Bowing Down First — How to get the best out of a user interview

Bowing Down First — How to get the best out of a user interview

You need them to bring out their thoughts and being the interviewer, you have to take the backseat…

It’s your turn soon, your heart is racing, palms are sweaty, you feel dizzy and it seems that you forgot what all you had prepared. You finally come on to the podium and connect your laptop to the projector. The presentation starts and you finally lift your eyes to the audience….and everything goes blank.

A couple of seconds and senses fight to come back. Your mouth is as dry as a desert but you finally start to speak. There is so much in the mind but very few make it to being words. Halfway through and you are now a bit comfortable but you still try to play safe with what you say. You don’t want to commit any kind of mistake, say anything that might make a joke out of you, or reveal something that you truly believe in, that nobody would understand.

At the end, the presentation goes fine, but it is something to forget. Your mind kept replaying the last 20 minutes regretting all those moments where you had something more to say, an intriguing story to tell or humor to dispense. You stayed in the safe zone, said what was expected from you and failed to make an impact.

I guess most people can relate to this feeling, but in this scenario it is not you, it is your User.

After interviewing a sizable amount of people, I have come to understand how intimidating the word ‘Interview’ is for the user. They get self-conscious and are not their true self while getting interviewed. This leads to not getting proper or correct information. It’s as if they don’t want to say anything wrong. But there is no right or wrong when you are researching. There are only facts and they have to be unearthed with subtlety. It’s not a question of using the word ‘interview’ but more about how it is conducted. A person under the stress of judgement will not reveal complete information and their unique biases.

My personal journey in life has made me realize that I am a good listener. So good that I feel I take a backseat during most of the conversations. But in that backseat I get to hear amazing stories and profound wisdom. It makes people comfortable and lets them express their thoughts much clearer and in return, I connect with them and make good relationships.

“Interviews” have to be conducted in similar manner where the user doesn’t feel like they are being judged or questioned. You need them to bring out their thoughts and being the interviewer, you have to take the backseat.

ux user-research user-experience interview ux-design

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