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Product Design / General

User Interviews

User Interviews

August 28, 2017 · 2:12pm
Hey guys! I’m a product designer at Managed by Q and am trying to learn what is the best way to approach interviewing users as a designer. Our product team conducts at least 4 - 5 user interviews every week. We are using interviews to test future designs with InVision prototypes, validate new features, and obtain feedback about the product. I'm new to conducting and interviewing users, and I’m curious to know how other product teams approach user interviews. Some of the things I'd love to learn more about include:
  • Does your team conduct user interviews? If so how frequently and for what purpose?
  • What are some of the tools you use to conduct and document user feedback?
  • What are some of the design tools you use to present and test designs?
  • Who leads the interviews and what is your role (as a designer) in the interview?
  • What do you do to prepare for the interviews?
Also wondering what books, talks, or resources out there have been helpful.

August 28, 2017 · 5:10pm
Hopping in to also learn from others’ responses, but here are two tips:
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- To prepare, always make sure you have a larger research plan with clear learning objectives, and then make a detailed research protocol for each method/set of sessions you'll do
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- if you've never led an interview, sit in on a few before leading your own. always invite another designer on your team to be a note taker, so you can be fully engaged and then recap with them directly after to pull out some insights while it's still fresh!
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Hi! Some stray thoughts:
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- come with a specific topic in mind but mostly listen to what the customer has to say
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- ask "behavioral" questions instead of speculative questions. E.g., when was the last time x happened? vs would you do x in this situation?
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Anything written by Erika Hall is a good
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Place to start
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- In my company, the PM help conducts user interview. Our support team has a close relationship with our merchants (users), so the PM usually gets contacts from them, pick a few merchants, and do a half hour or 1-hour call weekly to get general feedback on our products. Then the PM will write down the key takeaway in a google doc and share with the team.
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- We also visit the merchants once a while, we can work at the merchants' business or shadow them.
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2. Tools we use:
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- User Testing, super useful at recruiting users, recording interview sessions,
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- Invision, we share invision prototype through Usering testing with our user.
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- Optimalworkshop: very useful for some quick tast and it is free
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The designers either run the interview session themselves or the PM lead the sessions and designer ask questions
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To prepare for the interview: - A doc with a list of questions I want to ask: - Start with questions around the user background such as, do you have employees, how many? How often do you go to the bank? - A prototype that users can click through and test a couple of times.
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Books:InterviewingUsers, It is our research
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Awesome thanks for sharing @matthew, @mitch, and @effy!
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Definitely need to work on entering user interviews with clear goal in mind and having a document/script has helped a lot. Have also learned that interviewing users is not something natural for me, so I need to continue practicing—for some reason the fact that it's an interview makes the conversation feel different haha, especially when over the phone as I can't see the person I'm talking with.
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I started reading Eriks Halls' 'Just Enough Research', and will take a look at the books you mentioned @effy
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I started with just go meet the user. There is a coffee shop in mission, SF, I just go there buy a coffee every week and chat with the owner for 20-30 mins, and I learnt a lot.
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I mean, the coffee shop use the product i designed
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Depending on the product and the stage you are at you might want/can test your design/prototype/product less or more frequently and in different ways. Usually I've tried to have people looking at some of our design work every 2 weeks (you can't really do more often if you really work on the outcomes of your research, unless you have multiple research teams).
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You
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You can find a lot of insight from Tomer Sharon (ex Google and now Head UX at WeWork https://medium.com/@tsharon). Since he joined WeWork he spent a lot of time in improving their design/research cycle and shared a lot of what they've done and how. They also built a tool to collect research design outcome pills to share across the company.
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The most important thing in the whole ux research is having clear goals, don't skew the users and let them speak, and actually take actions on the outcome, which usually is the thing the most companies get wrong.
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Tools to test design you can really decide what you like depending on what you're testing. I've used anything like sketch on paper, Axure prototypes (Invision/Marvel is quite limiting when working on a solid prototype) or real HTML/JS. But you can also find values in tools like Verify, optimal workshop and Usabilla
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Verify is now deprecated and has been replaced by https://zurb.com/helio/ (haven't used it yet)
