As you conduct interviews, it’s important to have a plan for documenting the information your participants share with you. We’ll review some of the tools and best practices to apply when conducting interviews. This reading will cover both what conducting interviews might look like in a future job as well as guidance on completing the interviews as an independent UX designer in this course.
Recording the interview
One of the best ways to ensure all the information you need from your interviews is saved is to record the interview. Having a recording allows you the flexibility to revisit and easily pull important feedback even after the interview is done. This is especially useful if you’re conducting interviews on your own, so you don’t have to facilitate the interview, take notes, and digest the responses simultaneously.
Here is what you’ll need to make a recording:
- Recording equipment: The equipment you use depends on the type of interview and the data you want to capture. If the interview is in person and you just need an audio recording, you can use a mobile device or other voice recorder. To capture both audio and video, you’ll need to set up a camera beforehand. If you’re conducting a virtual interview, you can screen record the full interview. Whatever method you use, make sure to familiarize yourself with how the equipment works before the interview.
- Proof of permission: It’s also necessary to secure permission from your participant before you record. A signed consent form is the safest way to do this so the interviewee is clear on the process and feels their privacy is being protected. Revisit the reading Recruit interview participants for a consent form template. Whether you secure permission in the days before or the day of the interview, it’s always good to begin the interview by confirming your participant understands how and what you’ll be recording. Remember, you want your participant to feel as comfortable as possible, so their responses will be honest and open.
Taking notes during the interview
Another tool you should use to capture important feedback from the interview is note taking. If you were conducting interviews for a company or with a team, you would probably have a dedicated note taker supporting the lead interviewer. This allows the lead interviewer to focus on the participant and move the conversation forward.
For this course, you’ll be conducting interviews on your own, so your goal should be to capture useful responses on the most important interview topics. This can be as simple as jotting down bullet points of interesting quotes, recording quick observations, or writing down follow-up questions to ask the participant next. Recording the session relieves the pressure of capturing everything in your notes, so you can devote your attention to the interview. However, if a recording is not possible, make sure the participant understands that when you’re writing or typing, it’s because you’re taking notes so you don’t forget any of the great information they’re sharing.
Documenting information after the interview
There are also some methods you can use to organize data after the interviews are done. One option is to create interview transcripts, which are a typed or written version of a conversation that’s been recorded. Interview transcripts can come in handy when you need to quickly and easily scan interview content to look for key quotes or feedback from research participants. However, transcribing interviews word-for-word can be time consuming, especially if you’re working by yourself. You won’t be required to create transcripts for this course, but feel free to try it out for the experience!
However you organize the data, it’s a good idea to spend some time going back over recordings and adding to your notes after all the interviews are complete. This way you can be sure to capture the important information you need to help inform your designs.
Recording interviews and taking notes is a great way to save and revisit the information you gather from your participants. Though it can take some time to set up, it makes it easier to remember important quotes and help you identify insights across interviews. Your recordings and notes will be especially useful when you start to synthesize interview data later!