Planning your User Interview

When it comes to running an effective User Interview, a little planning can go a long way. We’ve outlined some points to help kickstart your planning. Whether you’re a seasoned user researcher, or new to engaging with assistive technology users, we hope this leaves you excited about including diverse perspectives in your research!

In this article, we’ll cover the following common questions:

An illustration style avatar of a brunette female wearing round glasses and a red shirt with white collar.

Jennifer, Researcher @ Fable

“Remember, all interviews through Fable are recorded, so if there are other people who might like to see the interview, you can easily share the recording with them afterwards!”

What if I’ve never engaged with assistive technology users before?

Maybe you’re a seasoned user researcher, but you’ve never done a user interview with a participant using assistive technology. No need to worry! Approach this interview as you would any other—with respect and true curiosity. You can find more tips in this article: ‘The top five things you should know when working with people with a disability’.

What’s your goal?

To begin, think about what you want to accomplish with your user interview. What do you hope to learn? Are you looking to:

  • understand your users and their needs? 
  • understand assistive technology in general?
  • gain a better understanding of a known issue with your product? 
  • uncover new issues? 

Keep in mind, all Fable user interviews are one hour long, so you can do some combination of these within a single interview. If you have many goals, you might consider scheduling several interviews.

What’s the best format?

Once you’ve determined your goal(s), think about how you might design your interview, in order to reach them. You might use a semi-structured interview format, or ask users to complete tasks while thinking aloud— or some combination of these formats!

Task-oriented

Do you want direct feedback on particular aspect(s) of your product? Would it be helpful to see and hear an assistive technology user interacting with your product directly? 

If so, consider developing some tasks for your Fable community member to complete during the session. 

You might ask yourself “What are the most common, or most important, tasks people need to complete in order to successfully use this product?”. This could include tasks like:

  • Creating an account
  • Logging in
  • Locating specific information

While completing these tasks, prompt the tester to share their thoughts aloud, while also sharing their screen with you. For screen reader users, this will include sharing screen reader output, too. 

If you’d like a tester’s feedback as you go through tasks, it’s important to specify the kind of feedback you’d like. Communicating this helps to make effective use of your time together!

  • Do you want to know when a particular interaction feels out-of-the-ordinary? Or only when something’s problematic? 
  • Are you in the early stages of product development, where you can revamp entire features? Do you want high-level feedback? 
  • Or are you in a later stage, where changes might only take the form of smaller tweaks?

Free-form

Do you want to learn about a particular assistive technology and how it works, in general? Would it be helpful to hear first impressions or general thoughts about an aspect of your product? With these types of goals, open-ended questions might be an approach to take. Consider developing a list of potential interview questions. During a session, you can take advantage of the open-endedness— delving into a topic in greater detail, if it turns out to be something particularly relevant.

Consider what you might want to know about assistive technology users and their experience, as it relates to your product. Are you keen to learn more about users’:

  • Assistive technology and how it works? <