User Interviews - How to Make the Most of Them | Max Brinckmann | Skillshare

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User Interviews - How to Make the Most of Them

teacher avatar Max Brinckmann, Researcher and Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      UX Snacks


    • 3.

      Collecing User Feedback


    • 4.

      Filtering User Feedback


    • 5.

      Evaluating User Feedback


    • 6.

      Presenting User Feedback


    • 7.

      My Feedback


    • 8.

      Your Class Project


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About This Class

Did you ever conduct user interviews? Is it maybe your daily business? At whichever stage you might be, this course will help you to get a solid foundation as well as helpful hints and tricks to master this discipline!

I think we can all agree on the purposefulness of user-centred design. The consequence of this is that you need to firmly understand your user's desires, pains, and feelings. User interviews as part of your user research are a great tool to provide evidence for informed decision making. Because you don't want to solve a problem that doesn't exist, do you?

During a user interview situation, it can be really challenging to find the right words and to not bias your interviewees. Throughout the years, I learned where you need to put your attention and when it's best to stay silent. Profit from my experience and bring yourself to the next level of your user research and make your website or app project a success!

In this course you will learn:

  • How to collect user feedback
  • How to filter user feedback
  • How to evaluate user feedback
  • How to present user feedback

I have spent many hours in the preparation and production of this course, and I really hope that you enjoy it and are able to make the most of it for your career and professional life!

About Max: I am a Senior UX Designer and User Researcher and I am a huge fan of believing in never stopping to learn. I want to share my knowledge with you and give back to the community that brought me to where I am now.

Music by Chillhop:
Birocratic - Tony's Belated Breakfast:

Meet Your Teacher

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Max Brinckmann

Researcher and Designer


Hello, my name is Max and I'm a Senior User Researcher and Digital Designer with more than ten years of professional experience. I love to write and to talk about UX related topics. Besides that, I am occasionally recording music.

Throughout my career, I was and still am privileged to work for many different clients from different industries like automotive, IT, food, healthcare, or life science. Having worked both for agencies and in-house, I am able to share from my broad set of knowledge that is based on successful projects of almost all possible places of action for UX and digital product design.



So far, my online learning material has helped over 60,000 students from around the globe an... See full profile

