Tag Archive for: UX

Preparing for Customer Interviews

To prepare for customer interviews, identify the right users and ask good questions. Avoid leading the conversation and summarize what you learn. Understanding your research question and goals is also essential, as is gaining perspective from users while avoiding assumptions.

Know what audience segment you need to talk to before you begin.

The goal when interviewing is to uncover opportunities (e.g., customer needs, pain points, wants, desires) that, if addressed, would move the needle for your desired outcome.

To find the correct user segment or audience to interview, consider the goals of the interview and the questions you want to answer. Identify which users are most likely to have the information you need and focus on reaching out to them. This segment could include users who have engaged with your product in a certain way, users who have given feedback in the past, or users who fit a specific demographic profile. Conducting user research to understand your audience is also helpful in identifying the right user segment to interview.

Here are some audience segment examples.

  • Users that have access to social media (paid or organic) for your product
  • Users that have searched keywords for your product (paid or organic)
  • Users entering from a particular page or site
  • Users engaged within your product
  • Users who have purchased or not purchased your product
  • Users who have abandoned a shopping cart on your site
  • Users who have spent a certain amount of time on the website or the product
  • Users who have or have not used a specific feature or function

All user interviews must have a research question.

When researching your customers, identify what you want to learn from them. Use this to create a research question to guide the process, ensuring you focus on essential insights and collect the correct data.

Note that your research question should be different from your interview question. The interview question is for gathering information, while the research question guides the process.

Consider your learning objectives and develop a research question to help you achieve them. This question will make your research more efficient and increase the chances of obtaining valuable insights that can drive business growth.

Study these sample research questions to understand how to write your questions.

Goal: To increase engagement.

  • What drives engagement today?
  • What prevents people from engaging today?

Goal: To understand user needs.

  • What are the user’s most essential needs?
  • What is the user’s biggest frustration with the current solution?

Goal: To identify opportunities for new features.

  • What features or functionality should be part of the current solution?
  • What would make the user more likely to use the solution?

Goal: To improve the user experience.

  • What are the user’s most significant pain points when using the solution?
  • What should happen to make the explanation easier or more enjoyable to use?

Interview questions should help answer your research question.

To prepare for customer interviews, create practical questions that draw out stories and reveal opportunities to improve your product. Ask questions encouraging customers to share their experiences and perspectives rather than just gathering facts.

During interviews, ask questions that help answer your research question and prompt customers to elaborate on their experiences with open-ended questions.

Get stories from customers without leading questions or statements.

When writing interview questions for customers, avoid leading or biased questions. Instead, focus on open-ended questions that encourage customers to share their experiences.

Use neutral language when asking questions during customer interviews.

To write non-leading questions, use neutral language and ask questions allowing customers to share their thoughts and experiences.

For example, instead of asking, “Do you like our product?” ask, “What are your thoughts about our product?”. Asking this type of question allows the customer to express their opinions without feeling pressured to give a specific answer.

Avoid assumptions about the customer’s experiences.

Also, try to avoid assumptions about the customer’s experiences. Instead of asking, “How did you like our new feature?” ask, “What was your experience using the new feature?”. Asking the question this way allows the customer to share their experience without conforming to your assumptions.

Overall, non-leading and non-biased questions encourage customers to share their honest thoughts and experiences, which can provide valuable insights to improve your product.

Here are some examples of great interview questions.

  • Tell me about when you first started thinking about _____.
  • Tell me about the steps you took to get started.
  • Talk about your experience when _____.
  • What expectations did you have when interacting with _____?
  • Tell me about a time when you ___.
  • What was your experience like when ___?
  • How do you typically ___?
  • Can you walk me through your thought process when ___?
  • What do you find most challenging about ___?

In Summary

To prepare for customer interviews, identify the right users and ask good questions. All interviews must have a research question, and interview questions should help answer that question. Avoid leading the conversation and summarize what you learn. Non-leading and non-biased questions encourage customers to share their honest thoughts and experiences, which can provide valuable insights to improve your product.

Learn more about customer interview questions.

Considerations with UX Boot Camps

Are you considering changing into a UX-based career and you’re sure that is what you want to do? Whether you are just graduating from college or have been doing something different and ready for a change, keep reading.

For the past few years, the rise in popularity of UX boot camps has been hard to ignore. Learning educational systems have made it super easy for anyone to learn anything. As a person who loves to learn, this is exciting.

Being involved with the UX for over 17 years now, I have had countless people reaching out to me asking for advice on whether or not to take UX courses, what the UX industry is like, and what is expected of a UX or Product Designer role, types of skills needed, and transitioning into a UX role in general.

One of the most commonly asked questions from people seeking advice is “How effective are UX Bootcamps and should I consider taking one before applying for that first UX job?” Every time I tell them, it depends on your situation.

Below is a list of common reasons that may help you decide if you should or should not pursue a UX boot camp.

When You Should Consider a UX Boot Camp

  • You want to move into a UX-based career and are not sure what the next step is.
  • You want a solid background in the basic skills of UX and are not sure who to trust.
  • You need a curriculum to refer back to when starting off in your UX career.
  • You are struggling to pull together an effective UX Case Study portfolio for the upcoming application process.
  • Limited time prevents you from hunting down all the information needed to adequately learn about UX.
  • You don’t know what you don’t know about UX and want to be prepared for any surprises you may anticipate.
  • You have several thousand dollars saved for education (yes, boot camps are expensive).

