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January 23, 2019
Get the most our of each interview you conduct
Many companies refer to this practice as onboarding. Just as you onboard users to your product, it’s essential that you take the time to set expectations around your research process. How long will the interview, survey, or field study take? How do you plan to use this information?
In providing details about your processes, you’ll elevate your research subjects to the role of collaborators—participants will be opinionated, throw your assumptions off guard, and debate your perspectives. That’s a good thing.
Kierstead is very selective about the participants she recruits. You can read about her process for creating research segments based on user types, behavioral characteristics, and past product experiences in this blog post.
In the blog post Kierstead recalls a time when she was conducting research for a company that makes tools for writers. This project took place for an early stage company that was in the process of refining its product/market fit—and Kierstead was struggling to find participants who matched characteristics that the startup wanted to study.
“I did what any desperate researcher does when they’re starting out: I posted on Craigslist,” she writes.
To make the most out of limited time, she brought marketing best practices into her research process. She created a funnel for potential participants. She screened out individuals who just wanted the $40 Amazon gift card that she was offering as compensation.
“I didn’t mention that we were looking for specific types of writers, namely people who write longer works,” she explains. “This meant I could specifically filter my responses.”
She found “great people” to interview using this method—keeping her options open while conducting a wide yet strategic search.
Your research participants are potential ambassadors for your company and have a hand in shaping your product direction. Treat every interaction and point of outreach as a relationship-building opportunity.
Ritika is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Storyhackers. She has studied and practiced user research as part of her work for years and is excited to be diving into the topic here for User Interviews.
Interviewing & Research Skills
April 2, 2020
“Interviewing Users” has in-depth advice for in-person interviews. Learn how to translate those insights to remote interviews and better interview prep.