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Interviews with users are essential.  The Design stage relies on unearthing the needs of users by getting deep into their world and by hearing about their expereinces and feelings in their own words.

Whenever possible, conduct your interviews in the interviewee’s space. You can learn so much about a person’s mindset, behavior, and lifestyle by talking with them where they live or work.  Users can be members of the who do or could interact with the current service, or they could be partners, staff or any professional or stakeholder.

Tips for doing great interviews are:

  1.  Doing interviews on your own is hard.  Take a friend with you to take notes and take photos and recordings (if permitted)
  2. Always ask interviewees to sign a consent form outlining how you will use the information they give you.
  3. Start the interview by helping the interviewee feel relaxed by outlining why you want to interview them and by asking broad questions about the person’s life, values, and habits.  Watch out for body language and non-verbal signs of communication and be sure to write anything you notice down to help you gain context about the interviewee.
  4. Prepare the questions you want to ask in advance. Open questions are good as they encourage the interviewee to speak their point of view, rather than agree or disagree.
  5. Always ask about the interviewees experiences – ask them what happened, at which point and how they felt and why. Resist asking them why they did certain things or what they might have done differently or how they might feel about something fictional.  People aim to please and more often then not, they will make responses up on the spot which may or may not be true.  Gaining real information about what the user actually did and how they felt, gives you real insight into their journey and their emotional response to it.
  6. Make sure to write down exactly what the person says, not what you think they might mean. This process is about understanding their world, using their words to help the team really understand their needs.  Direct quotes are a fantastic way to engage the team in the research sharing sessions and help gain a shared empathy for the user.