User interview, a way to know your customer - Orris Technology
Partners from business always asking the same questions: “How customers think?”, “How they would use our products”. Most cases, user interview would be the method of doing such research. And sometimes, business will lead the user interview by themselves, cooperating with consultation companies. As business, having certain knowledge of user interviewing is very beneficial, which could help improving not only the product itself, but also business logic and strategy.
So let’s look at what is user interview?
Interview is a qualitative research method for locating the problem, digging user needs behind the problem. Generally, interviews will start from the basic information of users. After users’ warm up, and understanding the basic situation of users, the questions would be more open, allowing users to fully express themselves, then gradually converge, focus to the core issues, to understand the reasons behind it. It is simply to “from light to dark, from outside to inside.”
The main problems for user interview are “what” and “why”, not “How many users”. The purpose of interview is to identify problems and understand the reasons behind it. Information such as statistical numbers should gain from research institutes or a wider user bases through surveys.
User interview, as an effective research methods, has its own guidance to get most of it. There’re lots of professional books about it, and here we just mentioned a few methods below.
- Be casual. The way you asking questions could be less formal and more casual. Interview itself is a type of chatting somehow. So we must ensure the questions we raised are understandable to the audience. The interaction between the two sides of interview are smooth and relax.
- Focus on users experience. User experience is reliable. Do not attempt to lead user imaging something has not been released yet. User may not able to imagine something not even exists, especially something not familiar with. User may barely said a yes to satisfy your expectation.
- Learn to ask follow up questions. As interviewer, you need to learn to ask a few more question and whys. User may not able to make things clear in a single question. In order to understand the issue clearly, it is necessary sometimes to lead user step by step. For example, when user mentioned encountered a problem, you can ask follow up questions such as “what time”, “what’s the scenario”, “what’s the specific issue”, “what it result in”, etc. It is quite hard when start learning how to interview user, but with the experience accumulated, you’ll find out which next question naturally pop out.
In addition to the above, we also find some common mistakes when coaching user interview for our business partners.
First, do not use too open questions. In the end user may not know what exactly you want to ask and what they should answer. For example, “What do you think about our website”, you may get some answer like “It is OK” and that’s it. If you need to find out something about the website, you need to ask some more specifc questions.
Second, avoid tendentious. Sometimes when we ask questions with a certain tendency, such as “Do you think this feature is easy to do”, which more or less influence user’s answer. So ask more neutrally, such as “how do you think this feature”.
Third, listen more. Do not interrupt the expression of user. Interviewer sometimes could be impatient, worried about missing some questions in limited time, or tried to express an opinion if the answer is different with what expected. In fact, the purpose of an interview is try to get more user ideas. Interruption may cause incomplete information. It is better to note down the point of controversy, and ask user at a right time, maybe after the interview.
Fourth, make a detailed description of the problem encountered by the user, rather than just focusing on the user’s solution. Most of time users will skip the detailed description of the problem, but lead us to his solution. You can only understand the real cause behind the problem only when you focus on the details of the problem. If you focus on user’s solution, not the information, you may miss the core and thus miss the real user needs.
So do you interested in apply those techniques to your next user interview?