Start asking these 5 questions in your research today

We can’t predict future behaviours. But when we ask meaningful questions then we can understand our users better.

Christina Li
Melon Experience Design
2 min readMay 1, 2020


It’s tempting to ask our users future-based questions. They either don’t know the answers to, or feel the need to please you so they say ‘yes’.

For example:

  • “Do you like this product?” — yes
  • “Would you pay for this product?” — yes
  • “Are you going to use this product?” — yes

You can argue that the examples were close-ended questions. And that you can follow up with further questions. But, at this point your users know what you wanted to find out. They might not be completely honest with their answers when you follow up.

Start asking these 5 questions today


Don’t ask if someone is going to pay for your product. Pricing is based on assumptions on your business model and your users, so consider what these assumptions are and how you might validate them first (e.g., what is the typical spend on makeup product in supermarket vs department stores?).

Price point is usually one of the many factors people consider when choosing a product.

Try asking:

  • 1) “What factors do you consider when choosing a product?”
  • 2) “How does this product price point (e.g., a new subscription) compare to other things you pay for? (e.g., Netflix, gym membership, insurance)”

Product use

Don’t ask if people would use your product. The trick is here to recruit users who had experienced a similar situation recently. Or, is a current user of your competition. Their past experiences and knowledge will help you understand if your product works.

Try asking:

  • 3) “Thinking back to your experience in X, would this product have been useful/relevant to you? Why?”
  • 4) “With your experience in competitor A, are there situations when this product would be useful/relevant? How come?”

User’s context

We have a tendency to think about the product as a silo. But, when users engage with your product it is for a moment in time. It is meaningful to think about the context of your users. The before and the after. We often open our conversations with “what do you do?” — this is limiting in understanding context and can alienate users who don’t work. You’re better off understanding how they live their lives.

Try asking:

  • 5) “What keeps you busy?” at the start of your conversation

See this great New York Times post for other small talk suggestions.

What meaningful questions do you use to open up the conversation with your users?

Melon Experience Design help clients gain insights into their customers behaviours. With insights, we can make a positive impact together. Get in touch if you’d like to work with us.



Christina Li
Melon Experience Design

@chrissy0118 | Director @melonxdesign | Service Design & User Research | Traveller | London, UK