Picture of guy I interviewed

Interviewing is a form of Qualitative user research, and was the first one we explored in methods.

It is best used when you have to get quality data fast.

The nature of this method is a user research method, because it helps you do research and learn more. The context for this method is really almost anything, its a powerhouse of a method that can be used to help out any other method to gain more information.

Description of the Method

Basic description

"Interviews are a fundamental research method for direct contact with participants, to collect
firsthand personal accounts of experience, opinions, attitudes, and perceptions."
- Martin and Hanington, Universal Methods of design

This is a very basic method of research, one of most commonly done for primary research, just from the ease of doing it. It is almost as basic as you can get when it comes to qualitative users research. To the point that I wont go to much in detail about what it actually is because I will never forgot what an interview is, because everyone knows the basics of how to interview people. I even knew it before I got here, and I knew next to nothing about primary research before I took this class.

Hit and run interviews are fast interviews where you just literally find people out and public and attempt to interview them. Getting the subject comfortable with them talking to you could be harder due to this, since you get a lot less time to get to know them.

They are also good to get more information out after another method. For instance, in the Diary Studies, you learned a lot from the subject just through the diary they kept, and then you can use a interview afterwards to build a better understanding why they wrote that down, give more details of what they wrote down, and more.

Actually Doing the method

For interviews, there is many different ways to do the method, but ill just give the basic format. First, you find someone you want to talk to based off what you want to know. Before you go, you should probably have some questions prepared, but be prepare to also go off script and ask questions based on their answers.

Before the interview, try to build somewhat of a bond so the interview is more loose and natural. During the actual interview, do a mixture of pre-made questions and off the script questions. Be sure to also note down body language and the way they are saying what they are saying. If you can record them during the interview, do that, so you can go back and check these things out later in case you missed something.

Positives and negatives


  • The nice thing about Interviews is they are quick, easy, and get a lot of information in a short amount of time.
  • They are also amazing to get more information out after another method.
  • Can help build report with the subject before another method


  • Have to build report with the people fast, getting them comfortable talking to you could be hard.
  • You can only get information that the person you are talking to is willing to give.
  • Information could just be lost, from what they forgot, visual descriptions of items, how other people feel around them, etc.

Tips and Tricks

  • Do not be too leading. You want the interviewee to get to their own answers, and not be accidentally swayed by the question you asked. 
  • Its always good to jump on areas of the conversation that seems interesting. If the interviewee briefly mentions something that sounds interesting, try to push on it, or ask more questions about that to try to get more information out of them.
  • Read the persons body language. This tells you information that they are not saying, or showing how much they actually care about the interview.

Project we used it for

The project I used it in was almost all of them in the long run, but the one that centered around using it was the first one, using hit and run interviews to find out things about comfort. Due to not understanding the assignment completely, the first run on this was a bust, due to me thinking we were only allowed to ask 2 questions, the ones provided for us. Because of that, I didn't learn much that I didn't already know, which was that its stupid to only ask 2 questions. Actually kind of thought that was going to be the whole lesson of the thing, that its a bad idea to only ask two questions.

I ended up interviewing two new people for the resubmit, and got way better information. One of them almost became a group interview, with other people chiming in around them.

I have had many other experiences with interviewing through this semester from this class and experience design, and I think I am way better at it then I was before.

Hughes's corner

I really like interviews, think they are really useful, and basically use it in all the other methods. It is the most dynamic method I think, and can be used to make all the other methods even better. Its so simple, but so powerful. For that reason, it may be one of my favorite methods we talked about, if not my straight up favorite overall.

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