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For the interview itself you need to have a script and try to stick to your wording as much as possible. Depending on the type of test tho, you might want to give less or more freedome to users and let them explore, in that case you might be able to observe and come up with relevant and not leading questions on the spot.
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August 29, 2017 · 1:34pm
Does your team conduct user interviews? If so how frequently and for what purpose?
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When we conduct the interviews depends on the project but ideally we would like to gather qualitative data from interviews to inform the product decisions we make before starting a new product or feature.
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We also conduct interviews and supervised tests at various points in our product development workflow to try and validate our goals before certain release points of the product.
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What are some of the tools you use to conduct and document user feedback?
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Zoom for communication when the interview is conducted remotely. Zoom is great because it has the ability to record the meeting.
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Google Slides to help facilitate the interview if you need to show specific examples of things or concepts
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If you are conducting a remote interview or test that involves a beta or unreleased build of a mobile application I would suggest utilizing Lookback to observe behavior in the app.
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What do you do to prepare for the interviews?
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We start by defining goals for the interviews. It’s important to know what type of data you want to collect and what the means to the product/project. These goals will inform the questions you ask.
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We create a protocol for all of our interviews and tests. This ensures that we cover everything we need cover during the interview and also serves as a stepped checklist for the interview. Include your questions and tasks (if testing) in the protocol.
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We also practice the interview protocol several times internally so we feel comfortable conducting it and then we make any adjustments needed based on the practice.
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I hope this is useful and I didn’t blow up this thread too much 😬
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August 29, 2017 · 8:42pm
Totally agree that having a plan to start is important. I'm curious though, how do you phrase your learning objectives?
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@jason it really depends on the type of test and the stage of your product. What I found most useful is ran a dry-test on your prototype/survey/other-test and ask yourself what can you will be able to understand with the results. If the results of the dry-test are not convincing then maybe you're asking the wrong questions.
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If you have a more specific example I might be able to help more
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August 30, 2017 · 12:53pm
Andrea that's great feedback, will take a look at Tomer Sharon's work.
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I agree @brandon, creating protocols/scripts and practicing with the team is something I need to work on more. Thanks!
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@claudio No problem, let us know how the next interview or test you conduct goes!
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Will do! We actually have two later today!
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August 31, 2017 · 2:46pm
Led one interview yesterday and shadowed another one. One thing I realized yesterday is that the mood of the interviewee impacts the quality of the feedback obtained through interviews. The customer I spoke with was very happy, was very open, and was willing to explain things in detail. On the other hand the other interview was a bit rushed, the customer was multi-tasking, and wasn't in a great mood and her answers were short and lacked depth. I did prepare a script and entered the interview with a clear understanding with what we were trying to get an insight into, which helped. But at the same time, after listening through the recording, I realized I have to practice my speaking skills, as I stutter and mumble quite a bit. I'm also working on how to best approach remaining flexible within the conversation while also guiding the conversation and knowing how to dive deeply into a particular topic.
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That is awesome! It’s important to identify areas in the conversation you want to hear more about and ask the participant elaborate further in a way that doesn’t feel confrontational and keeps the conversation flowing. One thing I try to avoid is following up on a participant’s response with “Why”. I think this makes people feel like their answer or response was incorrect. Instead I ask participants “Can you please elaborate on that”.
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It also helps to set the expectation early in the interview hat there are no wrong answers and the participant’s opinions is extremely valuable to you. This is especially true if you are conducting a test and asking questions. You want to be clear that you are testing the product, not the participants themselves.
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Has anyone explored using the Jobs To Be Done style of interviews? If so, I'm curious what you're experience was like and what you'd do differently to improve..
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@Jason, my company actually encourage every employee read that book and plan our roadmap based on that methodology
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It is not much different with what we currently do. When we see new users signed up, we will ask them what do they hire us for? I have seen patterns that the user use a few software together to run their business, and only use us for one or two particular task. Then that's an opportunity for us either sell other products related to their business, building an ecosystem to empower our user run their business all in one place or thinking about integration with other products.
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