How to get more than opinions: Interview techniques and advice
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How to get more than opinions: Interview techniques and advice

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Given at the intro evening of Lean UX Machine Tel Aviv (http://leanuxmachine.com/ & http://leanuxmachine2011.tumblr.com/), this short talk on interview techniques introduces basic principles of how......

Given at the intro evening of Lean UX Machine Tel Aviv (http://leanuxmachine.com/ & http://leanuxmachine2011.tumblr.com/), this short talk on interview techniques introduces basic principles of how to facilitate qualitative research. Aimed at lean startups, I hope it will be relevant advice for 'getting out of the building'.
Shared under a Creative Commons with Attribution license :)

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  • Getting out of the building  UX!UX research is useful for Customer discoveryCustomer developmentValidating your hypothesisMaking something that solves a problem or addresses a needMaking something usable and delightfulIt’s “generative” and “evaluative” It’s all about people skills!
  • Explain quickly that UX offers tons of methods, techniques and materials. You will have to get out of the building as part of this event, so we’ll focus on these (click).
  • Not an interrogation!
  • !
  • Non-leading interviews allow you to capture what a person is thinking in their terms, with their structure and vocabulary intact. Indi deliberately writes prompts rather than interview questions. Also easier to parse quickly. if you go for a non-directed interview using prompts, make sure everybody in your team has a shared understanding of the intent behind each topic. Janice calls this topic map.
  • Non-leading interviews allow you to capture what a person is thinking in their terms, with their structure and vocabulary intact. Indi deliberately writes prompts rather than interview questions. Also easier to parse quickly. if you go for a non-directed interview using prompts, make sure everybody in your team has a shared understanding of the intent behind each topic. Janice calls this topic map.
  • begin interviews with a 'softball' question - a question that is simple to answer and puts the participant at ease. 
  • Make people feel comfortable and they will tell you all kind of thingsPeople generally like to talk about themselves, and being listened to!
  • !
  • !
  • RASA (sanskrit word for juice, essence)Receive - pay attentionAppreciate - making little noisesSummarise - 'so’Ask - questions afterwardsAnother thing that makes it challenging: people want to keep the conversation balanced – you have to break that a bit
  • Be careful with WHY. ‘How did you know that X?’ ‘What were you thinking at the moment when X?’ This does not interrupt the recounting process. So ‘tell me how it was that you came to be looking for this site that day’ does the work of ‘why were you looking... ?If you’ve made people comfortable, Why should be ok.
  • on remote/using the phone. won't be able to rely on body language, which makes the moderator's responsibilities more complex. Active listening - practice of regularly nodding and saying mm-hmm to demonstrate you get what they're saying - may encourage people to keep going in person, but over the phone, moderator should cut back active listening because it encourages people to wrap up what they're saying. Don't be afraid to sit back and listen!Reflecting = paraphrasing or repeating things the user has just said. This can be risky, as 1) it almost always has same suppressive effect as active listening, and 2) if your paraphrase is inaccurate, it can lead users to agreeing to propositions or coming up with ideas that they may not have otherwise. Better alternative: begin as if you're going to paraphrase them but then have them do the bulk of the work by trailing off and letting them fill in their own thoughts, for (example on this slide)Achieves the same as reflecting, with less moderator bias.Over the phone, all you are is your voice. 
  • let your statements trail off and end in an upward pitch, as if you were asking a question. the other person will naturally complete your statement. this is another way to 'take your turn' in the conversation and toss it right back at them.
  • n quiet participants, who probably forget to think aloud as they are engaged in a task: You want to strike a balance between engagement and talking so that users are speaking undeliberatively about what they're feeling and doing, and what problems they're facing in the moment, rather than their opinions about the interface. Encourage participant to speak up.
  • Come up with questions that are both specific and hard to give short responses to. Ask about specific on-screen behaviours.
  • Manage expectations

