UX Method of the Week: UX Questionnaire

Posted on | 16 comments

  • A user experience questionnaire is deceptively simple: it’s just a standard list of questions for you to ask yourself about a product or user experience at the start of any engagement.Why not just start working on the user experience and see where things go? In theory, if a product has a clear purpose and a specific audience, and you have some good ideas for how to improve the user experience, then you’re all set. Of course, product design can go off track for any number of reasons. UX work, in particular, often is brought in as a silver bullet to solve what can be a dizzying set of challenges, ranging from lack of product strategy to issues with the organizational structure. The user interface is often where these problems become visible.

    A good user experience questionnaire can help you spot issues early on, which puts you in a better position to point out all those red flags and prevent them from putting the design at risk. On a more practical level, a user experience questionnaire can also help you make sure that the goals are clear and that you know what you’re designing and why. A good user experience questionnaire will also get you thinking about what work still needs to be done and how you might want to proceed. This then feeds into the “UX Project Plan” (method #2).

    You can create a template like the one shown above to make it an easily repeatable process. (You can download a PDF template here: 5.1 UX Questionnaire Template.) As you can see, the final document doesn’t have to be too polished. Mostly, it’s a scratch pad for you to help yourself think through specific questions.

    Of course, there are many different and equally valid questions you might ask yourself and your team when you’re starting a project. Which leads to this question, for this week’s #methodmonday…

    What’s the most important question you ask when kicking off a project? 

    Post your reply as a comment below by Tuesday, 10/15, midnight PT. The best reply wins a free copy of The User Experience Team of One.

    16 Responses to “UX Method of the Week: UX Questionnaire”

    1. If this project fixes nothing else, what is the one big thing that has got to change?

    2. While at the end of the day we do have business goals of our own to meet, I think that the relational model of “designer / product / user” can limit the possibilities of really clever user experience research and engaging design.

      Therefore, the most important question for me is the following: what if we stop thinking about end-users as “users” and think of them as “stakeholders” in our design or even our organization’s overall mission? What is at risk for stakeholders if this design is not successful?

    3. This is going to seem insanely simple and obvious, but for me it comes down to what are the goals of the project? So much can be sussed out from such a simple question, and it amazes me how many clients and project leads can’t easily answer it when asked. What the answer to this question helps me do is keep focus on the functions that directly support its success, as well as use it as a bargaining chip to avoid scope creep and feature requests that only serve to dilute the end-user’s goal and experience. Does this request support the stated goals? No? Then it’s not necessary.

    4. Danielle Murray

      “Describe in one sentence the main aim of the project”
      If this cannot be answered then the project does not have a clear objective and this should be established before proceeding.

      There may be several things that a client would like a website (for example) to do, however these should all fit under one clear aim. Time should be spent (with both client and designers) on understanding this aim before the project begins.

    5. “Do we have a clear understanding of who are our users and their needs?”

      It’s a simple question but I find that the usual responses are based on incorrect assumptions, stereotypes or, as one stakeholder said to me, “because I use the web everyday so I have a good idea about what we need to do to complete this project”.

    6. Who are our target users and what are their stories (i.e. what are the most pervasive problems they are facing?)

    7. Hallie Wilfert

      I agree with “what are the goals of the project?” and I’d add “and how should they be prioritized?”. Ideally, I like to walk through a goal-setting exercise using the SMART goals framework – that is, goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. That way we know on both sides of the project that we are setting ourselves up for success.

    8. Stephen Lowe

      What actions does this UX demand of me, the user?

    9. Jason Perez


    10. How does your company make money; and are you currently making money (enough, too little, completely satisfied) doing what you just said. I then probe with – have you ever met someone paying for your service/product yourself and what did you learn from them.

    11. Thanks everyone for sharing your smart questions. (Is it cheating if I keep these ideas for the 2nd edition of the UX Team of One?)

      Lots of good stuff here, but I’m afraid there can only be one winner. So — drumroll, please — the winning question belongs to Raj G. Congratulation, Raj!

      I also liked Drew and Hallie’s emphasis on goals, but in the end Raj’s question won out because while theoretically everyone on the project has a stake in the goals, the UX person (team of one, hey hey!) is often the only one reminding everyone to think in terms of user needs. So, kudos to you, Raj. You just won yourself a free copy of the User Experience Team of One. (We’ll get in touch by email to find out where to send it.)

      Of course, in real life, you can ask as many questions as you damn well please. Good thing, because there are lots of good questions here.

    12. I think the link to the template is broken.

      • Stephanie Zhong

        Thanks for the heads up, Paul. We’re looking into it!

    13. Could you please send the PDF template? The link is broken. Thank you!

    14. Karen Corbett

      The template link has been updated; sorry for the delay!