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Diving Deep: Uncovering Hidden Insights Through User Interviews

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User interviews are a great technique for getting to know your target audience. However, sometimes people don’t feel comfortable answering questions from a researcher completely honestly. Other times they don’t know how to articulate exactly what they need, want, or feel.

We will examine research from psychology and market research to understand techniques for interviews to help you uncover insights beyond people’s superficial answers. We’ll explore conversation theory, projective techniques such as image associations, collaging, and others to encourage participants to share their stories. You'll learn to uncover hidden, actionable insights to fuel your designs.

Veröffentlicht in: Design

Diving Deep: Uncovering Hidden Insights Through User Interviews

  1. 1. PREPARED BY UNCOVERING HIDDEN INSIGHTS THROUGH USER INTERVIEWS Susan Mercer, Experience Research Director March 8, 2016
  2. 2. • BA and MSc in Geophysics • 20 years in software and web UI and UX design • Developer • Designer • Web Producer • Product Manager • Researcher • MS Human Factors in Information Design, Bentley University • Twitter: @susanAmercer INTRODUCTION Susan Mercer 2
  3. 3. HxRefactored.com Healthcare & Design Conference
  4. 4. HxRefactored.com Healthcare & Design Conference • Workshops: • Design Studio: Building Design Consensus Into Your Process • Experience Strategy: Storytelling, Journey Mapping, and Service Design • Designing Motivational Interventions for Behavior Change: A Self-Determination Theory Approach • Human-Centered Design Bootcamp & User Shark Tank for Startups • Closing Keynote: • MA Governor Charlie Baker – Talking about the Opioid Crisis and how we can help tackle the problem
  5. 5. DIVING DEEP: UNCOVERING HIDDEN TRUTHS
  6. 6. Marketing Research & User Research 6 Marketing Research User Research Preferences Attitudes Purchasing Behaviors Use Behaviors Context of Use Actions Usefulness Emotional Reactions Engagement Motivations
  7. 7. To elicit honest stories in an unbiased manner. INTERVIEWING BEST PRACTICES What is our Interviewing Goal? 7
  8. 8. To elicit honest stories in an unbiased manner. INTERVIEWING BEST PRACTICES What is our Interviewing Goal? 8 Participant Researcher
  9. 9. A study found 60% of people told an average of 3 lies to a stranger in the first 10 minutes of meeting1 INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES It’s not easy being honest 91 Feldman, R.S., Forrest, J.A., and Happ, B. R. (2002) Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 24(2), 163-170.
  10. 10. INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES Understatements, Exaggerations, Concealments 10 http://popchartlab.tumblr.com/post/35563754790/the-map-of-truth-and-deception-a-visual
  11. 11. It’s not easy: • We want to make ourselves sound better (Social Desirability bias) • We want to please the researcher (Researcher Acceptance bias) • We may not remember everything • We may not be fully conscious of our own motivations for our behaviors INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES Eliciting Honest Stories 11
  12. 12. INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES Maslow’s Hierarchy 12 http://liveitloveitblogit.com/2012/04/maslows-hierarchy-of-needs/
  13. 13. 1. Set the stage for the interview 2. Encourage them to tell their stories 3. Be neutral, accepting and non-judgmental 4. Help them uncover their answers INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES Belonging and Safety – Make the Interview Feel Safe and Accepted 13
  14. 14. An interview is a conversation…sort of • Casual conversations have “unwritten” rules 1 • Speakers take turns • It’s polite to balance speaking and listening • It’s polite for both parties to ask questions • An interview is a lop-sided conversation • One party asks questions, the other answers them • Explaining the process builds rapport & increases interviewee comfort2 INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 1. Set the Stage for the Interview 141 Tannen, D. (2005). Conversational Style: Analyzing Talk among Friends. Oxford University Press, USA. 2 Vallano, J.P. and N.S. Compo (2015), Psychology Public Policy and Law, 21(1), 85-99.
  15. 15. • Provide a high-level focus for the interview • “Today, I’d like to understand your experience visiting the museum.” • “I’d like to talk about your experiences with understanding and using your health insurance plan.” • Don’t reveal details, so you don’t bias their answers • If they know what you want to learn, they may change their answers to please you • This is called Researcher Acceptance Bias INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 1. Set the Stage for the Interview 151 Randall, D.M. and M.F. Fernandes, Journal of Business Ethics, 10(11), 805-817.
  16. 16. • Let them know you are neutral and need to hear positive and negative experiences • “I don’t work for <company>, so feel free to tell me the good and the bad things.” • “I didn’t design this website, so if you like it, you won’t make me feel good; if you don’t like it, it won’t hurt my feelings.” • This helps reduce Researcher Acceptance Bias INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 1. Set the Stage for the Interview 16
