The benefits of user interviews

By Laurie Riekmann May 24, 2018

Not sure what your website or app users really think? Ask them!

How many times have you asked your customers why they purchase from you? Or what might make your website experience and relationship even better?

User interviews are a semi-structured approach to gathering feedback. They can be an effective tool in your toolbox, used during the strategy phase of a web design or app project, providing you with key insights to guide important design and technical infrastructure decisions leading to maximum success.

Some benefits of conducting user interviews include:

  • Better understand why your users chose a particular product or service. This can help you improve future marketing messages on your website or even come up with more products or services.
  • Help prioritize new features or changes to your website, plus identify information gaps.
  • Provide greater empathy within your company for your customers and their experiences.

5 recommended steps for successful user interviews:

  1. Create an interview script
    • Start with a list of topics you want to explore – such as your customer’s goal when accessing your website or identifying information that might be missing from that experience.  
    • Create open ended questions that you will use as your script to guide the discussion.
  2. Identify participants
    • Three to five users is usually enough to yield useful patterns and trends. While it’s tempting to add more users, the amount of new information uncovered will decrease with each user.
    • Focus on current customers, recently churned customers or people who have indicated that they struggled with using your site.
  3. Run the interview
    • Interviews are best conducted face to face at your customer’s location, however phone interviews can work as well.  
    • Ideally they are run with two researchers – one guiding the interview and the other taking diligent notes. The discussion can also be recorded with permission from the user.
    • At the beginning, set the stage. Explain that your seeking honest feedback for your website or app and you’d like to hear both their negative and positive experiences.  
    • During the interview, use follow-up questions to further explore ideas.  The goal is to have a conversation that evolves organically rather than strictly following the script.
    • A typical interview can run for 30-45 minutes leaving time for introductions and wrap up without making the user feel rushed.   
  4. Summarize the feedback
    • Immediately following the interview, while the information is fresh in your mind, summarize and structure the feedback so that you can easily view the information across all of the users.  
  5. Analyze the results & plan next steps  
    • It’s important to turn what you’ve learned into actionable insights. Summarize the common themes or trends, then prioritize improvements based on potential impact and user goals.

Want to learn more or start incorporating user feedback to improve your website or app? Contact us to get a no-obligation initial consultation.


Laurie Riekmann

Laurie is the Project Manager at BrandHoot where she helps our team plan and launch new websites and apps. While project management is her job focus by day, Laurie enjoys camping and Minnesota summers.