Conducting a user interview is a mix of art and science. There are several ways to do it, depending your context. When diving deeper into this topic, I came across Continuous Discovery Habits (CDH) by Teresa Torres. This was an extremely enriching read for me. While the book has several practical nuggets on user interviews, the one insight that stood with me was the following
“When preparing for a user interview, separate out your research questions from interview questions”.Teresa Torres (Continuous Discovery Habits).
This was extremely powerful in helping me prepare better for the insight interviews. I’ve been trying some of the tricks from this book in the past and now in my early days at Favrit now, I am getting into several customer conversations to understand the market. Using story-based interviews opens up a huge avenue for deeper understanding of use behaviour.
What work when doing a User Interview
“Separate out your research questions from interview questions”
Record the user interview
During a user interview, especially in an online one, I’ve made it a habit to ask the user if they’re okay with me recording the video. This allows me to focus on the conversation than make notes frantically. More often than not, they say “yes, go ahead”. It’s quite handy to look back to see the video and extract insights. Sometimes I share portions of this as nuggets for the team to hear it first hand from the user. This is also interesting when the user shares screens of competing products or their alternative workflows.
Be Specific and be Visual
Getting users to talk about their specific experience from yesterday or last week is powerful in cutting through opinions and getting to real problems. Drawing this out as Visual Maps when doing a user interview or at a time immediate later is valuable to synthesise this.
Getting to the Problem vs. Solution
We have several users that love our product, our ambition and have several suggestions for us. On the one hand, it’s great to have so many users that are invested in us. On the other hand it makes my job harder to cut through the solution scope and get deeper insights into their needs, pains and desires. In these cases, it takes time to get to the research question – sometimes not enough time is left for it. Then you take what you can as a win and move on.
I am trying to automate this user interview recruitment process through various means – cold emails, adding a HubSpot scheduler link to email signatures, in-app messaging to specific topics we need insights on.