User Interview

A user-centered design research method that is conducted within the user’s normal environment. It includes a one-on-one interview with a user and then an observation session of how they complete tasks to solve their problems.

Research Details

Research Type Sample Size Session Time
Qualitative, Attitudinal, Generative Medium (10 - 15 participants) 30 to 60 minutes

When to Use

  1. To understand how users feel about your product.
  2. To understand how users user our products.


  1. Identify the users you’d like to speak with.
  2. Write an introduction of you, the goal of the research, and to make the user comfortable and let them know that you want their honest feedback.
  3. Prepare a set of questions you’d like to ask. Start by asking broad questions about the person’s life, values, and habits, before asking more specific questions that relate directly to your product. Focus questions on how they interact with or use your product, and what they like and dislike about it.
  4. Schedule an appropriate time for all participants and reserve a private room for the interview.
  5. Make sure you have equipment to record the interview. Video is more valuable than audio only.
  6. Divide research among at least two: a facilitator and a note taker. Other team members can capture insights as they listen.

5 Whys Technique

Leverage the 5 Whys Technique to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem or user behavior. 5 Whys is an iterative interrogative technique used to determine the root cause by repeating the question “Why?” five times.


  1. Focus on a recent memory of a single moment rather than a generalizable feeling (“How was your last shift?” Vs “What have your shift experiences been like?”)
  2. Avoid leading questions (“How was your last shift? vs “Do you have a good experience on your last shift?”)
  3. Ask open-ended questions and avoid questions with yes/no answers.
  4. Be aware of status. For example, lower your status by lowering your changing, making yourself small, using a softer tone and talking as if you didn’t do the work to build the participant up to make them more confident in giving honest feedback.
  5. Consider the environment as an important factor. Have the chairs seated next to each other to be like peers, minimal equipment, and limit other people in the room.
  6. Backward Research Technique - Determine what the report should look like before conducting research. Focus on what the the results have to provide to make decisions. Reference




  1. Interview Script
  2. Research Plan

Created by: Joe Steinkamp | Last updated by: Joe Steinkamp