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How to write effective UX research questions (with examples)

Collecting and analyzing real user feedback is essential in delivering an excellent user experience (UX). But not all user research is created equal—and done wrong, it can lead to confusion, miscommunication, and non-actionable results.

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questions for ux research

You need to ask the right UX research questions to get the valuable insights necessary to continually optimize your product and generate user delight. 

This article shows you how to write strong UX research questions, ensuring you go beyond guesswork and assumptions . It covers the difference between open- and close-ended research questions, explains how to go about creating your own UX research questions, and provides several examples to get you started.

Use Hotjar to ask your users the right UX research questions

Put your UX research questions to work with Hotjar's Feedback and Survey tools to uncover product experience insights

The different types of UX research questions

Let’s face it, asking the right UX research questions is hard. It’s a skill that takes a lot of practice and can leave even the most seasoned UX researchers drawing a blank.

There are two main categories of UX research questions: open-ended and close-ended, both of which are essential to achieving thorough, high-quality UX research. Qualitative research—based on descriptions and experiences—leans toward open-ended questions, whereas quantitative research leans toward closed-ended questions.

Let’s dive into the differences between them.

Open-ended UX research questions

Open-ended UX research questions are exactly what they sound like: they prompt longer, more free-form responses, rather than asking someone to choose from established possible answers—like multiple-choice tests.

Open questions are easily recognized because they:

Usually begin with how, why, what, describe, or tell me

Can’t be easily answered with just yes or no, or a word or two

Are qualitative rather than quantitative

If there’s a simple fact you’re trying to get to, a closed question would work. For anything involving our complex and messy human nature, open questions are the way to go.

Open-ended research questions aim to discover more about research participants and gather candid user insights, rather than seeking specific answers.

Some examples of UX research that use open-ended questions include:

Usability testing

Diary studies

Persona research

Use case research

Task analysis

Check out a concrete example of an open-ended UX research question in action below. Hotjar’s Survey tool is a perfect way of gathering longer-form user feedback, both on-site and externally.

#Asking on-site open-ended questions with Hotjar Surveys is a great way to gather honest user feedback

Pros and cons of open-ended UX research questions

Like everything in life, open-ended UX research questions have their pros and cons.

Advantages of open-ended questions include:

Detailed, personal answers

Great for storytelling

Good for connecting with people on an emotional level

Helpful to gauge pain points, frustrations, and desires

Researchers usually end up discovering more than initially expected

Less vulnerable to bias

 Drawbacks include:

People find them more difficult to answer than closed-ended questions

More time-consuming for both the researcher and the participant

Can be difficult to conduct with large numbers of people

Can be challenging to dig through and analyze open-ended questions

Closed-ended UX research questions

Close-ended UX research questions have limited possible answers. Participants can respond to them with yes or no, by selecting an option from a list, by ranking or rating, or with a single word.

They’re easy to recognize because they’re similar to classic exam-style questions.

More technical industries might start with closed UX research questions because they want statistical results. Then, we’ll move on to more open questions to see how customers really feel about the software we put together.

While open-ended research questions reveal new or unexpected information, closed-ended research questions work well to test assumptions and answer focused questions. They’re great for situations like:

Surveying a large number of participants

When you want quantitative insights and hard data to create metrics

When you’ve already asked open-ended UX research questions and have narrowed them down into close-ended questions based on your findings

If you’re evaluating something specific so the possible answers are limited

If you’re going to repeat the same study in the future and need uniform questions and answers

Wondering what a closed-ended UX research question might look in real life? The example below shows how Hotjar’s Feedback widgets help UX researchers hear from users 'in the wild' as they navigate.

#Closed-ended UX research questions provide valuable insights and are simple for users to address

The different types of closed-ended questions

There are several different ways to ask close-ended UX research questions, including:

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys

CSAT surveys are closed-ended UX research questions that explore customer satisfaction levels by asking users to rank their experience on some kind of scale, like the happy and angry icons in the image below.

On-site widgets like Hotjar's Feedback tool below excel at gathering quick customer insights without wreaking havoc on the user experience. They’re especially popular on ecommerce sites or after customer service interactions.

