Talking to Strangers: An Introduction to User Interviews | Jason Yuan | Skillshare

Talking to Strangers: An Introduction to User Interviews

Jason Yuan, Designer

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
10 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Interviews in Context

    • 3. Finding Participants

    • 4. Assembling a Team

    • 5. Writing a Script

    • 6. The Big Day

    • 7. Taking Notes

    • 8. Shaping the Conversation

    • 9. Class Project

    • 10. Finale


About This Class

Design is nothing without the user, and the best way to find out what the user wants is to talk to them face-to-face.

In this class, we will cover everything you need to get started with conducting user interviews to collect valuable qualitative data that will help you humanize your designs. You’ll learn how to write a script...and how/when to veer off the script. You’ll learn how to listen to the user’s stories, and how to respond on the fly to a constantly adapting conversation. We will also discuss how to make your interview an inclusive and ethical experience so that your data represents the diversity of your users. I will also share some tips and tricks that I picked up during my time as an actor on how to (gasp) talk to strangers!

This class is intended for designers of all levels who are looking to inject their process with a healthy dose of empathy—all you will need is something to write on and something to write with!


1. Introduction: Hello, I am I am a graphic and user experience designer. Her live in a province where 10 risky and practice that I was in Northwestern University studying here and also industrial design. Along the way, I was able to put all my skills to use in becoming a product and user experience designer. He might know me actually from my music, a study that conducted last year, which led me on this really strange journey that ultimately ended up with an energy ball from Apple for US design, which just exciting. But the most important take away from that time experience is the importance of conducting great user research. In fact, my case study took three months to complete. Two of those months were spent on user research, specifically semi formal user interviews. Or, as I like to call them, conversations with strangers. And I don't It's really scary, so intimidating Strangers are predictable, right? But it's so important, and it can be a really great tool in your arsenal as a designer to learn how to connect and empathize with people you don't know to really understand that one of you know where they're coming from, so that you really designing products for the people, for they use their hands user experience design. So in this course we will be covering the basics of getting started with conducting semi formal user interviews. We will talk about everything from planning your interview to the day of the interview, how to ask questions, kind of questions you might want to avoid. How about a scripts? How to veer off this script situation calls for it. How to make your interview very uncomfortable, ethical, inclusive experience that will really help your design reflects the diversity of our community. And along the way I will also be sharing some tips and tricks. I learned as an actor in theater on commenting with stranger sent really learning to emphasize. So anyone interested in learning about talking to people, whether you're novices on your or your my Kobe room, but obviously helpful for any perfection, even mind that you know I was student myself. I'm also learning, and so I look forward to learning from each other and look forward to supporting you guys in discussion section. We will also be Working Class Project, which is putting together a very basic outline script on a mock interview that might conduct with friends. So without further ado, let's jump right 2. Interviews in Context: A lot of people seem to think that interviews are this sort of really structured. Washington answered questions, answers for thing on, Those are what we consider for more interviews. They have their place in user experience design. But I'm here to talk to you about semi formal user interviews because I feel like those concerning to conversations, conversations yield valuable insights that you might have missed. And let's face it like as much as we like to predict everything, we can't my formal interviews embrace the unpredictable nature of human beings so that your design is prepared for the unpredictable nature of human beings. Now I'd like to think of user experience design as delivering someone a present. So let's say you're putting together a presentation for your mom. What you probably would not do is send her a surveymonkey, you or a Google form being like, What would you like for your, you know, because you know your mom, you know what she likes were able Teoh put together a really thoughtful present, and when she opens that president Christmas Day, she's like, Oh my God and have the best child in the whole world in a way better than I know myself, and that's what you want to use it and feel like you want the user if you like. You know them better than they know themselves. That's where the phrase designed something that a user doesn't even know they want yet from . I think user interviews, especially semi formal ones, are a great way to get started into getting to know your user basically very intimate. 1 to 1 level on for these dem informal, semi structured using interviews. They can really fit anywhere in your design process. So at the beginning of a design process, you might use user interviews to really help narrow down the scope of your project. Really help Find out what kind of questions that you want to be asking as a designer. What kind of questions you want to be answering as designer Get a sense of perspective where your box should be headed were. Whether there needs to be at all is something that we should consider and before it could help you construct user personas journey mass. All those great things that we need as party insiders to help guide our journey during our design. Let's Aidan wire framing, idee ating prototyping. You should also be conducting user interviews to figure out we're going in the right direction. We're not so that we can turn around before things get too late. Too much money. And now, after your party has launched, you want to continue doing user interviews so that you can make sure your product this up to date on the user's expectations. In fact, we want to make sure your products leading the wake your product is raising to use his expectations to be leading the charge. So to summarize, it really should be conducting user interviews throughout your entire design process. 