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10 Tips for Successful User Interviews

Zack Swafford
January 12, 2023
minute read


This article provides tips for conducting successful user interviews as part of the product development process. Some key steps include recruiting extra participants, tailoring the interview approach to the users' specific needs and preferences, being transparent about project goals, avoiding problematic questions, asking follow-up questions, scheduling interviews in a sequence, recording and transcribing interviews, analyzing data, and utilizing a project management tool.

User interviews are invaluable in product development, serving as a powerful tool for businesses to deeply understand their users' needs and expectations. And while there's no definitive way to conduct these interviews, there are some key steps to ensure you get the most insightful results. In this post, we'll explore 10 tips to help you master your user interviews and truly understand your customer base, as well as how Dart’s project management software can enhance team productivity and performance.

10 Tips for Successful User Interviews | Dart Project Management

1. Recruit extra participants

After getting a base set of users, we recommend recruiting extra participants on top of your desired goal number. Last-minute cancellations and no-shows happen more often than you think, regardless of how many times you nudge them. Additionally, it's more likely than expected to have to discard specific findings from an interview due to irrelevant responses.

2. Understand your audience

Various participants may react better to different interview styles, with some favoring visual aids while others may prefer structured, directed sessions. As such, tailoring the interview approach to the users’ specific needs and preferences would help maximize engagement and obtain valuable user insights.

3. Craft a comprehensive interview guide

An interview guide is essentially just some pre-meditated notes outlining the questions that you want to ask during the interview and reminding you where you want to steer the conversation. Assessing your objectives and formulating a comprehensive interview guide ensures that user interviews yield the best results. This approach will ensure that all relevant topics are covered and that no critical information is missed. Perhaps more importantly, having a consistent guide across all of your interviews will ensure that you can make fair comparisons between the different sessions.

4. Be transparent about project goals

Being transparent and truthful about the project’s objectives right from the outset will help establish trust with your participants, encouraging them to provide more authentic and accurate responses. It's always best to start on the right foot, and being upfront about your intentions is an excellent way to do so.

5. Avoid possibly problematic questions

Asking too many questions at once can easily confuse the participant and decrease the effectiveness of the interview. Instead, focus on asking one thing at a time and encourage thoughtful responses to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. It’s imperative to not ask leading questions so as to keep the user’s answers as unbiased as possible. Another helpful tip is always to ask the interviewee, "Is there anything we didn't cover today that you'd like to add?" when the interview ends, as this can prevent you from missing out on important information.

6. Ask follow-up questions

Asking follow-up questions such as, "Can I ask for clarification on that point?" or "Could you provide an example?" will facilitate a more extensive understanding of the interviewee's answers and enhance the quality of the interview. Don’t just move on whenever a short quip is given; there is often room to dig in and learn more.

7. Schedule interviews in a sequence

It is highly recommended to distribute your interviews in a well-spaced manner, so you can have ample time to contemplate your approach and decide if any alterations are required. In addition it is advisable to take breaks between interviews to aid in this process.

8. Record and transcribe all interview recordings

Recording and transcribing your user interviews guarantees a more manageable time analyzing the data. We  recommend transcribing the recording as soon as the interview completes, so you can start identifying analytical structures and comparing the experiences of different interviewees.

9. Analyze data

Thorough data analysis allows for the identification of any areas that require improvement. It is advisable to meticulously examine user feedback to uncover patterns and trends that may yield valuable insights.

10. Utilize a project management tool

A project management tool can significantly assist in simplifying the process of interviewing users. With the help of today's advanced tools, you can automate arduous manual tasks and monitor progress. This can free up a great amount of time for you to concentrate on more critical matters. 

Dart offers a powerful system that can streamline your workflow, save precious time, and accelerate your task planning. Additionally, with the capabilities of Dart GPT-4 to learn your team’s patterns, you can even automate tasks and avoid the common challenges associated with project management. Sign up for Dart today!