This short insight is from of our Methods series: A discussion of useful working practices and ideas for better ideation and execution.  We discuss what each method is, why they are useful, and how to utilize them.

What.

A set of semi-structured interviews with the stakeholders in the project and the users.

Why.

To understand the problem and form an appropriate objective.

How.

  1. Compile a list of topics and questions you would like to ask and some specific questions as a backup. The questions are typically about the individual's role, needs, and metrics for success.
  2. Schedule an interview with the participant; either a one-one-one or together with another note-taker or a joint-interviewer. Brief the participants on the purpose of the interview, and pay careful attention to the phrasing of questions to avoid prompting any potential bias from responses.
  3. Allow the participants to take you along their answers. Be comfortable with silence as it can allow participants to elaborate on their priorities and interests. Use your structured-questions as a guide to keep you on track. Ask a lot of 'whys' and 'hows'.

Note: If you are analysing your product or service, it may be of interest to also form a comparative analysis by using a competitors product/service and following the same three steps.

Further Thoughts.

Having a successful structure for interviews is complemented by the right sample audience. When defining your audience, it may be tempting to test as many people as possible to find an accurate average result...however, we have explored some useful statistical practices and found five users to be a 'magic number'.

As explained in our approach to usability testing insight, lots of small tests with five users gives you the best return on your time and money. Any more testing after this and you're getting diminishing returns for your investment of time and effort.

Our Approach to Usability Testing.
At Mäd, we spend a lot of time testing the various products that we build on behalf of our clients, and we spend lots of time thinking of the best way to go about it. Here we share our best practices and why usability testing can be somewhat counterintuitive.