  17. 17. • Explicitly acknowledge that you want to understand their personal experience • “We are here to learn how everyday people do their shopping. Everyone is different, and we want to understand what works best for you.” • “If I wanted to know how I’m supposed to use this injection pen, I would have read the instructions. I’m here to learn how you use it in your world.” • This helps to reduce Social Desirability Bias INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 1. Set the Stage for the Interview 17
  18. 18. • Show interest • Maintain eye contact • Use open body language, face the interviewee and lean in slightly • Really Listen • “Listening is a positive act: you have to put yourself out to do it.” – David Hockney • “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” – Stephen R. Covey • Listen with your whole body • Give the interviewee your full attention INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 2. Encourage them to tell their stories 18
  19. 19. • Use conversational tokens • “Mhmm” or “Uh huh” used in an interview situation • Resulted in interviewees replies increasing by 31% 1 • Use body language • Head nodding while the interviewee is speaking • Resulted in interviewees replies increasing by 50% 2 INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 2. Encourage them to tell their stories 191 Matarazzo, J.D, Saslow, G., Wiens, A.N., Weitman, M. & Allen, B.V. (1963), Psychotherapy 1(1), 54-63. 2 Matarazzo, J.D., Wiens, A.N., Saslow, G., Allen, B.V. & Weitman, M. (1964), Psychotherapy 1(3) 109-113.
  20. 20. • Use silence • “People speak in paragraphs.” – Steve Portigal • People generally dislike silence • If you pause, they will continue to speak • Sometimes that extra information will be really valuable INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 2. Encourage them to tell their stories 20 1 Portigal, S. (2013) Interviewing Users, Rosenfeld Media.
  21. 21. • Ask non-leading open-ended questions • “Who is involved with making decisions about health insurance?” • “What is one thing you would change in your home?” • “When was the last time you reviewed your financial portfolio?” • “Where do you store your medications?” • “How do you know when it’s time to renew your medications?” INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 3. Be neutral, accepting and non-judgmental 211 Tannen, D. (2005). Conversational Style: Analyzing Talk among Friends. Oxford University Press, USA. 2 Vallano, J.P. and N.S. Compo (2015), Psychology Public Policy and Law, 21(1), 85-99.
  22. 22. • Use “soft” questions to avoid judgments • Example: Why don’t HIV patients take their medications 100% of the time? • There are subtle emotional undercurrents here, so tread lightly • Ask about the topic from multiple angles: • “When was the last time you missed taking a pill?” • “What kept you from taking it?” • “Where are you when you take your pills?” • “What time(s) of day do you take them?” • “What do you think about when you take your pills?” • Once a participant shuts down, it’s hard to get them talking again INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 3. Be neutral, accepting and non-judgmental 22
  23. 23. • Being neutral is important to minimize Researcher Acceptance Bias • Avoid responses indicating: • Agreement - “Good”, “Great”, “Perfect”, etc. • Disagreement - “Hmmm.”, “Really?”, etc. • Unexpected answers – “Oh!”, “Interesting”, etc. • Use neutral responses: • “Mhmm”, “Uh huh”, “Continue”, “Tell me more”, etc. INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 3. Be neutral, accepting and non-judgmental 23
  24. 24. • Being accepting and non-judgmental is key to building trust • You asked them to share their story, feelings, motivations, etc. • Their values may be different from yours, accept their truth. • Sometimes, some self-revelation on sensitive topics can make them feel more comfortable 1 • “I understand that it’s hard to be perfect when losing weight. I struggle with that too.” • “I appreciate you sharing your challenges with paying your bills this month. It’s something I’ve struggled with before too.” • This can also help combat Social Desirability Bias INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 3. Be neutral, accepting and non-judgmental 241 Vallano, J.P. and N.S. Compo (2015), Psychology Public Policy and Law, 21(1), 85-99.
  25. 25. • Be prepared for anything • Opinions on gun control while discussing refilling prescriptions • Strong opinions against evolution being taught in a science museum • An nervous gay man explaining that searching for a doctor who is gay-friendly is an important feature on his health insurer’s website INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 3. Be neutral, accepting and non-judgmental 25
  26. 26. • Sometimes we don’t remember things when asked • Sometimes an honest answer is “I don’t know”, or “I can’t remember” • Focus on a specific experience • Focusing on a specific, recent experience can help people remember details • This often provides more concrete information than generalities • “Tell me about the last time you went grocery shopping – what was your biggest headache?” • “Think about the last time you went to the dentist – what were you feeling when you walked into the office?” INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 4. Help Them Uncover Their Answers 26
