Design Research Planning For Interviews— Done Correctly

Design Research

Design Research is the act of investigating a product’s potential or investigating existing users and the context of use.

Adapted from

Individual Interviews

Individual interviews are critical to most design research since they enable a deep and rich view into the behaviors, attitudes, and lives of people.

  • Understanding needs, constraints, and opportunities. (This is what you’re researching).

Research Planning

Hunt Statement — What do you want to know?

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I am going to research THAT so that I can do THIS.

That is usually an activity, and this is usually your goal.


Screeners are a useful tool for finding the right people to interview or observe.

Research Preparation

You should be asking yourself — How and where will I conduct my research?

  • A moderator script (aka an interview script/protocol/discussion guide).

Writing your script:

Remember: Don’t ask judgy questions, avoid leading answers, and never ever ask binary questions unless you absolutely need to.

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Write open ended questions and get them talking!

Getting them to tell a story can be very helpful in learning about their thought and behavior process. Storytelling can flow more freely and get them to share more details or opinions.

The script should be structured as such:

  • Introduction
  • Warm-up and build rapport
  • General issues
  • Deep focus
  • Wrap-up

What to Look For

You should either be recording or writing down everything (with permission).

The Interview

As the interviewer there is a lot to remember. You are the moderator and you want to influence as little as possible.

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Ross Dillon

Experience @ Publicis Sapient | B.S. in UX Design | Writer & Speaker | Portfolio