Get to know your customers by sitting down and chatting with them. User interviews are great for generating ideas by talking to potential customers, evaluating a new product or design, or keeping up with how your customers feel about your product right now. Our launch kit has 3 pieces to help you launch an amazing user interview study.
If you're ready to get started, you can go ahead and start recruiting participants for your user interview study. We've preloaded your study with most of the information you'll need to get started, and set it for 5 one-hour interviews, conducted online. You can change any of the preloaded information (except the online format) to fit your specific needs. You can save your study as a draft and launch it whenever you're ready.
User interviews are interviews you conduct with current or potential users of your product. Pretty straightforward right? Right! User interviews are one of the most common types of qualitative user research, and they're flexible enough to help teams solve a variety of problems.
User interviews are typically 30 minute to hour long sessions, in which a moderator asks a user questions from a pre-determined interview guide (which this template will help you build). Typically, a second person from your team will take notes about the users answers, so the moderator can focus on the user. It's a pretty simple structure, and an easy way for teams to start gathering qualitative research.
There are two types of user research - evaluative and generative. Evaluative research helps you evaluate an idea you already have, like walking through a prototype. Generative research helps you generate new ideas by learning something new, like what your customers biggest pain points are. While user interviews can fall into either of these categories, it's important to know which one your study fits into. This will help you ask the right questions during the session, choose the right users to talk to, and get better feedback.
This template provides a run-down for basic user interviews. It works best when you're just trying to learn about your target audience, generate new ideas, or get a gut-check on your thinking around a topic. If you have a more targeted objective, we have some great templates for specific types of interviews:
With user interviews, you can answer almost any qualitative research question that's thrown your way. Qualitative means it's answered with words, not numbers. So while user interviews can't tell you how many people completed your signup process, they can help you understand why people left your signup process early. Typically, user interviews are a piece of your research puzzle. You may supplement them with qualitative analysis, like looking at your sites metrics.
When you're deciding what questions to answer with any research, it's good to choose a question that is specific, actionable, and practical. This means it's specific enough to know when you've found the answer, actionable in that you can do something about it, and practical in that you can reasonably answer it with research. So, you can't reasonably answer "Why don't people buy my product?" because it's not specific, actionable, or practical. There could be many different reasons people aren't buying your product, and covering them all in one study wouldn't be practical or give you actionable results.
A better question may be, "Does my pricing page accurately answer my users questions?", or "Why do people in my target market choose X competitor over my product?". Both of these questions could be answered with user interviews, and your team would have a clear path to action once the study was complete.
That depends on your research question, it could be anyone from millennials in Boston to home owners in LA. It's really who could best answer your research question. We've found it's best to keep your actual participant requirements as loose as possible, ex. "I want to talk to people between the ages of 20 and 30 in Boston" rather than "I want to talk to people between the ages of 20 and 30 in Boston who live in this exact zip code, get brunch at this exact restaurant, and own a dog thats 6+ years old." Think about the minimum requirements for your study, rather than the maximum. Does it really matter if they live one zip code over? Or if their dog is 5 years old? If it does, absolutely include that in your criteria, but if it's just a nice-to-have, don't make it a requirement.
User interviews can be as long or as short as you'd like, but typically, we find that 30 minutes is about the right amount of time for a user interview. It gives you enough time to spend a few minutes at the beginning warming up and getting comfortable with the user participating. It's also short enough that it's not a huge time commitment from you or the user participating.
Of course, if you feel like doing a 15 minute, 45 minute, or even hour long user interview, that's perfectly ok too!
The questions you ask during your interview depend on your research question. That will likely be specific to your team and product, but there are a few good rules of thumb and we have a whole list of interview questions to get your gears turning. Here's some of our tips:
Still need something to get your brain in the interview question space? Here's our list of user interview questions.
We've got a template for that! Our note-taking template makes it easy to take quick and organized notes during an interview session. It also makes it easy to pull out specific answers and tidbits from each interview.
We recommend bringing someone else on your team along for the research ride to take notes, so you can focus on moderating the session and asking your participant good follow up questions. We also recommend recording your interviews, so you can look back on them later. It's also helpful to pull clips from research interviews to present to stakeholders.
We've got a template for that too! The easiest way to organize the feedback you get during your user interviews is to use our insights template to quickly categorize your notes after each session. We've been using this approach for our own internal user interviews, and have found it only takes about five minutes to fill out after each session. If you're using our question picker and note taking templates as well, it will automatically fill as you do your research.