Often in UX — especially at the start of something new — you will need to get information from real people. So, today we will learn:
How to Ask People Questions
(New to the UX Crash Course? Start here.)
3 basic types of questions:
Open Questions — “How would you describe me?” — This allows for a wide range of answers, and works well when you want all the feedback you can get.
Leading Questions — “What are my sexiest features?” — This narrows the answers to a certain type. My example assumes that I have some sexy qualities, which might not be true! Be careful: this type of question also excludes answers you might want to know!
Closed/Direct Questions — “Which is sexier, my elbows or my knees?” — This type of question offers a choice. Yes or no. This or that. But remember: if the options are stupid, the results will be stupid.
Some examples of subjective research:
Interviews — Get somebody and ask them a set of questions, one-by-one.
Observation — Give people tasks or instructions and watch them use your design, without help. Afterward, you can ask them questions.
Focus Groups — Get a bunch of people in a room together and ask them to discuss your questions.Note: Confident people often persuade others in the group, and a few random people are an unreliable example of anything, which is why I would rather set myself on fire than do a focus group in real life.
Surveys — A form, which people answer on paper or online. These can genuinely feel anonymous, which is useful.
Card-Sorting — Each person gets a set of ideas or categories (on cards or post-its), which they sort into groups that make sense. After many people have done this it gives you an idea of how your menu should look. ProTip: don’t use your colleagues for this. Use normal users.
Google — It’s amazing how many useful opinions you can find online, for free, right now.
Ask the same questions, the same way, to everyone.
Avoid interpreting questions or suggesting answers.
People might lie to avoid embarrassment or if it seems like you prefer a particular answer.
Take notes or record the interview. Do not rely on your memory, ever.
Don’t eat yellow snow.
Tomorrow we will learn how to use your research to create user profiles…