3. Finding Participants: So right now you're probably wondering, Jason all sounds amazing, But how can I get started? It's actually pretty easy, eh? So the first thing you want to do is figure out exactly what it is they want to take away. So that really depends on where you are. Your design process. Maybe you're just trying to figure out what you're trying to create. What kind of problems? Trying to solve. A question to ask. Maybe you're already for their long and you want to show people what you already have. After deciding on what you want to take away from the interview. It's time to find your interviewees. I typically start was just 5 to 10. If I'm by myself because I really want to have deep conversations, I'd like to get to know the person you can make. Facebook ads. Twitter ads Use Craigslist. If you're smart. Another thing you might want to do if you're already further along, is reached out to existing heavy users of your product and say, Hey, we notice that you use our product a lot. We'd like to bring him in for an interview with that. Be okay if your app is already watched. You could also do some interviews with people that have maybe use your app in the past and maybe have described or have left your app to figure out what exactly went wrong there. How to make it better, I feel like to do is I just like to go into coffee shops or public gatherings. Nightclubs are probably not appropriate, and I just like to meet new people and say, Hey, I noticed using Spotify. I'm trying to design a new music's experience, can talk to you, and I find that people more often are likely to be receptive because people like talking about themselves myself. You can start the conversation in an informal place in a coffee shop and say, Hey, here's a business car. Kim, we circle back to do a more sound formal interview. The most important part in this entire process is making sure that your sample cool is representative of the diversity of the world that we live in. This is why you don't want just any of your friends or your family were the person that store you really want. O made attempts to cast a wide net. Okay. You want to be able to include people of different races religions, ethnicities, political views, ages, sexes, genders as much as possible because the more inclusive your interview process is, the more inclusive your ultimate product will be. 4. Assembling a Team: So now that you decided what you want to take away and you've gathered your participants, you want to build your dream team. We're not gonna be the Avengers. Not that cool. You want to bring along a friend or coworker to take notes, because I noticed that when I'm having a conversation with someone, I tend to get carried away with conversation. And then I forget the vignettes, which is really bad because you want to report everything. So once you have all of the above, you want to set up meeting times and space. A studio such as this might not be the most appropriate because you want the interview feel at home and he's comfortable, right? So you want to be in It is somewhat natural environment by natural. I don't mean like you want to go on a hike for just somewhere that thing feel comfortable and at ease. So although no figure out what you want to take away from the interview, build your pool participants, pick a time in space and find 18. After you finish that, you are ready to write your script 5. Writing a Script: So you ready for your script? This is very different from the theater where film script in that you wanted to be able to veer off the script because you want to be able to have an honest conversation. You want to have a very tightly scripted introduction of who you are. Your partner is what your goal is for the interview, and what the participant and expect from the interview in this section makes sure emphasized that the participant cannot make any mistakes. It's not examination. You're just trying to have a conversation. Make sure to remind yourself in the script to ask your interview if they need anything for beginning. And if you have any questions. Second half, make sure you list some short questions to help guide the flow of interview now goes out saying, Don't ask anything too personal. Don't ask leading questions. The elections are questions that suggest an answer or a set of answers. For example, a leading question might be do like Spotify, and there's really only two answers, so you don't want to ask that you want to ask instead, actually is taking a step back and say what I want to find out by asking. Someone likes my product work. If someone like Spotify, What I really don't understand is their feelings towards music streaming. So instead I might face the question asked, How do you feel about music streaming house If you love music? What role this music playing in your life, something that we should keep in mind is that a really great question can get a story out of someone. So generally the rule of thumb is to keep your questions as open as possible of Web leading questions at all costs. Avoid questions. Have a yes or no, a sort of a binary component to it. Leave room in rescript interview to ask questions. That pop up acid interview goes on because you don't want to limit your interview just once on your script, you want to be able to expand on certain subjects that pop up better than questions. I would write down specific talking point so that you can make sure you cover all the points in your interview, but not necessarily feel the need to phrase them. Ask Britain after the questions. Make sure you ask views you need anything if you know where to contact you and all that as an overview in your production. You want talk about you? Are you do 27 interview and certain things that will reassure E and it question section keep things. Is bullet pointed as open as possible Finally, and the conversation on a good note and just leave people away to follow up with you. And yeah, you pretty much having a script right there. Just keep it short like you're busy, mate. 6. The Big Day: you have a participant, you have your team, you have a script, you're ready for the big day. So on a day off, keep these thoughts in mind as you approach in interview room one on time. It's late, Early