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1. Intro: How to make the most of your user interviews. Hello, my name is Max and I'm honored that you're interested in this course. I am a senior user research and user experience designer with ten years of professional experience. I worked in various industries and for a multitude of clients and that different user groups during that time, performing user interviews has always been one of my favorite ways of collecting direct user feedback. You get to know so many different people and directly talking to the users or potential users simply never lets you down when it comes to quality and depth of feedback detail. Throughout the years, I also understood the importance of effectively communicating the results of these user research efforts to teammates or to stakeholders. You can spend a lot of time performing your interviews. But if you are not able to effectively transport your results, you won't convince anyone it's key to make your work understandable and undeniable. This course is for everyone who's interested in user research and user experience design. For people who are just starting out in this field, or experienced professionals who want to polish their approach to use anti-abuse. In this course, you will learn hands-on techniques to collect insights, further insights, evaluate insights and present insights. You will learn to communicate your evaluation and create evidence as a basis for informed decision-making. So let's delve right in. 2. UX Snacks: Before I start creating these courses, I like to do a small exercise just for myself to get a better overview of what this topic offers and how it can be communicated. And I would go ahead and create these Instagram posts filled with cute blush illustrations and try to boil the entire topic down to maybe six or seven images. And this is just the absolute basic idea of the topic and that I like to call it social media, fast food or UX snacks. But I would like to start off this course by showing you the boiled down version of make the most of your user interviews just to give you a visual idea of what's the least thing you can expect. Well, of course this won't even be a fraction of the content that you can consume in this course here. Alright, so this is just a title. Let's go ahead three steps to master remote interviews. So for Instagram, I focused on remote interviews obviously because there's a high need as for the current circumstances, but in this course, I will definitely not limit the steps to only three. And that won't be solely about remote interviews. But I will give you advice on this situation as well. Collect. This is what you should do at the beginning right? Sides, stick to your questionnaire and don't let yourself be sucked into a conversation that you are no longer the leader of. Use collaborative writing tools for documentation? Yes, I will talk about this in a bit. Stay quiet and let them do the talking. This is so important and also helps when you're feeling a bit nervous, just stay quiet for a few seconds and see what your interview partner will do to break the silence. Then filter, go crazy with colors and highlight important bits. Well, maybe a bit exaggerated in order to fit to Instagram, but still true at the end, you need to understand your own research. Mark anti spots again to keep your overview, it is indeed a right to live out a question. If it's not one of your KPI questions or you feel that your interviewee won't provide you with any valuable information anyway. So summarize all answers of each question, which is quite obvious. As you need to work with your insights and boiling them down is an essential step in transforming transcriptions into usable data. And last but not least, evaluating, collect quotes because they make your data tangible, differentiate between shades of insight, relevance, so that you can prioritize and convincingly explain your results and boil down to a selection of insights to pick from. Because your stake holder will not be very happy if they cannot also play a part in the decision-making. And thanks for reading. So see how short that was. But it helps me to start off with the course. And it maybe helps interested folks on Instagram who just want to consume some UX snacks and hopefully help you as well to get an idea of what I will be covering in this course. This and a lot more. 3. Collecing User Feedback: The first thing to think about are two big questions. Who are your users? And which questions do you want to ask them? Maybe you're lucky and you already know who your users are. Maybe you're working on an already well established product, or there might be a marketing unit who wants to share some of their insights with you. But maybe you have absolutely no clue who your users are. And to understand who they are, you can do a few different things. You can perform persona creation sessions in order to summarize either made-up information and create fictional characters that you expect to be your users. This is what we call marketing personas. Or you can go more into the design thinking direction and talk to people and sum these parts together. And two personas that are based on actual research insights. And once you are clear about the profiles of your users, you should think about how to recruit interviewees. Try making a search on Google for user testing recruitment agencies. As there are highly specialized vendors available depending on the market you are recruiting for. And these vendors will provide you with very granular filters that you can set in order to define a group of tests candidates that you then pay the vendor. Four. Here, for example, is the website of one agency that does this. And as you can see, it's very straight forward. You simply specify the amount of users that you want to invite to your testing session. Then you pick the kind of test scenario that you want to have these users be recruited for. In our case, just say, we're doing interviews. And of course, we say remote because they're still a pandemic going on depending on when you watch this video, hopefully it will be over. Right now it's not so savory mode. Setup your order. And now we're starting to get into the filter area. And we will just provide a name here. Let's say sculpture. And select the number of tests you already did is we want to do an interview. So this is just the same that we just did. But now on this, on the next page, we can take from either the entire testing time public pool or our own pool, which is just a selection of these people within a personal profile. Then we're able to specify the range of age, the gender. We can specify the language skills, the country of residence. And my case it would be Germany because I'm located in Germany. And Device skills we can pick, for example, they should be able to handle