For the past several weeks, I have been conducting user interviews for our new project, an enterprise application. I interviewed 3 to 4 people of different levels from each department. Everyone was so cooperative and patiently answering my questions and sharing their thoughts.
Once the interviews were over, they understood the designer is helping them to get their work done faster and better. I am happy they understood what we as designers are trying to achieve.
I interviewed many users, to know what they are doing; how they are doing to get their work done and how do they measure the success. These are the most important information for the designers, which help them to identify the challenges, problems faced by the users and to design a solution.
How do you get this information? By asking the right question, you will get answers for the majority of questions. It is very important to ask the right question to the user. Before going for the interview, prepare the list of questions that you want to ask the user, and review them twice or thrice. Try to ask open ended questions that will help you to get more information from the users, rather than asking close ended questions.
Even though you prepare a set of questions for the user interview, things can change. In my case, when I was interviewing a user, I got the information that is completely irrelevant. Instead of providing the role and kind of work the user is performing in the organisation, the user took this as an opportunity to share about the work experience in the organisation, how the user interacts with other employees. The user started complaining about many things in the organisation.
I was sure this information is not going to help me, but I did not stop asking questions. The questions I prepared were completely different from what I asked. By listening to the user, I soon realized the user is conveying the problems faced in everyday work in a different way. So, during an interview things can go differently, you will not know what kind of users you are going to meet and interview. So prepare yourself for any situation.
Everything that you hear from the user is important. There are some hidden meanings to it. We, as a designer, need to analyze the information that is gathered from the user, to find the problem and give better solutions.
Happy Designing :)