Transcript

  • 1. How to get more than opinions
    Interview techniques and advice
    Johanna Kollmann- @johannakoll
    Lean UX Machine Tel Aviv, 4 August 2011
    Photo by NASA Marshall Space Flight Center http://www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05/5038531149/
  • 2. UX helps you to get out of the building
    Photo by Bottleleaf http://www.flickr.com/photos/bottleleaf/2258627441/
  • 3. (Some) research methods (yeah we have a lot)
    Quantitative
    Qualitative
    Contextual inquiry
    Mental models
    Interviews
    Diary studies
    Surveys
    Interviews
    Generative
    Usability testing
    Moderated card sort
    Wizard of Oz
    Automated card sort
    Surveys
    Automated studies
    Analytics
    A/B Testing
    Multi-variant testing
    Evaluative
    Adapted from figures by Janice Fraser, Nate Bolt, Christian Rohrer
  • 4. Non-leading interviews are a conversation
    Photo byDave Gilbert http://www.flickr.com/photos/eye2eye/50892860/
  • 5. Non-leading interviews
    • Are generative
    • 6. Focus on people’s behaviours and goals
    • 7. Capture their way of thinking and vocabulary
    • 8. Are about listening to stories
    • 9. Can be conducted in-person or remotely
    • 10. Should be done with people who haveimmediate experience
    Mental Models byIndi Young
  • 11. Planning the interview
    Photo byangelamaphonehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/angelamaphone/2663422833//
  • 12. Define your goals
    • Who do you need to talk to?
    • 13. What do you need to observe?
    • 14. What do you hope to find out?
    • 15. What’s your hypothesis?
    Also, make sure you identify your own bias and beliefs!
  • 16. What topics shall the interview cover?
    Dieting
    Buying food
    Exercise
    Preparing food
    Eating out
    Busy lifestyle
    Struggles
  • 17. Prompts rather than set questions
    Day-in-a-life (today, yesterday)
    Decide what to eat
    Last time on a diet
    How active (want vs. do)
    Preparing food for oneself
    Preparing food for family/friends
  • 18. Have a ‘softball question’ ready
    Please tell me a little bit about your cooking this week.
    Could you tell me about the last dish you prepared yourself?
  • 19. During the interview
    Photo by Anders Zakrisson http://www.flickr.com/photos/anders-zakrisson/4982281184/
  • 20. Photo byJitter Buffer http://www.flickr.com/photos/ph0t0s/5984587230/
    We are so used to being interrupted that we have developed highly effective interruption defense mechanisms. 
  • 21. Photo byEd Yourdon http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/2574628438/
    Really listening lets you understand someone, or a situation, on several different levels.
  • 22. Active listening
    Receive
    Appreciate
    Summarise
    Ask
    From Julian Treasure’s TED talk ‘5 ways to listen better’
  • 23. Ask open questions – don’t lead
    YAY
    NAY
    Were you trying to do A or B?
    What were you trying to do?
  • 33. How to keep people talking
    Can you tell me the story about that?
    What else can you tell me about…
    Help me understand better
    What do you mean by…
    Tell me more…
  • 34. Echoing and rephrasing
    This is confusing...
    Confusing...
    Yes, confusing. I wasn't sure whether...
    Example from ‘Storytelling for User Experience’ by Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brooks
  • 35. Echoing and rephrasing
    …and so I decided to click on that link to go to the next page.
    Okay, so let me get this straight: first, you saw the link, and...what, again?
    I saw the link, and I thought to myself....(paraphrases self)
    Example from ‘Remote Research’ by Nate Bolt & Tony Tulathimutte
  • 36. Conversational disequilibrium
    I wanted to download that application, but the instructions were so confusing… (trails off and stops talking)
    The instructions were confusing?
    And you expected…
    Confusing?...Because….
    So then you…
    Mmmm hmmm.
    Example from ‘Storytelling for User Experience’ by Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brooks
  • 37. How to deal with difficult people
    Photo by David Anderson http://www.flickr.com/photos/venndiagram/4667350842/
  • 38. The quiet one
    • So, tell me what you're trying to do here
    • 39. What are you trying to get done right now?
    • 40. How does this (part/page) compare with what you were expecting?
    • 41. If the user falls quiet repeatedly: And by the way, if you could just let me know what's going through your head as you’re doing this...
    Example from ‘Remote Research’ by Nate Bolt & Tony Tulathimutte
  • 42. The bored one
    • I noticed that you just hesitated a bit before clicking on that button. Can you tell me why?
    • 43. Why don't we back up a bit? I was curious about what drew your attention to the tab you just clicked on?
    • 44. Before we move on from here, I wanted to ask you about this part a bit more. What do you think about the range of choices they give you here? Is anything missing?
    Example from ‘Remote Research’ by Nate Bolt & Tony Tulathimutte
  • 45. The chatty one
    • That's really interesting, thanks for telling me about that. To come back to....
    • 46. Can I interrupt you? Sorry, I was actually curious if you could...
    Example from ‘Remote Research’ by Nate Bolt & Tony Tulathimutte
  • 47. Do’s and don’ts
    Photo by Hilde Skjølberg http://www.flickr.com/photos/hebe/3004800079/
  • 48. Do
    Be the learner, not the expert
    Ask naïve questions
    Ask for specific stories
    Allow people time to think
    Listen!
    Take notes or record
    Take photos or collect artefacts
    Photo by Tomas Hellberg http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomhe/35312882/
  • 49. Don’t
    Be an interrogator
    Ask questions that sound like blame, or argumentative
    Ask for solutions
    Try to solve problems during the interview
    Ask what features people want
    Ask people to imagine theoretical situations
    Photo by G Meyer http://www.flickr.com/photos/kainet/144703613/
  • 50. Have fun!
    Photo by Ed Stevenson http://www.flickr.com/photos/estevenson/2641282945/
  • 51. Resources
    Mental Models by Indi Young
    Storytelling for User Experience by Whitney Quesenbery & Kevin Brooks
    Remote Research by Nate Bolt & Tony Tulathimutte
    Undercover User Experience by Cennydd Bowles
    Designing for the Digital Age by Kim Goodwin
    LUXrresources and materials by Janice Fraser (http://www.slideshare.net/clevergirl/) and Lane Halley (http://www.slideshare.net/LaneHalley/)
    User Interview Techniques - Guidelines for Obtaining Better Results by Michael Hawley in User Experience, Volume 8, Issue 3, 3rd Quarter 2009
    How to ask ‘why’ without asking ‘why by Karl Sabino (http://www.thinkflowinteractive.com/2009/09/01/how-to-ask-why/)
    Articles on User Interface Engineering (http://www.uie.com/browse/usability_testing/)
  • 52. Thank you
    Janice Fraser, Lane Halley & Josh Seiden from LUXr for sharing their materials under a CC license
    Flow Interactive alumni friends for sharing their advice
    Graham Uff for feedback
    And big thanks to everybody who made Lean UX Machine Tel Aviv happen!