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Research

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EMPATHY INTERVIEWS

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60-90 minutes

  • Paper, pens, visual materials

  • Any materials needed for the specific research in question

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What is this tool and what is its purpose and benefit?

 

Interviews are a way to go deeper into an issue and get a better understanding and insight of the identified problem. In design, the interview approach is usually empathetic with plenty of use of open-ended questions leaving space for the interviewees to talk in their own words about the matter and what is important to them. For the organisations from the cultural and creative sectors, interviews are a way to establish a better connection with customers and stakeholders, and learn about their mindset, needs, emotional and subconscious aspects, reactions, body language, perception on the researched topic and behaviour in situations and environments. To obtain information, it is important for the interviewer to listen actively and create a trustworthy situation for the interviewee. Internal interviews, on the other hand, are useful for spotting any weak points and opportunities related to the research issue, the staff’s perspective, and differences between the perspectives of the external and internal parties.

Steps how to use this tool in practice

 

The same steps apply when working individually, in pairs or in a group.

STEP 1

Start by preparing the questions. You can start the interviews by asking some more general questions first so that participants feel at ease and then continue with more specific questions that aim to elicit in-depth insight of the problem that is being identified. In addition to the questions, you can prepare images, storyboards, displays, mood boards, videos, exhibitions of displayed objects, items etc. both as part of the research topic and as inspiration.

STEP 2

Invite the interviewees. Their number depends on the need, topic, and the way you will conduct the interview. Usually the interviewees are between 5-20. One person can interview between 5-8 people.

STEP 3

Start the interview with the general questions. When you feel the interviewees are at ease, continue with the more specific questions that aim to elicit detailed information. When necessary refer to the visuals you have prepared.

STEP 4

Write down the answers on paper. If possible and if the participants agree, record the interviews.

Other tools of this phase

6 questions for gaining a comprehensive view of the issue.

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A visual model of the service for research.

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A map to gain insight into customers’ emotional and cognitive perceptions.

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Interviewing with images to stimulate more spontaneous responses.

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A self-documentation method used for observation and reflection.

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A map of all stakeholders, and their importance and relations.

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Obtaining user experience information through observation.

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