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

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  886 ratings  ·  73 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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4.14  · 
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 ·  886 ratings  ·  73 reviews

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Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: user-experience

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
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Finally got back to this. Great stuff.
Apr 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book about user research. It's practical, it's full of examples, it contains short stories from the field, it also contains opinions from other researches and ... it's short :)
Moayad Taibah
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reference, ux
This is a must read for any researcher going out there and exploring other people's behaviors and attitudes in their day-to-day interactions with any given product/service.

Interviewing Users is a reference book that guides the researcher in the journey of conducting interviews from understanding their purpose and expected outcomes, to preparing everything, conducting the sessions, and finally analyzing the outcomes.

The book is well structured, comprehensive, detailed enough to act as a guide, an
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ux
Wish I had a chance to do more of this kind of thing.
Nov 21, 2013 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
May 24, 2013 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.
Feb 19, 2014 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.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Super quick read about practical tips for conducting product user interviews.

Some non-intuitive take-aways for me were:
- create a brain dump of presently held implicit context and beliefs about your topic, using this exercise as a ritual to empty out your mind before starting conversations with someone so that you've flushed out your world views
- people speak in paragraphs, and sometime its ok to respond by silence when someone has finished saying a blurb, to give them the permission to say the
Matthew Stublefield
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Lots of good info, but a little too focused on physical interviews

I highlighted and bookmarked a number of helpful things in this book, but it didn’t quite match my expectations, and I would estimate that only around half of the book was helpful for me. The problem here (and perhaps I just overlooked it in the description) is that this book is actually about interviewing users in their particular physical context. It’s all about making observations based on how someone interacts with their envir
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Practical guide to interviewing

The text provides a solid overview and coaching on performing interviews for research. The author is light on specific methods or approaches, but a library of tactics and principles is provided, encouraging the reader to experiment and practice. While not a systematic study, the positive tone is welcoming for a beginner and correctly identifies early pitfalls and how to overcome them.
David Dikman
Oct 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Not enough for the price

I bought this for approx $15 and finished the few pages in a few hours. Material was OK but not so to the point that it provided insights I haven't picked up in more extensive works such as Designing for the Digital Age.

Fred Rose
Good introduction for people learning design thinking and ethnography, something I would consider for students. Not for practitioners, too basic. Think about "Moments of Impact" which isn't really about interviewing but much better for advanced users..
Natalía Papadopoúlou
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design-research
The most detailed and comprehensive guide to interviewing people, where starters to professionals would make use of some aspects of it. Definitely keeping it on my recommendation list to fellow designers / researchers.
Becky Sroufe
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-ux-books
Very digestible and surprisingly short(er) than what I was expecting, but length in no way is a similar reflection of the content. This was jam packed with fantastic learnings and advice that I'm thrilled to take with me in the field! Would HIGHLY recommend.
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly, this book is not only a useful guide on how to interview users but also on how to talk to people in your life when you really want to make it about them, not you.

PS. Bought it after attending Steve’s workshop at Product Camp in Gdynia 2018.
Maddie Nastase
May 25, 2017 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.
Roopam Mishra
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great insights into user interview. Great read.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great worthy to read.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a good review of key components of a qualitative research study.
Abbie Goulet
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So practical, really great foundation to figure out how to ask the right questions.
Bindu Upadhyay
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ux
If you are experienced in conducting interviews, you can use this book as a quick knowledge refresher. You can find some useful and practical tips around the whole interviewing process.
Jake McCann
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I come back to this time and time again whenever I'm preparing for a round of user interviews.
Jamie Showrank
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
excellent, detailed guides for design research
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Light and focussed, provides an overview on th emost important skills just as the relevant mindset.
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
Great book!

There are some basic ideas which make it a solid resource for people new to user interviews, and some great nuggets appealing to someone with more experience.
Dharmesh Raithatha
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This is for the serious user researchers that want to define their craft. I read it, absorbed it but it wasn't amazing for my context.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Just like the way we do researches.
Eriol Fox
I still look back as reference
Colleen McClowry
Feb 28, 2017 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.
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Steve Portigal is an experienced user researcher who helps companies to think and act strategically when innovating with user insights. Based outside of San Francisco, he is principal of Portigal Consulting, and the author of two books: The classic Interviewing Users: How To Uncover Compelling Insights and new, Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries: User Research War Stories.

He’s also the host of
“Stories are where the richest insights lie, and your objective is to get to this point in every interview.” 1 likes
“Nip Distractions in the Bud Tactically, make sure that you are not distracted when you arrive. Take care of your food, drink, and restroom needs in advance.” 0 likes
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