#Feedback tools can be fun, too. Keep your product lighthearted and collect quick user feedback with a widget like this one

Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys

NPS surveys are another powerful type of (mostly) closed-ended UX research questions. They ask customers how likely they are to recommend a company, product, or service to their community. Responses to NPS surveys are used to calculate Net Promoter Score .

NPS surveys split customers into three categories:

Promoters (9-10): Your most enthusiastic, vocal, and loyal customers

Passives (7-8): Ho-hum. They’re more or less satisfied customers but could be susceptible to jumping ship

Detractors (0-6): Dissatisfied customers who are at a high risk of spreading bad reviews

Net Promoter Score is a key metric used to predict business growth, track long-term success, and gauge overall customer satisfaction.

#Asking your customers, 'How likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?' helps calculate Net Promoter Score and gauges user satisfaction

Pro tip: while the most important question to ask in an NPS survey is readiness to recommend, it shouldn’t be the only one. Asking follow-up questions can provide more context and a deeper understanding of the customer experience. Combining Hotjar Feedback widgets with standalone Surveys is a great strategy for tracking NPS through both quick rankings and qualitative feedback.

Pros and cons of closed-ended research questions

Close-ended UX research questions have solid advantages, including:

More measurable data to convert into statistics and metrics

Higher response rates because they’re generally more straightforward for people to answer

Easier to coordinate when surveying a large number of people

Great for evaluating specifics and facts

Little to no irrelevant answers to comb through

Putting the UX researcher in control

But closed-ended questions can be tricky to get right. Their disadvantages include:

Leading participants to response bias

Preventing participants from telling the whole story

The lack of insight into opinions or emotions

Too many possible answers overwhelming participants

Too few possible answers, meaning the 'right' answer for each participant might not be included

How to form your own UX research questions

To create effective UX questions, start by defining your research objectives and hypotheses, which are assumptions you’ll put to the test with user feedback.

Use this tried-and-tested formula to create research hypotheses by filling in the blanks according to your unique user and business goals:

We believe (doing x)

For (x people)

Will achieve (x outcome)

For example: ' We believe adding a progress indicator into our checkout process (for customers) will achieve 20% lower cart abandonment rates.'

Pro tip: research hypotheses aren’t set in stone. Keep them dynamic as you formulate, change, and re-evaluate them throughout the UX research process, until your team comes away with increased certainty about their initial assumption.

When nailing down your hypotheses, remember that research is just as much about discovering new questions as it is about getting answers. Don’t think of research as a validation exercise where you’re looking to confirm something you already know. Instead, cultivate an attitude of exploration and strive to dig deeper into user emotions, needs, and challenges.

Once you have a working hypothesis, identify your UX research objective . Your objective should be linked to your hypothesis, defining what your product team wants to accomplish with your research—for example, ' We want to improve our cart abandonment rates by providing customers with a seamless checkout experience.'

Now that you’ve formulated a hypothesis and research objective, you can create your general or 'big picture' research questions . These define precisely what you want to discover through your research, but they’re not the exact questions you’ll ask participants. This is an important distinction because big picture research questions focus on the researchers themselves rather than users.

A big picture question might be something like: ' How can we improve our cart abandonment rates?'

With a strong hypothesis, objective, and general research question in the bag, you’re finally ready to create the questions you’ll ask participants.

32 examples of inspiring UX research questions

There are countless different categories of UX research questions.

We focus on open-ended, ecommerce-oriented questions here , but with a few tweaks, these could be easily transformed into closed-ended questions.

For example, an open-ended question like, 'Tell us about your overall experience shopping on our website' could be turned into a closed-ended question such as, ' Did you have a positive experience finding everything you needed on our website?'

Screening questions

Screening questions are the first questions you ask UX research participants. They help you get to know your customers and work out whether they fit into your ideal user personas.

These survey question examples focus on demographic and experience-based questions. For instance:

Tell me about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?

What does a typical day look like for you?

How old are you?

What’s the highest level of education that you’ve completed?

How comfortable do you feel using the internet?

How comfortable do you feel browsing or buying products online?

How frequently do you buy products online?

Do you prefer shopping in person or online? Why?

Awareness questions

Awareness questions explore how long your participants have been aware of your brand and how much they know about it. Some good options include:

How did you find out about our brand?

