Tips to Excel at Moderated Interviews

Moderated interviews

One-on-one interviews, or moderated interviews, allows product teams to learn about a person’s habits, behaviors, and emotions. It’s also useful if you want to ask participants about their everyday life, or even walk them through a prototype or website.

Facilitating a session can be stressful so we’ve listed some tips to help you through the process.

  1. Ask your participants if you can record the session. Let them know that it will be for internal research purposes only. This sounds obvious but nothing makes people distrust you faster than finding videos of themselves answering questions on your website.
  2. Ask your participants to speak their thoughts out loud. This will give you a good indication of their thought process and their initial reactions to your prototype or concept. This will also encourage your participants to give their honest reactions.
  3. Remember to listen. You have an agenda and limited time, but when given the freedom, your participants can say really interesting things which can be invaluable.
  4. Open-ended questions will often produce the best results since testers can elaborate on their answers.
  5. When asking participants questions, especially in usability testing, try not to help them answer the questions. I know it can be hard and potentially awkward since no one likes awkward silences. However, allowing the user to work through the task will give you much better insights.
  6. Do not ask leading questions or bias questions. For example, instead of saying “How much do you love the Knicks?”, you should ask “How do you feel about the Knicks?”.
  7. Don’t be offended! This is a hard one, especially if you personally created the designs. You want people to love your product, so it can be hard to hear people’s direct feedback. Just remember that by performing research you are making your product even better. It’s always better to hear the unfiltered feedback early in the design process than to later on wonder why people aren’t using your product.
  8. Technical issues will happen so try not to panic. Just stay calm while you troubleshoot, participants understand when this happens.
  9. Make sure everyone’s computers are muted, and phones are silenced. Phones ringing and computers buzzing are very distracting to the participant. Participants may lose their train of thought, and we don’t want that!
  10. Choose your team’s communication method of choice at the before the session. Whoever sits in on your session should send you questions through the software. We prefer Slack! Take breaks throughout the session to see if your teammates have any questions.
  11. Transcribing the session will help in post-session synthesis. At PlaybookUX, we transcribe and analyze your sessions to save you time and effort.

Let us know what you do to conduct moderated interviews!

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