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Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights
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Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  480 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Interviewing is a foundational user research tool that people assume they already possess. Everyone can ask questions, right? Unfortunately, that's not the case. Interviewing Users provides invaluable interviewing techniques and tools that enable you to conduct informative interviews with anyone. You'll move from simply gathering data to uncovering powerful insights about ...more
Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published May 2nd 2013 by Rosenfeld Media (first published January 1st 2013)
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Danielle
Jun 02, 2013 Danielle rated it really liked it
Shelves: user-experience
Overview

My first entry into the Rosenfeld Media books was a hit. Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights by Steve Portigal digs into the world of market research and ethnography. If you're entering the world of user testing, I suggest first reading Rocket Surgery Made Easy by Steve Krug. That book does a great job of providing a foundation and overview. Interviewing Users should be your second book of entry into user testing. It digs a little deeper into topics such as a) the sta
...more
Michael
Mar 02, 2017 Michael rated it really liked it
Finally got back to this. Great stuff.
Caitlin
Mar 09, 2017 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: ux
Wish I had a chance to do more of this kind of thing.
Dave
Nov 21, 2013 Dave rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: designers, researchers, ux folk
Fundamental principles and techniques in qualitative research interviewing, interwoven with anecdotes from the author and other established researchers. Portigal lays out a general framework for interviewing, and discusses planning, conducting, documenting, evaluating, and reporting the interview.

While usability studies, ethnographic observations, and other members of the qualitative family aren't necessarily interviews, the book illuminates a sensible and effective research mindset for any for
...more
Amanda
May 24, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book for training individuals new to interviewing. I'm currently using this book in a qualitative methods course I'm co-teaching for graduate students in design. However, as someone was originally trained how to interview in the qualitative methods courses that I completed during my public health graduate coursework, I highly recommend this text across academic domains as it covers all the basics in a clear and well-articulated manner.
corina
Feb 19, 2014 corina rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book chock full of practical strategies and helpful tips that only can come from someone with a ton of experience during this type of research. Steve Portigal's personality shines through wonderfully, making the book a pleasure to read.
Maddie Nastase
May 25, 2017 Maddie Nastase rated it it was ok
Shelves: design
It took months to finish this.
I found about 20% of this book to be useful-insights-into-interviewing, and the rest just dragged endlessly with common sense rules for human interaction.
The writing isn't particularly witty or engaging either.
Colleen McClowry
Feb 28, 2017 Colleen McClowry rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book. It's a concise, foundational tool for anyone interested in conducting user research for an organization.
Marvin Vista
Mar 11, 2017 Marvin Vista rated it it was amazing
Steve Portigal is still the go-to guy if you want to learn how to do user interviews that can influence modern product design and development for the better. Read this book if you want to have a fighting chance in this increasingly user-centered world.
Bronwyn
Dec 12, 2016 Bronwyn rated it really liked it
This is a solid, friendly breakdown of how to perform interviews. I wouldn't say that I learned anything new, but this would be a great introduction for baby researchers or product team members looking to dip their toes into research or customer development. Covers why to do interviews, how to form the study, what to prepare beforehand, how to physically conduct the interview (both from an artifact and a technique perspective), how to manage stakeholders, and how to present your findings.

Lots o
...more
Adil
Apr 03, 2015 Adil rated it it was amazing
Interviewing Users is one of those books which I should be reading every once in a while as a refresher.

The book is, as you could have guessed, all about how to get someone's honest feedback about a tool or product. It discusses the development of active listening skills, from leaning forward in your chair to creating open-ended questions and waiting for full responses from your interviewee. The most valuable section to me was the discussion on what to do with your research conclusions.

As a sof
...more
Lourens Scholing
Sep 14, 2016 Lourens Scholing rated it liked it
I like how this book makes continuous comparisons of the interviewing process to improv acting, and I feel like there is a world more to explore there. I always thought interviewing was like a gentil martial art, where you play with tension, rope-a-dope, stick and move.

Anyway can you do improv theatre in stages? Portigal might suggest you can:

The transitional proces
Crossing the thresshold
Restating objectives
Kick-off question
Accept the awkwardsness
The tipping point
&cetera

His advice: be const
...more
Tijmen Bruggeman
Jul 14, 2014 Tijmen Bruggeman rated it liked it
This is definitely the most thorough book on interviewing that I've read. It's build up really well and Steve has provided a lot of examples from his practice. I could say, if you want to learn how to interview a user properly, this would be the man to learn it from.

The subject though, is one which is hard to learn from a book. Steve tries to guide you through the process. At a certain point he admits that the guide is isn't one to follow. Interviewing a human being comes with to many variables.
...more
Mitch
Aug 23, 2014 Mitch rated it really liked it
If you're running a business, or need to better understand your customers, read this book. The insights are powerful: You'll learn how to become a better listener, how to ask better follow up questions, and generally how to be a more aware person. It will help develop your EQ!

