The Challenges of User Interviews and the Benefits of Custom Programs With Startups

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Sep 02, 2023

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The Challenges of User Interviews and the Benefits of Custom Programs With Startups

In the realm of product development, user interviews serve as an invaluable tool for gathering insights and feedback. However, conducting effective user interviews can be a daunting task. From struggling to reach untapped areas of a user's experience to unintentionally asking leading questions, there are several common obstacles that researchers face. In this article, we will explore the difficulties of user interviews and the advantages of participating in custom programs with startups.

One of the primary challenges in user interviews is the inability to delve into aspects that users themselves may not be aware of. Often, users are unable to articulate certain nuances or intricacies of their experiences, making it difficult for researchers to uncover valuable insights. This limitation can hinder the development of user-centric products, as important details may be overlooked. To overcome this challenge, researchers must strive to develop a deep understanding of the user's context and employ various probing techniques to uncover hidden insights.

Another obstacle that researchers encounter is the tendency to ask leading questions. This occurs when interviewers unintentionally steer the conversation towards a desired response or outcome. Asking leading questions can compromise the authenticity of the user's feedback and skew the results of the interview. To mitigate this issue, interviewers should focus on asking open-ended questions that encourage users to provide unbiased and genuine responses. By avoiding leading questions, researchers can obtain more accurate and meaningful insights.

Furthermore, user interviews often suffer from the inability to maintain a lengthy and engaging conversation. Participants may become disengaged or lose focus, resulting in incomplete or superficial responses. To address this challenge, researchers should prepare a variety of questions and patterns in advance. By having a diverse repertoire of questions, interviewers can keep the conversation flowing and explore different angles of the user's experience. Additionally, it can be beneficial to observe and learn from skilled interviewers who excel at expanding upon questions and guiding the conversation. Analyzing the techniques employed by experienced interviewers can provide valuable insights into effective questioning and conversation strategies.

While user interviews are a vital component of product development, they can be enriched by engaging in custom programs with startups. These programs offer a unique opportunity to collaborate with innovative and curious individuals who possess a wealth of creativity. By working closely with startups, participants in custom programs can learn from founders who are often immersed in their own creations. This exposure to fresh perspectives and flexible thinking can help researchers identify new opportunities and avoid falling into the trap of narrow-mindedness.

One noteworthy example of the benefits of custom programs is the collaboration between our organization and students from ESADE University. In a Summer 2022 custom program cohort, ESADE students worked on devising strategies and tactics to attract new users. Our specific challenge was to expand our user base and create word-of-mouth virality. Working with the ESADE students was a refreshing experience filled with valuable insights. Their outside perspective and innovative ideas provided us with a broader understanding of our target audience and effective channels for reaching them.

In conclusion, user interviews present unique challenges that researchers must navigate to extract valuable insights. By employing various strategies such as probing techniques and avoiding leading questions, researchers can overcome these obstacles and gather meaningful feedback. Additionally, participating in custom programs with startups can offer fresh perspectives and foster flexible thinking, enhancing the effectiveness of user interviews. To optimize the outcome of user interviews, researchers should continuously expand their questioning skills, learn from experienced interviewers, and seek out collaborative opportunities with startups. By doing so, researchers can unlock a wealth of insights that will inform the development of user-centric products and services.

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