Uncovering the Value of User Interviews and Identifying Common Business Models

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Sep 24, 2023

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Uncovering the Value of User Interviews and Identifying Common Business Models

User interviews play a crucial role in understanding the challenges and needs that users face. Conducting a good user interview involves asking open-ended questions rather than closed-ended ones, in order to extract maximum insights and stories from the users. Let's explore some key points to keep in mind when conducting effective user interviews.

  • 1. Avoid leading questions: It is essential to avoid questions that lead users to a particular answer. Leading questions can bias the responses and hinder the discovery of genuine insights. By asking open-ended questions, we allow users to freely express their thoughts and experiences.
  • 2. Ask follow-up questions: Follow-up questions are valuable in digging deeper into the responses provided by users. They help to clarify any ambiguous or incomplete answers and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the user's perspective. Remember that follow-up questions should be relevant and well-timed to maintain the flow of the conversation.
  • 3. Stick to a single direction: When conducting a user interview, it is important to maintain a focused approach. By sticking to a single direction, we can dive deep into a particular topic or challenge, allowing us to gather more detailed insights. This approach helps in avoiding information overload and ensures a more productive interview session.
  • 4. Don't strictly adhere to prepared questions: While it is important to have a set of prepared questions for the interview, it is equally crucial to be flexible and adapt to the user's responses. Listening actively to what the user is saying allows us to ask spontaneous and relevant follow-up questions, leading to a more organic conversation.
  • 5. Minimize the use of the word "why": The word "why" can often come across as confrontational or challenging, which may make users defensive or defensive. Instead of asking "why" questions, try rephrasing them to encourage users to share their thought process or motivations. This approach creates a more comfortable and open environment for users to express themselves.
  • 6. Avoid asking users what they need: As a researcher or interviewer, it is not the user's responsibility to know what they need. Instead, it is our role to understand their underlying needs and challenges through their conversations. By allowing users to talk about their everyday thoughts and experiences, we can gain valuable insights into their genuine needs.

Apart from user interviews, there are common points that can be observed in successful business models. Let's explore a few examples.

IKEA and Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ) restaurants are similar in their approach to business. Both businesses involve delegating part of the process to the customers, such as assembling furniture or cooking meat. This not only reduces costs but also adds an element of entertainment and engagement for the customers. By involving customers in the process, these businesses create a win-win relationship where customers feel a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment.

Similarly, the Kumon method, a popular educational approach, simplifies the teaching process by modeling reading, writing, and calculating skills. The children using the Kumon method are supported by instructors who may not necessarily have formal teaching experience but are equipped with the knowledge to guide the students. This business model relies on empowering students to learn independently while providing support when needed.

By examining these examples, we can identify commonalities in successful business models. Delegating tasks to customers, adding an element of entertainment, and simplifying complex processes are strategies that can create a unique and engaging customer experience.

In conclusion, conducting effective user interviews involves asking open-ended questions, avoiding leading questions, asking relevant follow-up questions, sticking to a single direction, being flexible with prepared questions, minimizing the use of confrontational language, and understanding users' needs through natural conversations. Additionally, successful business models often involve delegating tasks to customers, adding entertainment value, and simplifying processes. By incorporating these practices and understanding the common points in successful business models, we can enhance our understanding of users' needs and create engaging customer experiences.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Practice active listening during user interviews and ask follow-up questions to delve deeper into user insights.
  • 2. Adapt and be flexible during interviews, allowing for spontaneous questions based on the user's responses.
  • 3. Explore creative ways to involve customers in the business process, adding an element of entertainment and engagement.

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