This is a niche book- If you're don't run a business or need to better understand your customers, it's likely not worth your time. That said, it's a well made book and the author's personality makes the book even more enjo
...more
Davy
Dec 22, 2013 Davy rated it really liked it
(4.5 stars) I would say that the only knock on this book upfront that it is heavily focussed on interviewing on-site and in the field, as someone that is not a full time user researcher, our team doesn't have the ability to do such things. With that being said, this was a get primer on interviewing techniques and a run through on typical protocol of what Steve Portigal uses for his own consulting firm. The writing is witty and makes the subject even more engaging. Of course, through telling stor ...more
Elisa
Aug 13, 2013 Elisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I mostly liked this book... covered a lot of material.. not sure who the audience is... perhaps for those newer to UX and interviewing.

Well written. Biggest issue -- the sidebars were written in a shade of gold that is hard to read... and they are all over the place! Discussed with the local UX book club and we were quite mystified about the photos in the book... they didn't seem to have any relevance to the topics... although some of the photos were terrific from a composition perspective.
Alana Aquilino
Jun 03, 2016 Alana Aquilino rated it really liked it
Research is a potentially political struggle within organizations. I found nuggets that helped validate the value of research. Steve Portigal's advice is pragmatic and relevant. He covers the basics of a research practice with humility and good cheer. I wish Portigal had added more about what he sees as making research successful. For example, do you define research as successful based on the outcome (are your insights used within the product), the way your stakeholder reacts to it, or something ...more
Borislav
Oct 31, 2013 Borislav rated it it was amazing
Interviewing users is a big part of building good user experience. Steve Portigal has offered a how-to guide with reflections on actually getting the most out of it. Empathy is the keyword in this topic and Steve describes how exactly walking in someone else’s shoes helps getting better results through asking the right questions. With more than 15 years of “listening” experience, he is the right man to learn from when it comes to interviewing users.
Ann
Jan 20, 2015 Ann rated it liked it
2.5 to 3 - in terms of meeting my needs It is a well written book, the tone is a good balance between light and heavy

More focussed on product/consumer research and in a more formal setting. I preferred the previous, similar book Just Enough Research which is much more aligned to my needs - quick, agile research in a limited period of time with limited resources. A lot of information overlap between the two but coming at things from different perspectives.
Lan
Jan 02, 2014 Lan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: user-experience
A great book for anyone who wants to read more about user interviews. Steve touched on every key steps from how to prepare interviews to how to make an impact with your interview findings. The book is well informed by Steve's own experience as well as others who specialize in field studies. I am sure you will find many useful nuggets as I did.
Sheela Word
Well-written, well-organized, and comprehensive book about on-site interviewing. Rife with memorable anecdotes and useful tips. Recommended for novice and experienced design researchers and for anybody else who does interviews. I took extensive notes, and used them to communicate best practices with other team members.
Kate
Dec 18, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
A good, quick read. Lots of tips and insights for user interviewing. There could've been more on what to do with the insights uncovered, but I guess that's sort of out of Portigal's wheelhouse and more in the hands of the clients he shares his findings with.

Shout out to Rosenfeld Media for a great library of UX books.
Ninakix
Aug 18, 2013 Ninakix rated it really liked it
whelp, I recommended this book to a bunch of people so I figured I had to read it. Steve Portigal doesn't disappoint. Lots of in depth info on conducting user interviews. I only wish that he went into a little bit more of the intuitive part of the interview process: glomming onto nuggets and little inconsistencies, those kinds of things. But great in depth intro for the most part.
Craig Birchler
Jul 25, 2013 Craig Birchler rated it liked it
It's a fairly short read with a good amount of insight into how and why certain practices lead us to the most relevant, valuable data. Best for practitioners but a good overview for non-designers looking to be involved in the process.

Overall, a valuable item for any designer's bookshelf.
Thomas
Jun 04, 2016 Thomas rated it it was amazing
If you are thinking of doing user interviews you won't find a better guide. The book covers the whole process from planing the interview to analysing the data. Working as a ux researcher I use this book every time I plan a customer interview, think that is the recommendation you can give any book.
Luis
Dec 19, 2013 Luis rated it really liked it
Shelves: computing
A really interesting book covering all aspects of user research through interviewing. Thought provoking at times, my only complaint is that sometimes it looks uneven and not so well organised. But just sometimes.
Simon Thompson
Aug 22, 2013 Simon Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely worth reading if any of your work involves getting insight from users, potential users or any other kind of stakeholder. Steve Portigal offers a wealth of insights that will prove invaluable to all but the most experienced of interviewers.
Caitlin
Jan 06, 2016 Caitlin rated it really liked it
Shelves: user-experience
A great read covering great advice, stories, and tips and tricks based on real world situations from Steve Portigal. Picked up a thing or two along the way. Recommended to anyone doing or interested in doing UX research!
Eva Hernando
Oct 18, 2013 Eva Hernando rated it it was amazing
Great! super applicable
Laura Musich
Oct 16, 2013 Laura Musich rated it it was amazing
Very useful, practical guide for someone just getting into user experience design/usability research. Would recommend.
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“Stories are where the richest insights lie, and your objective is to get to this point in every interview.” 0 likes
“What a powerful contribution they made by not speaking.” 0 likes
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