Karen Holtzblatt, InContext Enterprises
Conducting interviews with customers and end users is now considered a standard practice. Few organizations argue against interviewing customers; the battle has been won that we must be able to talk to our customers. However, finding time and resources to go out to customers isn’t easy, so we must be sure we’re getting the most out of those interviews.
But what makes an effective interview? Is it worth doing a field interview if it’s a traditional question and answer session with a set of prepared questions? And even if you’re trained in an interview method like Contextual Inquiry that relies on observation, not prepared questions, it can be easy to fall back into old patterns that aren’t Contextual Inquiry. You’re asking questions and the user answers you, but you aren't seeing them do real work. The user is either giving you one-word answers, or long explanations about what he or she "typically" does. You sense you've fallen into an unproductive interview pattern but you can't seem to get out of it.
The Top Mistakes format serve as a framework to explain the underlying principles of Contextual Inquiry interviewing and point out the most common or problematic pitfalls that interviewers can fall into. Attendees will learn tested techniques for getting the most out of interviews with users, which they can both use for improving their own skills and as a framework for assisting others in their organizations. The course also provides practical tips for interviewing and interviewing style characterizations that illustrate ineffective styles.
The course is based on material previously presented in InContext’s Understanding Your Customer and Rapid Contextual Design workshops, which have been taught in public and on-site classes. It was presented to “standing room only” groups at CHI in 2006 and 2007. This year’s course includes selected material from the 2007 version, plus additional examples based on feedback from the 2007 course.
No specific background is required. It is appropriate for all roles.
Lecture and group discussion.
Karen Holtzblatt is the co-developer of the customer-centered process Contextual Design. She co-authored “Contextual Design: Defining Customer-Centered Systems” and “Rapid Contextual Design: A How-to Guide to Key Techniques for User-Centered Design”. Karen is the President and CEO of InContext Enterprises, an industry-leading design firm and a 2006 honoree in the CHI Academy
Instructor Website: www.incontextdesign.com.