Interviewing (Listening to) People
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Interviewing (Listening to) People

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Listening deeply in research interviews is the most important skill we can have as design researchers. Focusing more on listening is the key to developing empathy with our research participants......

Listening deeply in research interviews is the most important skill we can have as design researchers. Focusing more on listening is the key to developing empathy with our research participants and uncovering deeper insights. It's a skill that takes time, but with some simple guidelines and practice anyone can improve how they listen and get more from their research efforts.

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  • 1. Interviewing People NOVEMBER 12, 2013 11/12/13 PAGE 1
  • 2. What we’ll discuss today "Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand." - Karl A. Menninger The agenda ➳  Types ➳  The of Research Interview ➳  Interview Tips & Tricks 11/12/13 PAGE 2
  • 3. Why we interview It’s not just about pain-points, it’s about insights Their Experience §  Stories §  Emotion §  Connections §  We talk to people to gain a better understanding of them, their context and what they need to accomplish their goals. The data we uncover feeds into our design decisions and uncovers new opportunities. §  Shared Experience §  Empathy §  Reframes §  Possibilities §  Customer Advocates 11/12/13 PAGE 3
  • 4. Types of research 11/12/13 PAGE 4
  • 5. “The more you can think and feel like a customer the better you can imagine what services to offer them.” Indi Young Types of research 11/12/13 PAGE 5
  • 6. Research types GENERATIVE EVALUATIVE Definition Understanding  of  the  mental   environments  in  which  people  evaluate   our  products  and  services. Assessing  the  efficiency  and  effectiveness   of  the  the  solutions  that  help  people   accomplish  their  goals. Business   Questions •  Why  do  people  not  use  our  service? •  How  do  people  use  our  products  &   why? •  How  do  we  leapfrog  our  competitors? •  How  do  I  improve  my  navigation? •  What  is  our  conversion  rate? •  How  do  we  get  greater  wallet-­‐‑share? Research   Types •  Customer  Interviews •  Contextual  Inquiry •  Ethnography •  Customer  Diary •  •  •  •  engagement Types of research Usability  Test Search  Analytics Customer  Feedback Card  Sorting optimization 11/12/13 PAGE 6
  • 7. Generative Increase engagement What is it that we are missing? How can we find new opportunities to engage customers and delight them? Focuses on peoples’ experiences and not just what they prefer in a product or service Participant guides the conversation with simple prompts from the moderator Sets the stage for them to tell their stories Types of research 11/12/13 PAGE 7
  • 8. evaluative Optimize current state Can people figure it out, use all the interactions, and finish their task in a reasonable amount of time and effort? Uncovers where we can optimize the experience for people Typically a task-based, question and answer session, especially for usability testing Most common form of research and the easiest to do Types of research 11/12/13 PAGE 8
  • 9. Merge techniques When we combine generative interview techniques with evaluative studies, we can get more from each session. Gone are the days of in-person pass/fail usability studies. Generative (engagement) Follow the conversation Evaluative (optimization) Listening sessions 11/12/13 PAGE 9
  • 10. The interview 11/12/13 PAGE 10
  • 11. “Check your worldview at the door.” Steve Portigal The interview 11/12/13 PAGE 11
  • 12. Listen much? Listen with purpose Deep listening can bring forth the most interesting parts of the stories people tell us about their experiences. THEM THEM YOU Selective Listening The interview YOU A New Perspective Active Listening Empathic Listening 11/12/13 PAGE 12
  • 13. Keys to insights Set the stage for a rich exchange and you will find unexpected insights RAPPORT Empathic listening stories Helps people feel comfortable with you in conversation Demonstrates you are really listening to them Provides rich detail and emotions for an experience Removes a laboratory or research-feel to the interview Merges your frame of reference with the other person’s to develop a brand new perspective Captivates the attention of others Builds some trust between two people who are strangers Illustrates motivations and goals Powerful illustration of what someone is going through Allows emotions, rich detail and other important ideas to surface Focuses the on people’s experiences and not preferences Invites the stories people have to tell about their experiences Uncovers the Why The interview Longer shelf-life than a report Easily shared 11/12/13 PAGE 13
  • 14. Rapport Skills & Tips Eye-contact with a smile Pre-interview introduction Make small talk Look for social cues Open body language "There's a big difference between showing interest and really taking interest.”  - Michael P. Nichols - The Lost Art of Listening The interview 11/12/13 PAGE 14
  • 15. Empathic listening Skills & Tips Be interested Open body language or leaning in Whole body listening, especially your heart Paraphrase Ask Why Remember details Don’t analyze or judge “So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.” - Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986) spiritual philospher The interview 11/12/13 PAGE 15
  • 16. stories Skills & Tips Provide context or a scenario Listen deeply Silence Dig for details Ask story-leading questions “Until you hear a story and can understand that experience, you don’t know what you are talking about. There has to be a person’s story that you hear, where finally you get a picture in your head of what it would be like to be that person. Until that moment you know nothing, and you deal with the information you are given in a flawed way.” - Ira Glass, This American Life, speaking at GEL 2007 The interview Flickr:    Courtesy  of  imageining   11/12/13 PAGE 16
  • 17. Interviewing tips & Tricks 11/12/13 PAGE 17
  • 18. Be an Explorer It’s not just an interview, it’s a Listening safari. Discovering the unexpected §  What is important to them? §  What is said…..not said Focus on people’s experiences Every interview is unique §  Explore motivations & goals §  Silence §  Interviewing Tips & Tricks §  §  ~Cuban Proverb Conversation §  “Listening looks easy, but it’s not simple. Every head is a world.” §  Dig for details 11/12/13 PAGE 18
  • 19. Better Interviews Simple techniques to start Whether you are talking to a research participant, or a client, you can use some of these techniques to improve data gathering and understand where someone is coming from. Question Starters •  •  •  •  •  Who What When Why How Do Not Lead Leading questions usually start with one of these words; •  Do •  Could •  Should •  Would Actually Care Practice, Practice, Practice It shows, so make people feel heard. Interviewing (listening) is a skill like anything else. If you don’t use it you lose it Don’t Praise Praise conditions the participant to look for more praise. They want to please you. Interviewing Tips & Tricks 11/12/13 PAGE 19
  • 20. fin @bwinters 11/12/13 PAGE 20