Interviewing Users: Uncovering Compelling Insights

1-day in-person workshop
March 27 2024, 9:00am-5:00pm ET

Interviewing is undeniably one of the most valuable and commonly used user research tools. Yet it’s often not used well, because:

  • It’s based on skills we think we have (talking and even listening)
  • It’s not taught or reflected on, and
  • People tend to “wing it” rather than develop their skills.

Results may be inaccurate or reveal nothing new, suggesting the wrong design or business responses, or they may miss the crucial nuance that points to innovative breakthrough opportunities.

In this highly interactive workshop, Steve Portigal will teach you crucial techniques for successful user research, and give you an opportunity to practice and reflect in a supportive environment.

Target Audience
This workshop will be valuable to anyone who is using user research to inform the decisions their organizations make. This includes both people with “researcher” in their job description, as well as designers, engineers, and product managers (also known as “People Who Do Research.”) If you’re new to interviewing people, you’ll learn the fundamentals; if you’ve been doing research for a while you’ll benefit from the opportunity to reflect on and improve your own practice.


  • Hone their observation and interviewing skills
  • Learn valuable best practices for planning and executing user research studies
  • Learn a creative process for synthesizing raw field data into insights and opportunities
  • Explore how research can impact and influence the rest of the organization


1095 6th Ave. (Avenue of the Americas)
New York, NY 10018


Introduction/Warm-up (20 minutes)

  • Agenda for the day
  • Participant introductions

Problem Framing (40 minutes)

  • The Business Challenge
  • The Research Question
  • The Research Method
  • Participant Questions
  • Pain Points
  • Exercise

Research Logistics (15 minutes)

  • Recruiting the right participants
  • Incentives
  • Participant release
  • Interview guide
  • Documenting the interview

Contextual Methods (30 minutes)

  • Methods before and during the interview
  • Mapping and storyboards
  • Observation and frameworks
  • Cultural context

Break (15 minutes)

Interviewing Best Practices (45 minutes)

  • Four fieldwork principles
  • Specifics versus general
  • Body language
  • The power of silence
  • Natural language

Interviewing Exercise (45 minutes)

Lunch (60 minutes)

Observation Exercise (30 minutes)

  • In support of our workshop “design project”

Analysis and Synthesis (40 minutes)

  • Definitions
  • Debriefing
  • Topline report
  • Opportunities
  • Exercise: Work with your observational data

Ideation (35 minutes)

  • How might we?
  • Strategies and solutions
  • Two phases of idea generation
  • The power of bad ideas
  • Exercise: bad ideas
  • Exercise: generate solutions to your How Might We questions

Break (15 minutes)

Reporting Back (20 minutes)

Influencing the Organization (50 minutes)

  • Best practices before research starts
  • Optimizing engagement during research
  • Sharing research findings
  • Dealing with “We already knew that”

Wrap-up/Q&A (20 minutes)

  • Feedback
  • Discussion
  • Thank you and closing