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Interviewing Users (2nd Edition)

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How to Uncover Compelling Insights

By Steve Portigal

Published: October 2023
Paperback: 276 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781959029786
Ebook ISBN: 9781959029823

Interviewing is easy, right? Anyone can do it… but few do it well enough to unlock the benefits and insights that interviewing users and customers can yield.

In this new and updated edition of the acclaimed classic Interviewing Users, Steve Portigal quickly and effectively dispels the myth that interviewing is trivial. He shows how research studies and logistics can be used to determine concrete goals for a business and takes the reader on a detailed journey into the specifics of interviewing techniques, best practices, fieldwork, documentation, and how to make sense of uncovered data. Then Steve takes the process even further—showing the methods and details behind asking questions—from the words themselves to the interviewer’s actions and how they influence an interview. There is even a chapter on making sure that information gleaned from the research study is used by the business in such a way to make it impactful and worthwhile. Oh, and for good measure he throws in information about Research Operations.

Everyone will get something from this book. But beyond the requisite information, it’s simply a good read. And if you want another good read with stories galore, pick up Steve’s other book Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries.

Who Should Read This Book?

  • Anyone and everyone who is interested in finding out what makes their business tick, i.e., who their users are.
  • Anyone and everyone who wants to learn how to interview and listen to people.
  • Anyone and everyone, including CEOs, user researchers, designers, engineers, marketers, product managers, strategists, interviewers, and you.

Interviewing is easy, right? Anyone can do it… but few do it well enough to unlock the benefits and insights that interviewing users and customers can yield.

In this new and updated edition of the acclaimed classic Interviewing Users, Steve Portigal quickly and effectively dispels the myth that interviewing is trivial. He shows how research studies and logistics can be used to determine concrete goals for a business and takes the reader on a detailed journey into the specifics of interviewing techniques, best practices, fieldwork, documentation, and how to make sense of uncovered data. Then Steve takes the process even further—showing the methods and details behind asking questions—from the words themselves to the interviewer’s actions and how they influence an interview. There is even a chapter on making sure that information gleaned from the research study is used by the business in such a way to make it impactful and worthwhile. Oh, and for good measure he throws in information about Research Operations.

Everyone will get something from this book. But beyond the requisite information, it’s simply a good read. And if you want another good read with stories galore, pick up Steve’s other book Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries.

Who Should Read This Book?

  • Anyone and everyone who is interested in finding out what makes their business tick, i.e., who their users are.
  • Anyone and everyone who wants to learn how to interview and listen to people.
  • Anyone and everyone, including CEOs, user researchers, designers, engineers, marketers, product managers, strategists, interviewers, and you.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Jamika D. Burge
Chapter 1: Interviewing Addresses a Business Need
Chapter 2: Research Logistics
Chapter 3: Contextual Methods—More Than Just Asking Questions
Chapter 4: The Successful Fieldwork Experience
Chapter 5: Best Practices for Interviewing
Chapter 6: The Intricacies of Asking Questions
Chapter 7: Better Interviews
Chapter 8: Documenting the Interview
Chapter 9: Making Sense of Your Data
Chapter 10: Making an Impact with Your Research

FAQ

These common questions about online learning and design and their short answers are taken from Steve Portigal’s book Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights (2nd edition). You can find longer answers to each in your copy of the book, either printed or digital version.

What’s new in the second edition?
This edition features two new chapters: one about analysis and synthesis and sharing research results, and another about ensuring that your user research efforts will have an impact on your organization. There are seven new short essays (we call them sidebars) from guest contributors. Plus, you’ll find updated examples, stories, and tips for leading interviews, and new sections about bias, remote research, ResearchOps, planning research, and research logistics.

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Sample Chapter

This is a sample chapter from Steve Portigal’s book Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights (2nd edition). 2023, Rosenfeld Media.

Chapter 1: Interviewing Addresses a Business Need

A few years back, I worked with a company that had the notion to turn a commodity safety product—the hard hat—into a premium product. They would incorporate advanced features and then charge a higher price point. I don’t actually know where their idea came from, but one can imagine that they had seen all kinds of everyday products be reformulated to generate a higher scale of profit (think about Starbucks, gourmet salt, smartphones, Vitamix blenders, or horsehair mattresses). They sketched out a set of features that would improve the functional performance of the hard hat.

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