UX research, as a discipline in its own right, has been growing exponentially in the past few years. The benefits are significant - it takes the guesswork out of the product design and development process, reduces costs and time, and makes sure you are designing a product that will draw an audience.

That said, good UX research begins with the right questions.

5 UX Interview Questions to Ask

1. What is your professional background?
Start with the basic warm-up questions that your respondents don’t have to think too much about. This will help them feel more at ease with you - and get them talking as you go on.

2. Why are you using this product / feature? What issue are you trying to solve?
Ask questions to uncover your users' intentions, unfulfilled needs and potential opportunities. The answers to these form the basis of any market research and ultimately translate into better user experience and future product development.

3. How was your experience the last time you used this (specific) feature?
People tend to better recall their past experiences when thinking about a specific moment in time - which results in answers that are less generic and more of value to you as a researcher.

4. That’s interesting. Could you elaborate on that / give me an example?
Ask follow-up questions when needed. They can help to dig deeper, clarify what the respondent has said and provide additional insight.

5. Before we wrap this up - is there anything that you would like to add?
As pointed out by Stéphanie Walter (UX Researcher and Product Designer), it is much more likely that your respondents will think of something out of the blue at the very end rather than the initial stages of the interview. Often times they will remember something they intended to bring up, or revise a previous statement that has been bothering them up to this point - be sure they have the opportunity to voice it before you wrap it all up.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, wrong UX research questions can rob you of real insight into how your users go about performing their tasks and what they essentially want out of your product - which inevitably means the loss of time and increased costs. Let’s have a look at some examples to steer clear of here.

UX Research

5 UX Interview Questions to Avoid

1. Do you like this feature?
Let’s start with an example of a generic close-ended question. While asking a question like this is not a problem in itself - as it could help with statistical data and quantitative analysis – it does deprive you of the insights which you as a UX researcher are most likely looking for. And while it might be helpful to know if your respondents like the feature or not, the most useful knowledge is "why". This objective could be accomplished by asking: Which things do you like the best about it? or What would you most want to change about it?

2. Do you find this feature frustrating to use?
This is a typically misleading (or biased) question - one the most common pitfalls that researchers tend to fall into. It right away focuses the respondent’s mind on the possibility of feeling frustrated with the feature when perhaps they initially did not see any major flaws with it – and that might deprive you as a researcher of genuine answers and authentic individual input. A good way to rephrase this would be: How was your experience when using this feature?

3. Do you think the website should have more content and features?
This is an example of a double-barreled question - it touches upon several issues at once but only allows for one answer. A typical answer in this case would be yes - but yes to what exactly? To more content and more features, or more content but same amount of features, or vice versa? The solution here would be to simply break down the question into two parts - ask about the content and the features separately.

4. Would you pay for such a feature if we offered it?
People are usually not great at predicting the future. Thus, asking them about what they would do or how they would feel about something is pointless. Eliminate questions that start with the words would or will. Instead, concentrate on how your respondents are solving problems today, ask about their current (real) problems that you think your future feature will solve (without referring to it directly).

5. What was your initial experience of going through our clickstream?
Avoid terminology that may only be used and understood by other UX professionals. It confuses your respondents as they may not know what these terms mean and often times feel too uncomfortable to openly point that out.

With all that said, no matter how much you think you know about your audience, well thought-out and structured UX research has the power of validating your assumptions before getting into the design process and, thus, helping you avoid potential costly missteps and lost time. So, think about the scope of your research and about your key objectives, and plan out your questionnaire accordingly. We hope our tips will help you get there.

If you have any ideas, questions or would just like to share your project with us at SOHO Creative Group – you can always reach out to us here.