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When to use interviews:

  • When you're conducting needs finding
  • When you want to see how someone works in their environment
  • When you want to access the needs, tools, and workflows of your user or target customer
  • When you want to gather detailed information on attitudes, desires, and experiences from your user or target customer


  • Between 5 and 8 people is a good number to aim for when you're conducting a quick set of interviews
  • Schedule more people than you need to talk to. There's usually at least one person who forgets and runs into scheduling conflicts.
  • You may need to recruit from an existing user email list, from social networks, from family and friends, or from other interest groups.
  • If you're providing compensation of some sort, things like Amazon gift cards, prepaid debit cards, and Starbucks cards can be sent digitally.
  • If you're providing some form of compensation or reward in person, you may consider food (free lunch!), coffee/beverages, company swag, or checks ($$) as options.

Game Plan

  • Create a screener survey that you can post online or send around. Be sure to gather contact info, and follow up with anyone who you'd like to schedule for an interview.
  • Send a confirmation email to everyone you want to schedule telling them their interview time and explaining how they can join the interview (phone number, web link).
  • Prepare some questions for the interview. Consider starting with something more general and open-ended, then moving into questions that get more specific, and wrapping up with a "big change" question.
  • Ideally get at least two people involved to help with the interview: one person to ask the questions and one person to take notes.
  • Prepare audio and/or video solutions to record the interview.
  • Take time after the sessions to debrief and list out high-level thoughts.


  • With quick user interviews, you can pull a whole session together in a week.
  • Once you have your recruitment survey, allow between a few days to a week to recruit and schedule people.
  • During this time you can be writing your questions.
  • Ideally, you can schedule your interviews together in blocks.
  • If you expect to spend 15 minutes doing an interview, leave yourself a 30 minute window. If you expect to spend 30 minutes doing an interview, leave yourself a 45 minute window.