Preparing for an interview not only allows you to make a deeper connection with your user but also allows you to obtain more data with which to tackle your problem.
WHY prepare for an interview
- Time with users is precious and you need to make the most of it! While we always must allow room for the spontaneous, blissful serendipity of a user-guided conversation, we should never abdicate our responsibility to prepare for interviews. Especially in following up with users (after testing, etc.), you must plan your interviews. You may not get to every question you prepare, but you should come in with a plan for engagement.
HOW to prepare for an interview
- Brainstorm questions. Write down all of the potential questions your team can generate. Try to build on one another’s ideas in order to flesh out meaningful subject areas.
- Identify and order themes Similar to “grouping” in synthesis, have your team identify themes or subject areas into which most questions fall; once you’ve identified the themes of your question pool, determine the order that would allow the conversation to flow most naturally. This will enable you to structure the flow of your interview, decreasing the potential for hosting a seemingly scattershot interaction with your user.
- Refine your questions. Once you have all the questions grouped by theme and order, you may find that there are some redundant areas of conversation, or questions that seem strangely out of place. Take a few moments to make sure that you leave room in your planning to ask plenty of “why?” questions, plenty of “tell me about the last time you _____?” questions, and plenty of questions that are directed at how the user FEELS. See also Interview for Empathy for a reminder on interviewing technique in the moment.