a tablet, smartphone and a desktop computer. And when we say Next, we can add additional screening criteria. And this gets really granular because it also gets more expensive. But as you can see, it's at €5 per test user per question, but we can specify additional questions here. For example, I don't know. Do you like cats? And we can select, multi-select question type, single select three tags. Say yes or no. In our case, disqualify know would disqualify them, guess would qualify them. And then we would see for six participants, it would cost us €500. And we would only pay them if they appeared to the testing session. So after you're finished with your order, these people will hopefully show up at your Research Lab, offers or video conference. My personal experience with peace Vandals, however, is that you have to keep in mind a fairly high no-show rate. This means that a certain amount of these people well, eventually not appear at your appointment. Which is not only very disappointing, but also big waste of time. In my experience, it is always better to build up a network of interview candidates on your own and try to directly recruit them from areas where they are likely to spend their time. For example, university IS city centers or company campuses. And as for motivation, Amazon vouchers did a good job in the past to turn some knows or I don't knows, too happy, yes. You should, however, not offer reward that might be too expensive or nice-to-have or your potential interviewees. Because if they wanted the reward too much, their motivation could actually influence their motivation in a way that affects the quality of their contribution. Which means nothing else than that, you won't get real insights from them. And as a rule of thumb, for evaluative research, you should talk to at least six people. With six people, you have somewhat large enough group to provide you with representative insights. This, of course, can also be either too much or too little depending on what you want to find out. But in general, you can keep the number six in your head and you should be quiet safe for most of the cases. And now next you need to become clear about what you want to ask or find out. But before you do that, you have to think about the way of documenting your user feedback. And there are a number of extremely versatile and affordable solutions out there that you can pick from. I suggest to base your decisions on a set of requirements. You wanted to fulfill in order to suit your conversations. Data outputs. And so this means that you have to think about the topics that you want to talk about and the possible answers your interviewers will give you. So if you, for example, expect a lot of URLs, make it easy to enter these into, read your L's and requirement. If you're planning to take a lot of screenshots, make sure that you can easily paste them right where you want them to be. Once you're set with your tool of choice, you can start writing down all the questions that you want to ask. Be very clear with your questions. And during the interview, stick with what, with what you have written down, right? While it is important to establish a friendly and positive atmosphere in order to get your participants to start talking. It is also important to stop yourself from talking too much. The one magic trick that I want to share with you is be quiet just as I said in the UX. Next, use silence as your weapon to make your interviewee having to break the silence by starting to talk. Don't make it awkward, of course, but let them fill the room with the boys, tried to step back emotionally and don't fall. A way of talking that you would do with a good friend or so you want to collect data. So stay in your questionnaire and stay professional. Another way of making your life easier is to get a peer of you who, who assists during the interview and takes notes as you and your interview partners hog. And therefore, it makes a lot of sense to pick a document. It's software that allows for collaborative writing. Most state of the art software already supports this feature. For example, Apple Pages and Microsoft Word does it. I'm personally using at Lushan conference a lot. And the point is that both of you are able to document everything at the same time while seeing your peer's input in real time. And you, as the interviewer, have the overview about which question might need a deeper follow-up. And when you have collected enough data to move on, it can be helpful to even write down standard text phrases as the introduction, for example, try to group your questions and provide these groups with a name. Use different colors to make it easier for you to read through your questions groups. Maybe you have some extra questions at the end that you want to mark with a certain background colors so that you know what these are. These are less important. Create an easy start for your interviews by beginning with easy questions. Maybe about their age and professions and have the more difficult questions at a later point of time. And if it is possible, record the interview. Videos are great if you're doing a remote interview than most of the video call tools offer recording functionality that captures both audio and video and even shared screen. So the least thing you should do, you should do is record the audio and every smartphone is able to do this. So this should be absolutely possible in all situations. But if you record anything, don't forget to tell everyone that is being recorded before. And in some cases, a written agreement might be necessary in order not to get in privacy troubles that are absolutely unnecessary and preventable. Recorded footage can be very helpful to complete your notes. Possibly, if you had to do the interview on your own. Or you can just use it as a proof for your work or another form of data insights that you have generated. Keep these files close to your documentation. And if you want to be really fancy, try out one of these tools that transcribes your recordings into actual interview scripts like trend or MR. Script. I haven't tried one of these out yet, but this can obviously be a big time-saver. 