Interviewing: Asking users and experts

June 6, 2008
  1. There are three styles of interviews: structured, semi-structured and unstructured.
  2. Interview questions can be open or closed. Closed questions require the interviewee to select from a limited range of options. Open questions accept a free-range response.
  3. Many interviews are semi-structured. The evaluator has a predetermined agenda but will probe and follow interesting, relevant directions suggested by the interviewee. A few structured questions may also be included, for example to collect demographic information.
  4. Structured and semi-structured interviews are designed to be replicated. Focus groups are a form of group interview.
  5. Questionnaires are a comparatively low-cost, quick way of reaching large numbers of people.
  6. Various rating scales exist including selection boxes, Likert, and semantic scales.
  7. Inspections can be used for evaluating requirements, mockups, functional prototypes, or systems.
  8. Five experts typically find around 75% of the usability problems.
  9. Compared to user testing, heuristic evaluation is less expensive and more flexible.
  10. User testing and heuristic evaluation often reveal different usability problems.
  11. Other types of inspections include pluralistic and cognitive walkthroughs.
  12. Walkthroughs are very focused and so are suitable for evaluating small parts of systems.

From: Preece, J., Rogers, Y., Sharp, H. (2002), Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, New York: Wiley, p. 424

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