreted. Lastly, half on and be curious you both maybe a little nervous, so relaxing. Having confidence in a proper amount of curiosity is a great Foundation for having a very insightful interview. And remember, try to have a natural conversation and flow with the participant. Nice work. You now know some of the basics of conducting an interview. You're all set to conduct one of your own. Don't forget to post your interview guide in the Project Gallery. Thanks so much. 7. Final Thoughts: congrats. You don't have the skills to create an interview guide and conduct an interview. The best way to use these skills is to jump in with a real topic and a real participant and just start interviewing. If you have any questions or wanna learn more about interviewing techniques or activities, please feel free to post in this thread. Thank you so much for taking this class. I look forward to seeing your interview guides.