4. Filtering User Feedback: Once the interview's over alike, to clean up my notes and fix spelling mistakes. Also, if he did write collaboratively, you probably want to see what both of you wrote down the same information and consolidate these entries, highlight blank spots, the questionnaires simply to make your life easier at the end of the interview series, when you have to sum everything together. Don't be afraid to leave a question out here and there during the interview because it is super important to maintain a natural flow and let the interviewer elaborate an important points that you're interested in. Just make sure to have a list of priorities in your head. So you won't miss any Very important question by accident or bad time management. As soon as you have finished all of your interviews, you can start summing together the different bits and pieces and make it nice and tidy document, you will start to develop a feeling for what is an important insight and what is not. You will see patterns and develop a way of economically working your way through the masses of texts. You can really make use of the full potential of text annotation here to get the most out of your user_data, bring to the front what is important? Gray out, what is maybe only a side node? And try to sum up the bottom line of each question. Maybe there's a strong consensus and maybe there's different opinions that need to be reflected. I highly recommend to not delete anything from your insights table. There are many alternatives to making statements appear to be removed, but you should never really delete them. As this is weakening your source of truth and most important collection of data, right? So you have to protect it in order to be safe yourself once there are questions coming up or anyone is wanting to take a look at your documentation. Once we're done, we're now looking at what is the boil down essence of what the people said? Ask yourself, where you see similarities or crust opposites. Are there statements that have been repeated by many participants? Are their statements that are very important because of the huge impact they have on a certain group of people. There are fundamental differences in the statements of some groups of personas that you spoke to? Or is there something you did not see coming at all? Something that highly makes sense depending on how you documented all the interviews, you should now go ahead and create a new row or column in your interview table for all the key takeaways of your interviews. Here you want to, want to play summaries of each questions. The goal is to be at a stage where you could theoretically forget the rest of the table and only move forward with these summaries. A very handy tool for your presentations and stakeholder conviction are actual quotes. The interviews that undermine a certain statement or inside. These quotes can be positive and negative. In fact, you should keep in mind not to be biased in any way and always show all the important opinions that you have heard. Now would be a great moment to note down these quotes and keep them at a nice place where they won't be forgotten so that you can pick from them at a later point. If your nodes don't provide quotes that you can directly save away, gives you recordings and other listen or re-watch videos. You will hopefully have some quotes and mind which will save you the hassle of reliving every minute of your interviews again. And at the end of the filtering stage, you should have an idea what the core inside of your interviews are. You probably already get a feel for this during the interviews. Again, if you stay neutral and don't give loud people statements more weight than the statements of quite a pupil. With your cleaned up collection of feedback and just summaries of each question at their respective answers. You are good to move on to the next stage. 5. Evaluating User Feedback: So since we are doing evaluative research here, and what we want to, for example, proof assumptions or verify the quality of existing states. We need to evaluate the feedback we have collected. Personally, I'm a very visual guide and I like static things. So I would always go the extra mile and bring the insights into a visually more appealing, but more importantly, easier to understand form. You can of course, just as well go ahead with your basic datasheet. But I'm telling you that the very initial convictions starts with the first impression, which is usually gained visually. Keep up the same set expectation you put towards visual designs or other crafts. This document is one of your key deliverables and should be optimized in its content as, in its appearance. And this is what I call an insights map, is basically my normal interview documentation table but flipped to the other side. So in my case, I would have all questions lined up underneath each other in the first column of my document. And if I rotate the table, the rows become columns and the columns become rows. And this also means that my column of summaries is now the topmost row. The very first thing that you would normally read when you look at the table. And then I'm making it even more easy to understand. I mean the content of the first row, in this case the second row as the quotes are placed in the very first row. The idea behind the colorful visualization is actually quite simple. I use color-coding to highlight the most frequently mentioned statements is you can see under this answer here you can find our replies from everyone that has been interviewed. The more people said the same thing, the heavier the impact of the statement is. That way the insights or answers with the biggest consensus will visually pop up from the rest. That will be probably some insights that are obvious winners in terms of their visibility. And then there will be lighter shades of insights that are still important, but where mentioned just not as much. And to make it even more easier, I added this small progress bar on the bottom of the highlighted cells. This is only possible once you're done with your matrix and you are able to distinguish between the most important statements which would be marked with the full progress and less important statements that would be marked with only a portion of that. For reference, I edit a legend to the top of the table. You will need a couple of strong insights during the presentation so that you can offer a pool of solutions to pick from. A view only come up with one single inside. It will make your research look like it's a bit limited or even incorrect. You could compare this to working on visual designs and not trying out variations that you can discuss with your manager. If you only provide one way, you will most likely be perceived as if you did not want to try out something else and went for the easiest way. But coming back to our insights map, of course, the color-coding can also be used to reflect any other insight that you want to bring forward. But the color coding really does help to read this datasheet even when you're not super deep into user research and never have done an interview or seen any kind of evaluation, overview before. The insights map also comes in very handy when you're putting together your presentation, which I will talk about in the next section. Make sure the map is done and finished and you're fine with what it represents. Because this is the evidence of your research that you will show to the public. You should be confident enough to even plotted and hanged on a wall for everyone to see. It's the actual dataset. But with filters applied that show what you want to highlight and what is the most important feedback. I would place a template of the insights map In the resource materials section for your convenience. And because you are going to need it for their class project. So once you created your awesome insights map, you're going to continue to the next chapter, presenting the user feedback. 