Run effective user interviews

When should you conduct user interviews

User interviews are effective when you need to understand your users on a deeper level.

Whether you’re a start-up founder, product manager, designer, user researcher, or some one else on a product team, you know that understanding your users is key to creating a product they love and share with everyone they know.

One of the most effective ways to gain these invaluable insights is through user interviews.  Whether you're new to user research or looking to refine your approach, this guide will provide you with the knowledge you need to make your user interviews a success.

One of the first questions you might ask is when should you conduct a user interview? Are they good any time? Is there a time when you shouldn’t run user interviews?

The tldr is that, user interviews are effective when you need to understand your users on a deeper level.

You can walk in their shoes.

Do you know your users?

I know, this is a very broad question.

So, let’s break this down.

Could you describe your different user types/personas?

And then in your own words could you walk someone through each user type workflow and how your product fits in and helps them?

If the answer is no, that might be because you’re new to a company. In that case, user interviews where you get to know them, their workflow as it relates to your product, and general why they use and what value they get out of it.

In a perfect world, your organization will have already conducted these interviews, recorded them, and saved them in a research repository somewhere where you can just go and watch them.

If you do know your customers, you will want to run user interviews as you’re considering a change to your product. This could be adding a feature, changing pricing, or something else.

Whatever that change is user interviews can be critical to ensuring you go in the right direction.

Depending on the change you’re thinking about making, when you conduct user interviews might vary. For the most part though, you want to conduct user interviews after you’ve gathered data around user patterns and have some specific questions you want to dive into understanding.

For example, this might be looking through your product analytics for specific behavior patterns or activity. Another common scenario is after running a micro-survey, you want to interview those who responded a certain way to the micro survey.

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