  27. 27. • Leverage recognition over recall • Neuroimaging shows that recognizing information requires less brain activity than recalling information 1 • Also, our brains store information in networks • So, thinking about “leaves” can quickly remind you of trees, plants, flowers, daisies, and the color green. INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 4. Help Them Uncover Their Answers 27 1 Cabeza, R., et al. (1997), Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 9, 254-265.
  28. 28. • Use photos to prompt their memory • Show a series of photos and ask the interviewee to set aside photos related to the topic • Example: “Set aside any photos that remind you of taking your injections.” • Have the interviewee tell the story of why they selected each photo INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 4. Help Them Uncover Their Answers 28
  29. 29. INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 4. Help Them Uncover Their Answers 29
  30. 30. • Key Themes (Rheumatoid Arthritis patients) • Enjoying physical activities again – less pain means I can kayak again • Regaining a sense of independence – I can pump my own gas again • Enjoying Family – I can do activities with my family again • Key Themes (Multiple Sclerosis Patients) • Concern about Future Health - How long do I have to be healthy? • Uncertainty that Medicine is Working – It’s a crapshoot • Enjoying Family – I want to enjoy my family activities as long as I can INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 4. Help Them Uncover Their Answers 30
  31. 31. • Use collaging to help them articulate their values and motivations • Provide photos, art supplies, flipchart paper • Provide a focus: “Create a collage about what saving energy means to you” • Let them create it • Have them tell the story of the collage INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 4. Help Them Uncover Their Answers 31
  32. 32. INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 4. Help Them Uncover Their Answers 32
  33. 33. • Key Themes • People feel saving energy is important for the environment • Several said they didn’t know if they were saving enough to make a difference • Several renters wanted to save energy, but didn’t get feedback information, so they gave up • Many said they don’t make enough of an effort to save energy INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 4. Help Them Uncover Their Answers 33
  34. 34. • Use Laddering to get beyond superficial answers • People often have difficulty expressing their values when asked • People can often articulate attributes of products/services they like • Laddering follows the chain from attributes to values with a series of “Why?” questions INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES 4. Help Them Uncover Their Answers 34 Attribute Consequence Value
  35. 35. • What is the most important feature on this mobile app for ordering pizza? • Why are deals and coupons important to you? • What is it about saving money that is important to you? • Why is it important to save for their college funds? INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES Laddering Interview Example 35 • Deals and Coupons • Because I like to save money, and not have my wife yell at me • We are trying to save as much as we can for the kids’ college funds • Education is expensive, but important. I want my kids to have better jobs than I do Interviewer Participant
  36. 36. INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES Laddering Interview Example 36 • Deals and Coupons • Because I like to save money, and not have my wife yell at me • We are trying to save as much as we can for the kids’ college funds • Education is expensive, but important. I want my kids to have better jobs than I do Participant Attributes Consequences Values
  37. 37. • Designs based on users’ values resonate better than those based on attributes • We could make Deals and Coupons prominent • But, what if… INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES Why use Laddering? 37
  38. 38. 1. Set the stage for the interview 2. Encourage them to tell their stories 3. Be neutral, accepting and non-judgmental 4. Help them uncover their answers INTERVIEWING TECHNIQUES Belonging and Safety – Make the Interview Feel Safe and Accepted 38
  39. 39. • Avoid questions about future behavior • People are really bad at predicting future behavior • Ask about recent past events • Stick to specifics and avoid generalities • People tend to “filter” with generalities and leave out important details • Focus on specific instances of past behavior • Ask questions like “How many times have you forgotten your pills in the last 2 weeks?” • Triangulate with other research methods • Don’t use interviews and surveys alone (self-reported answers) • Observe people in action – usability tests, ethnographic observations METHODOLOGY Other Ways to Encourage Honest Answers
  40. 40. • Self-Reported answers are not 100% reliable • People have difficulty explaining why they do things • They sometimes provide incorrect answers because they don’t know why • But you often get very insightful information • Triangulate with other research methods • Don’t use interviews and surveys alone (self-reported answers) • Observe people in action – usability tests, ethnographic observations • Use other data sources – web analytics, purchasing data, etc. METHODOLOGY Other Ways to Encourage Honest Answers
  41. 41. Thank You Susan Mercer, Experience Research Director smercer@madpow.com

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