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Interviewing participants from diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and abilities is essential to ensure your designs are accessible and equitable.

A representative sample includes participants who reflect both your target user group and those often marginalized. Interviewing such a sample improves overall user experience because inclusive design benefits everyone. Your research should help create exceptional experiences for all users.

How to Recruit Interview Participants

  1. Determine Interview Goals

    • Identify what you want to learn from the interviews. This might include understanding user processes and emotions, common behaviors, and pain points.
  2. Write Interview Questions

    • Formulate questions aligned with your goals. Ask open-ended questions to encourage participants to share their true thoughts and perspectives. Keep questions short, simple, and conversational.
  3. Use a Screener to Select Participants

    • Create a screener survey to identify participants that meet your research criteria. Be respectful and inclusive, making demographic questions optional and explaining why they are asked.
  4. Find Participants

    • Utilize personal networks, existing user bases, online platforms like UserTesting and User Interviews, hallway testing, or third-party recruiting agencies to find diverse participants.
  5. Reach Out to Participants

    • Send an email introducing the project, offering incentives if possible, and providing detailed information about the study. Follow up with reminders.

    Sample Email:

    Hello [Participant Name],

    I am currently working on a project for [project subject] where I need to conduct interviews about [explain the project].

    Your participation in the research study would be very valuable to help us [summary of project goals]. Details of the study are shared below.

    Location: [Address and link to map]

    Study dates: [Date range]

    Time: [Time range]

    Session length: [Estimated length of time for each interview]

    With your permission, we will record each interview to help us decide how to improve our product. Recordings will only be shared with project team members for the scope of this project. A consent form is attached to this email that you need to sign and send back.

    If you have any questions, please contact me through email at [your email address].

    If you are interested in being interviewed, please let me know when you are available between [date range of study] and the hours of [time range of study].


    [Your Name]

How to Conduct User Interviews

  1. Prepare for the Interview

    • Gather necessary supplies, research the users, script the interview questions, and practice delivering them.
  2. Meet the Participant

    • Build a rapport by making light conversation and thanking the participant for their time. Gather basic details relevant to the interview.
  3. Conduct the Interview

    • Follow interview etiquette, ask open-ended questions, and take detailed notes. Document observations about participants’ mood, expressions, body language, and any distractions.
  4. End the Interview

    • Give participants a chance to share final thoughts and thank them again for their time.
  5. Create Interview Transcripts

    • Transcribe the interviews to have a detailed record of the conversation. This will be useful for analyzing feedback and creating user personas.

Conduct User Interviews for Your Portfolio Project

  1. Recruit Participants

    • Aim for 8-12 participants, ensuring a representative sample that includes marginalized groups.
  2. Schedule Interviews

    • Arrange dates, times, and locations, and send reminders 24 hours before the interviews.
  3. Prepare for Interviews

    • Have your interview questions, note-taking tools, and recording equipment ready. Ensure a distraction-free environment.
  4. Conduct Interviews

    • Welcome participants, confirm recording consent, and dive deep into their thoughts and experiences.
  5. Create Interview Transcripts

    • Transcribe each interview to organize feedback for later stages of the design process.

By following these steps and utilizing the latest techniques and technologies, you can ensure your design process is inclusive, user-centric, and effective.