We tech writers need to know what our readers need. One of the simplest ways to find out is to just ask the users. However, the most obvious questions aren’t necessarily the best ones. Today, I look at some questions that don’t work as well as you might think.
A major impediment in global user interface development is that there is inadequate empirical evidence for the effects of culture in the usability engineering methods used for developing these global user interfaces. This paper presents a controlled study investigating the effects of culture on the effectiveness of structured interviews in international usability evaluation. The experiment consisted of a usability evaluation of a website with two independent groups of Indian participants. Each group had a different interviewer; one belonging to the Indian culture and the other to the Anglo-American culture. The results show that participants found more usability problems and made more suggestions to an interviewer who was a member of the same (Indian) culture than to the foreign (Anglo-American) interviewer. The results of the study empirically establish that culture significantly affects the efficacy of structured interviews during international user testing. The implications of this work for usability engineering are discussed.
An interview is a funny situation. It's like a friendly conversation between strangers, but unlike the kind you may have on the bus. When chatting on the bus, people try very hard to agree with each other and to quickly communicate interesting information. Each person wants to be liked and adjusts the way they speak and what they say so as not to offend. This type of exchange is perfectly fine for maintaining civil society -- deeper exchanges can always happen as an acquaintance deepens -- but shallow banter isn't appropriate for an interview. You need to find out what someone is experiencing, what they're thinking, or what their real opinions are.
The acronym GD stands for Group Discussion and has now become as interview in professional and academic circles. The basic aim of the Group Discussion is to evaluate the effectiveness of the candidate in a group activity. This effectiveness is judged through the leadership qualities and the communication skills displayed.
As user experience designers, a key component to nearly all the techniques we use in our practice is the one-on-one interview. It's the basis of requirements gathering, usability testing, and task analysis. In order to remove our personal biases, expectations and opinions from the questions asked, I practice a kind of questioning technique called the nondirected interview. The questions asked are at the heart of any interview. Following are a loose set of guidelines to help you frame questions in a way that elicits honest and accurate responses.
Interviewing is an artful skill that is at the core of a wide variety of research methods in user-centered design, including stakeholder interviews, contextual inquiry, usability testing, and focus groups. Consequently, a researcher’s skill in conducting interviews has a direct impact on the quality and accuracy of research findings and subsequent decisions about design. Skilled interviewers can conduct interviews that uncover the most important elements of a participant’s perspective on a task or a product in a manner that does not introduce interviewer bias. Companies hire user researchers and user-centered designers because they possess this very ability.