is on time. So you wanna always survive before your spent so that you can seeing, prepare and even better, actually prepared. Maybe set the scene for a really nice casual conversation with a friend. As faras interview tire goes, I always just like to keep things a little casual but still clean. Don't want anything to awkward or extra because my distract from the interview itself. So actually, I'm just I'm just gonna remove this Jack have here because as much as I love it not entirely appropriate for an interview because you want the user or your participant to feel like their star, you want them to feel like you have all of your attention that they shine, starting to show that spotlight, you know, you want them to feel special, right, and you can make someone feel special that you will trust you more. Make sure you have everything from the script. Teoh some stacks of paper If you're interviewing, needs to write down something, you can be prepared even if they're not on now, all we have to do is wait for them to arrive. Well, once they do arrive, make sure, you know, shake their hand, introduce yourself and invite them to where interview will take place. 7. Taking Notes: there are several ways to document during an interview. As you might know, some people choose to use audio and video recording. I typically stay away from using these recording devices, but don't let that distract you if you want to. That helps you do it. Just make sure that you are informing the persistent beforehand that you are receiving the written and verbal consent, and that they know that information is only going to be used for the purpose of the interview and only going to be sharing Munster team. I do not like taking notes on my laptop. This is not just because I get distracted by Facebook. I do. This is also because I've noticed that you're typing something on your movies, trying to talk to you. It can feel like you're blocking off the connection, right? With this metal thing in the middle there focusing on your screen, you're focusing on transcribing. You're not really paying attention to what you're saying. This is especially important. If you're by yourself, it's less of an issue. Have a partner helping you if you're on your own. I highly suggest using some sort of writing utensil so that you can keep your eye on the interviewee so that they will feel more compelled, more engaged. I actually like to use cash, noting or doodling. There's a really great Ted talk by Sonny Brown. I will listen only for that below. Please check it out. The advantage to sketch, noting over just transcribing everything is you have more agency over the page, you can formulate different pathways from the talking points. You could really have a visual map of everything that you're doing instead of just a list of questions and answers, right? Just make sure that you're doing it in a way that does not distract from a conversation that does not break the intimacy and connection have with the interview. 8. Shaping the Conversation: now get fun. Okay, this is shaping the conversation You asked. Interviewer, hold a certain level of power that you might not be aware off. We're gonna do a few things to help flip that power dynamic, because really, you want the interview to be the center of attention? Everything. Once you don't, you're not you. I have here five general guidelines to ensure really great interview and conversation experience. The 1st 1 is to pay attention. A lot of people seem to think that an interview is like a lecture that is wrong. Very your teacher, you gotta like, sit down, listens. You gotta let them talk, okay? And when you're paying attention of listening, you want to be able to look them in the eye as much as possible. I know it can get really hard. I find it difficult to because it's playing vulnerable to look at someone. So good trick that I learned from Theatre is to let's say this is there. I'll look just a little bit above that, okay? Or just little bit, Bilbo. Actually, it looks like you're talking to them and looking at them in the eye. But really, you can vote on another aspect. Just make sure that your face is pointing towards their face so that they know you're interested in paying attention. Quite Number two is that tangent? Amazing. We love tensions. As you're listening intently to the interview, read stories they might start to talk about something else. Now, your natural instinct kicking back, I would have asked, Noticed in weight. And just listen to what they have to say first, because sometimes 10 just lead to somewhere unexpected and unexpected is great. I have found that abuse tangents inside conversations, leaving to consider things I never even thought about the decider. You know, I want to be open to these new experiences in these new stories so that I can incorporate all of these unexpected findings into my design. If you're open to the unexpected, you can design for the unexpected. You know what? Even pull up on the tensions. Say hey, that was really interesting what you just said. Can you tell me more about that? This leaves onto our third point. Do not ask Why ask instead, can you tell me more now? I've heard a lot of people say, Oh, yeah. Interview. Always ask Why? Why? Why? Why? While that makes logical sense. Unfortunately, US human means we are not logical creatures. We are very emotional. Weaken, beautiful. So and were asked why immediately? You know only God I have to justify this. We get defensive. Oh, it's just I do something wrong. So if you ask someone why they might feel like they're doing something wrong But actually you're just curious on, you know, the reason behind whether doing so asking why I would rephrase that ass. I notice that you just did where you just said this. Could you tell me more about that? And I don't know, I just even though I have all apple products, I just don't like apple music. I just don't like outwards. It's too like ecstatic. Can you tell me more about static? I don't know. Every time you use it, I feel like I don't understand how to use it that well, and it just seems like it takes more time to do the same thing on Apple music that it doesn't spot. I find that that's just a friendly were more open and way to phrase the question. So you learn their motivation behind doing so. So perhaps you can even designed for that in the future. Now there's a really great phrase that I want. You remember It's Show me. So let's say a user is talking about how they listen to the