Houjun Liu

User Interviews

Goal: understand the user.

Find out…

  • Motivation
  • Context
  • Deeper need?

The goal of user interviews is to understand the user even if they know what they want!

Good User Interviews

  • Make person feel welcome/safe/appreciated

  • Ask open-ended “questions”

    • Describe a time that…
    • Tell me more about..
  • Leave space: awkward silences (not too awkward)

  • Really listen!; repress the urge to think of what you want to say next

  • Repeat statements back to people

  • Ask about examples, context, etc.

A roadmap

  • 1: create a comfortable entry point
  • 2: go wide, deep into more personal and complex questions
  • 3: focus on the problem, not the solution
  • 4: focus on feelings—feelings matter, how nice matters
  • 5: end with conclusions and statements for what you

User Story

The user story should contain….

  • A main character (your user)
  • Character background (motivation)
  • A plot (context)
  • Climax and Resolution


  1. describe the user; who are they; what do they like or not like
  2. an iStudio classic need statement
  3. finish with a description of the emotional impact of using our software