Getting to know your users

Getting to know the users you are designing the solution for is absolutely critical! They are going to be one of your best sources of information gathering. The best way to achieve this task is through a series of ‘user interviews‘.

When conducting your interviews – think of them as short, semi-structured conversations.

The goal here is going to be bringing your questions to your user and starting a dialogue that will hopefully uncover more useful insight. Often, having conversations like these will help you learn about ways in which your users prefer to interact with your site, app or product and most importantly you will uncover many of the existing pain points that exist — ideally things that might easily be fixed with a new design.

Remove Bias

A really important tip to remember when conducting these interviews is to remove your own bias from the equation when framing questions. For example… You might have a question about your client Juice Bar Application you are re-designing and so think to ask:

Question: “Tell me how you would use our juice bar application.”

Issue: The way this question is framed implies the user is actually going to use the application.

Solution: Reframe the question – suggestion…

“Can you tell me about a time that you may need or want a juice bar application?”

Framing the question in this manner ensures it remains open-ended for the user to answer in a manner such as that they might not require the use of the product or service and it offers them more capacity to elaborate and divulge more information and insight back to you.

Avoid Yes/No Questions

Another important tip here is to avoid the use of YES/NO questions as for similar reasons above they give little insight back and are often leading.

You are not a robot

Have fun with your interviews!

You don’t have to read every question from a script. It is perfectly natural for every interview to be different and for the conversation to flow naturally.

Each should take its own path and feel organic while you get the information you are looking for.

You are looking for the gold hidden within the information.

Recording the Session

It can be hard to take everything from the interview in on the first go – so if the user is up for it then record the session. Often the gold will be found when reviewing user sessions.

If you’ve chosen to video the sessions then you may be able to use some snippets from each session to form a highlight reel that can be used later on.

Extracting the Data

So you’ve got some great data out of the session – now what to do with it?

We suggest plotting this information out on an Empathy Map.

An empathy map is a really great tool for understanding what the customer is thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing and saying.


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