6. Presenting User Feedback: All right, so presentations can sometimes be quite tricky. They always bear some kind of uncertainty and excitement with them and can be really challenging from tress and focus perspective at times. This is why it is even more important to be well-prepared and fully aware of what you're going to show and talk about. Try to relax beyond point. And don't waste anybody's time with too much information that cannot be processed or too vague information that either nobody cares about or everyone knows already. I know sometimes you have to, you have so much to tell and in fact, it is often times easier to talk or write a lot and much harder to keep your shot. But in this case, please don't overload your slides with text and switch to a 40 to 60 or even 30 to 70 Speech Text ratio. Make use of your moderators nodes, or write down your notes on paper cards in order to save some slide Real Estate. The most important thing is, and this is much like with any interview to build up trust. Maybe start your presentation with a small joke or an anecdote and explain exactly what you did and why you did it. Explain why you wanted to do interviews. Maybe because you have a great user group at hand and they already knew the subject very well. Maybe you wanted to gain evaluative feedback on a certain matter, be as specific as you can, but try to be as clear as you would be when talking to someone who has no expert on the field of user research or UX design. Then what is the purpose of this research of activity? Who did you recruit and why? You can also show information as the demographics of your test group and explain the tools you have used. Tell them how many interviews you have performed and how long all of this took. This better not be a surprisingly high number is your sponsor might not like it, but after that. And here we have another similarity to interviews. We need to keep in mind the dramaturgical flow of the presentation. You can continue with the quantitative data that you collected. It's not ashamed to show off how much work this has been. Really just make it clear that everything you will tell them is based on representative data. Insights map is a great tool here again, since you can show the big picture at the beginning and then zoom in to the points that you highlighted. This is very easy to understand and prove your point in a great way. And now to boil the insights down even further, think about a few of the quotes you collected earlier that you can use now to bring the data you have just presented into an individual and personal context, the quotes you select, you selected should reflect the reality as best as possible. Try not to only pick quotes that all say the same thing, but also bring in some contra, but make sure that the message of your insights is the transported. And next we want to finish this extremely smooth transition by talking about the qualitative insights. This is the core of what you have found out. Bring it to the front and provide evidence for every claim that you make, which wouldn't be a problem since everything is based on what your interviewee said. Every statement you highlight come directly from the users or potential users and cannot simply be denied. It's the great thing about research when done correctly, simply undeniable. Now provide your listeners are stakeholders with room for their own informed decisions. You did everything you could in order to inform them what the condensed insights of all your research. Maybe you came up with problem statements based on your insights. Maybe you identified some user experience flaws are a big issue in your customer journey. Provide them with options to pick from based on your insights. Show the pros and cons, and make them feel in charge. Feel proud about what you did. And that you enable your team to make informed decisions. Congrats. 7. My Feedback: Before we move on to the class project, I would like to address a matter that's very important to me and it's to always keep learning. I must have considered to be never finished with learning something. And while I'm here sharing some of what I know about a certain matter, there are other methods that I wanted to learn from you. So since this is my first video on this platform, I want to encourage you to give me constructive feedback on what you like most and what you would wish for in the next videos. This way, I can only continue to give you the best content and exactly what you need to learn as effectively as possible. So please don't be shy and tell me your thoughts. Thank you very much. 8. Your Class Project: Okay. So that's it for my part. I hope you learned something, I mean, a lot in this course and I am excited to see what you will do with this knowledge. Of course, if you have any questions or if you need some clarification on certain points, feel free to write this in the comments for your class project. I would like you to think about a fictional topic and this can absolutely be anything. My only requirement is that it must be a problem, but really any problem is fine. You will have to work with this problem and generate insights on how it can be solved. I want you to work through this to-do list based on the information in this course. Define user group that is affected by this problem. So preferably within your closer peer groups as you will have to talk to them as well. Define a set of questions that you want to ask them about the problem you came up with. Select a software that you want to use for documenting the interviews, set up the questionnaire within this software, perform at least six interviews and document the answers. And you can do this alone or together with someone else. Remember to record and re-evaluate your documentation after the interview. And once you're done with the interviews, highlight the most important insights. Transform the documentation into an insights map. Create a presentation for a stakeholder who can be fictional or can be your best friend, mom, dad, or even me. The deliverable is a presentation and the insights map. We'll put a template for a questionnaire as well as insights map in the resources. But I highly suggest to adapt this to your own needs, your own style, and really make them your own instead of just filling them out the same way you received them. I am really looking forward to see what you will come up with. See you soon. Have fun with a class project. Goodbye.