radio. They say, Oh, I go on my phone. I open this app That's not the most engaging way to conduct an interview or to have a conversation. In fact, well, we do as people as we like to show people things right show. Instead of tell keeping the show and tell mentality in mind, you might ask someone. Hey, could you show me how you did that? Or can you show me how you achieve this with our app? Or can you show me how you do this right now on Spotify radio, it starts off with, like the artist that you choose to show me. So oh, I just got a radio down here. It's really easy. And then you press this button on the top, right with the plus sign, and then you search who you always joking. I'm just going to mix Minsky and then you press the artist again, and then it's just like this radio with, Well, first place, like the person that you chose. And then it's just a bunch of people that have, like, the same guy was, um um um the only thing I would say is that, like, I don't know sometimes the radios that limit of me like a limit of songs that legal and I wish there were more salt or like the daily mixes again, like those feel socialism. The simple question of essence I want to show you something can help you observe how users actually use your app in real time. Finally, you want to make sure that you're considering the physicality of your interview us. Well, I noticed that a lot of people are just very concerned with what you're saying, and that's a very valid. But I think there's also this other dimension of how they have a look. We're having room when they're talking about something, or thinking about something that really tell you a lot of how they are feeling on. That's really big aspect of, and he is learning to internalize their movements. What is there joy where their pain so that we're able to channel that into our designs basically just keep an eye out for any physical changes, any itchiness, expressions or gestures that might indicate something of interest so you can follow. Hey, I noticed that you grimaced when you talked about this, and what's really great about that is it shows that you're paying attention. So those are just some tips on having shape of conversation to ensure the optimal interview experience for both parties. Number one make sure you're paying attention and not talking over anyone but listening to the stories really absorbing them. If you find it hard again to look at them in the I love just about just about, just make sure your faces pointed tours than face in some way most of the time. Number two. If someone goes attention, that's amazing about them going attention. In fact, I would even continue on that tensions and see where the conversation goes, because you never know Number three. Avoid asking why and instead ask someone to tell you more so that people are less defensive and more open and more are missed. Number four. Whenever possible, ask the participant to show you what they're talking about so that you can both be engaged , and this way you might learn a little more about how they feel about a certain aspect of a product as they are using it. And finally, do not forget about physical cues so that you can really get a whole picture, a really great way to practice the tips and trips above it. So just go play with your friends. Not that kind. Just throw play in a sense that one of you place the interviewer, one of you plays the interview e perhaps for a product you might formula elicit personas. That interview you can embody and take twins embodying different personas to be hot, stated or interviewed in this when you get a sense of both what it feels like to be an interview and also what it feels like to be interviewed. So you know what kind of questions you like being asked a lot of questions you don't like being asked by taking this part of The interviewee really loved to empathize with the person on the other side of the table to help you conduct better interviews and hopefully become a better designer. If you do this role playing exercise, I'd love to hear what you think in a discussion below. It's also a way to get into acting, if you might be interested in that. 9. Class Project: So for a class project we're actually gonna be working on in the script, that should be pretty for 12 pages, Like resonating for more information on how to compose a script and what kind of questions to ask in it. You always look at classes above. I just really looking forward to reading your outlines and giving you be back in the class product section below, so make sure you upload them and I will get back to you with be back as soon as possible. 10. Finale: So you've reached the end of the course. But know that this is really only the beginning because there's so much left for all of us to learn. And indeed, I am still learning. Teoh, I'm by no means the master with the expert on this subject. I'm just here to sort of guide you. Beginning of this journey and give me some resource is that you can use to help himself become a better interviewer and designer before we end. I just like to conclude with falling take away. Interviews are a way to show that you care about someone. It shows that you're listening to them listen to what they want. Listen to what they need. You're paying attention to the stories you're caring about them. And in that sense, what you're designing will also take care of these people you're designing will be humanized. It will be fueled by your empathy for the user from people that you interviewed. And that's really what excites me about design is design. It's just human being self problems for each other and helping each other out on just really should care for each other. You know, interviews are really, really great with start doing that. You find me here on skill share, make sure all my page and see any new continent. But follow me on Twitter, where I post traps I want to be helpful to DSM's work. The comments below make sure that you give our projects try. I'm sure on a hopeful And I'm very open to give me back. I'd love to give you some feedback on, but I would love to hear your feedback too. So please leave a comment below or send me a PM. You know, the reason why I'm teaching this course is I really want more more designers to start really, considering empathy in the user. Start caring for the and so I'm really excited and really happy that you're here on. I'm excited for what you will do for the future of design. So good luck. And I will always be here if you need me