When You Should Not Consider a UX Boot Camp

  • You have decided to move into a UX-based career and are confident about that next step.
  • You’re already in a design or tech role and may be familiar with what the UX role may entail so there are no surprises.
  • You love to learn and have the initiative to talk to others already in the industry and get their honest feedback about their UX roles and day-to-day activities and expectations.
  • You consider today’s curriculum already obsolete and looking for the freshest UX ideas and innovation.
  • You’re confident that building a portfolio is just doing a little research ahead of time.
  • You have free resources accessible to you to learn about UX.
  • Spending thousands of dollars doesn’t seem worth it to you for taking UX courses when you know what you need to learn already.


Taking a UX boot camp is a personal decision and should be made with care based on your situation.

Everyone is unique. We all have different needs when it comes to learning. Boot camps are there for people that do not feel 100% confident about what to learn. They help you be prepared for UX roles by filling in those educational gaps. In return, this boosts confidence. UX boot camps can also guide you on how to create effective portfolios when applying for your first UX job. UX bottom camps are also very expensive and the ROI is up to you and your personal situation.

If you have the time, the money, and the willpower to learn about UX without relying on a boot camp, that’s great! Connect with others that have already been working in the UX industry and that can pour into you and guide you, to boost your confidence to land your first UX job.

Active Listening in Customer Interviews

A few years ago, I was interviewing a customer to uncover some problems our product was having. I was super green when it came to interviews at that time. My customer was chatting about their experience when my mind wandered down the rabbit hole because of something interesting they mentioned. By the time I snapped back to reality, I had solved the problem and was ready to move on to the next thing. My customer was intensely staring at me and waiting for my next question. I mumbled a quick apology as my face turned red. Awkward.

The key to getting the answers and insights you need from your customers is active listening.

Active listening is a skill you can learn.

After that awkward customer interview, I’ve been doing customer interviews very differently. Over the years, I’ve learned some helpful tips and tricks along the way, and now I’m teaching others in the company how to do user interviews to get the insights needed to be successful.

The most crucial skill in customer interviews is active listening.

I’ve seen so many capable professionals chatting with customers and not paying attention to what they said. If you aren’t listening to your customer, they will know. Once they find out you are not paying attention, your interview will not be as productive and could end early.

What is active listening?

Active listening is a soft skill that focuses all your attention on your customer when they talk. It gets you outside your head and focuses on what the customer needs.

Active listening shows your customer:

  • You are interested in what they are saying.
  • You’re humble and hungry to learn from them.
  • Their time and information are valuable to you.

What are the positive benefits and importance of active listening?

  • It builds empathy for your customers.
  • It helps you see your product from a different perspective.
  • It builds trust with your customer.
  • It helps you uncover insights

Be an Expert at Active Listening

Here’s what you do when you’re interviewing a customer and how you can apply your skill of active listening during an interview.

Be open and friendly upfront.

Help the customer feel at ease by warmly introducing yourself and anyone else in the room during the interview. Show the customer you’re there to help and learn from them.

Relax your posture.

Sitting rigid in your chair reflects nervousness on your part, causing the customer to feel nervous. Sit casually in your chair, lean back, and put your hands on the table. You can also lean forward to show your customer you are paying attention.

Smile and nod your head.

Pay attention to what your customer is saying and smile and nod when appropriate. If active listening is absent, there is the risk of smiling and nodding during sensitive information, creating an awkward moment between you and your customer.

Maintain eye contact always.

Look your customer straight in the eyes, even when they look away. Keeping eye contact lets your customer know you care about what they say to you.

Mirror the customer’s facial expressions.

Reflect the facial expressions of the customer. Doing this displays that you are paying attention to what they are saying while building empathy. The customer may even feel more comfortable and willing to discuss more during the interview.

Pay attention customer’s body language.

When listening to your customer, be aware of what is not being said by watching their body language for conflicting messages. Sometimes, the customer may say something positive, but their body language may display rigidness instead.

Never interrupt your customer.

It may be tempting to interrupt your customer when they talk about something interesting. Do not stop their chatting until the sentence is complete.

Be okay with the uncomfortable silence.

It is okay to allow silence between when you ask the customer a question and when they answer. The customer needs space to think. While it may feel awkward waiting, the customer may not perceive it the same way you do.

Do not get distracted.

When interviewing, try your best not to fidget, look at your phone/watch, or anything else that may distract your customer. Maintain eye contact and show that you care about what they tell you.

Summarize back to your customer what you heard.

Every person interprets something differently from the stories we tell ourselves. Be sure to repeat back a summary of what you perceived from your customer and get affirmation before continuing to the next question. Doing this shows you were paying attention to what they were saying.


Active listening is undoubtedly a soft skill for successful customer interviews to build empathy with your customers. It is also necessary for other situations such as coaching, leadership, counseling, and even conversations with friends and family.

Active listening can be taught and refined over time. The way to improve this soft skill is to practice as much as possible. Catch yourself from interjecting something about yourself and focus on the other person talking. It is difficult not talking about ourselves and focus entirely on someone else for a while.

So, next time you’re chatting with one of your customers, listen to what they are saying. I promise you will learn something new while building empathy for their experience.