Interviewing Users

by katystreet

By Steve Portigal.

Silas’ roommate Sarah recommended this book to me. I read it to prepare for interviewing people about jewelry and electronic accessories like activity trackers, watches. I thought it was not as good as Just Enough Research — it was a little less mean and lean. It also mostly spoke to a circumstance I don’t expect to be in: interviewing users in their homes that have been recruited by a recruiting agency. In my case, I expect to interview friends and acquaintances, probably in coffee shops. But it was still a good, fast read that gave me some insight on how to interview users.

It helped me think more broadly about the kinds of questions I should ask, how to get a larger sense of users’ interactions with the world. It confirmed my sense that being quiet is important, as is attentiveness, trying to turn up ‘blank’ and unassuming, and preparing for the interview with a guide or set up of questions. It also makes me think I should record my interviews, since taking detailed notes is disruptive and often things becomes clearer the second time they are heard. I wish he had spoken a bit more about analyzing interviews, though I understand that wasn’t what the book was about. He touches on it briefly but basically says you should read another book about that.

It reminded me that my experience interviewing my fellow yoga teacher trainees was a good practice in interviewing that will probably help with this different kind of interviewing I’m interested in now.