What prompted you to visit our website for the first time?

If you’ve visited our website multiple times, what made you come back?

How long was the gap between finding out about us and your first purchase?

Expectation questions

Expectation questions investigate the assumptions UX research participants have about brands, products, or services before using them. For example:

What was your first impression of our brand?

What was your first impression of X product or service?

How do you think using X product or service would benefit you?

What problem would X product or service solve for you?

Do you think X product or service is similar to another one on the market? Please specify.

Task-specific questions

Task-specific questions focus on user experiences as they complete actions on your site. Some examples include:

Tell us what you thought about the overall website design and content layout

How was your browsing experience?

How was your checkout experience?

What was the easiest task to complete on our website?

What was the hardest task to complete on our website?

Experience questions

Experience questions dig deeper into research participants’ holistic journeys as they navigate your site. These include:

Tell us how you felt when you landed on our website homepage

How can we improve the X page of our website?

What motivated you to purchase X product or service?

What stopped you from purchasing X product or service?

Was your overall experience positive or negative while shopping on our website? Why?

Concluding questions

Concluding questions ask participants to reflect on their overall experience with your brand, product, or service. For instance:

What are your biggest questions about X product or service?

What are your biggest concerns about X product or service?

If you could change one thing about X product or service, what would it be?

Would you recommend X product or service to a friend?

How would you compare X product or service to X competitor?

Excellent research questions are key for an optimal UX

To create a fantastic UX, you need to understand your users on a deeper level.

Crafting strong questions to deploy during the research process is an important way to gain that understanding, because UX research shouldn’t center on what you want to learn but what your users can teach you.

UX research question FAQs

What are ux research questions.

UX research questions can refer to two different things: general UX research questions and UX interview questions. 

Both are vital components of UX research and work together to accomplish the same goals—understanding user needs and pain points, challenging assumptions, discovering new insights, and finding solutions.

General UX research questions focus on what UX researchers want to discover through their study. 

UX interview questions are the exact questions researchers ask participants during their research study.

What are examples of UX research questions?

UX research question examples can be split into several categories. Some of the most popular include:

Screening questions: help get to know research participants better and focus on demographic and experience-based information. For example: “What does a typical day look like for you?”

Awareness questions: explore how much research participants know about your brand, product, or service. For example: “What prompted you to visit our website for the first time?”

Expectation questions: investigate assumptions research participants have about your brand, product, or service. For example: “What was your first impression of X?”

Task-specific questions: dive into participants’ experiences trying to complete actions on your site. For example: “What was the easiest task to complete on our website?”

Experience questions: dig deep into participants’ overall holistic experiences navigating through your site. For example: “Was your overall experience shopping on our website positive or negative? Why?”

Concluding questions: ask participants to reflect on their overall experience with your brand, product, or service. For example: “What are your biggest concerns about (x product or service)?”

What’s the difference between open-ended and closed-ended UX research questions?

The difference between open- and closed-ended UX research questions is simple. Open-ended UX research questions prompt long, free-form responses. They’re qualitative rather than quantitative and can’t be answered easily with yes or no, or a word or two. They’re easy to recognize because they begin with terms like how, why, what, describe, and tell me.

On the other hand, closed-ended UX research questions have limited possible answers. Participants can respond to them with yes or no, by selecting an option from a list, by rating or ranking options, or with just a word or two.

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Top 50 UX Research Interview Questions and Answers

Explore the key interview questions along with comprehensive answers to excel in your next UX Research interview.

The UX Research Interview Questions and Answers covers a wide range of topics crucial for success in the dynamic field of user experience research. Whether you're preparing for your first UX research interview or looking to enhance your skills, this compilation ensures thorough preparation. From fundamental concepts such as research methodologies and data analysis techniques to advanced topics like usability testing and persona development, these questions and answers provide valuable insights to help you excel in your career. You'll gain the knowledge and confidence needed to tackle any UX research interview with this comprehensive guide.

Background questions

The background questions' section of a UX research interview delves into the candidate's professional journey, educational background, and relevant experiences. This portion of the interview provides insights into the candidate's motivations, career trajectory, and alignment with the organization's goals. By exploring topics such as previous roles, projects undertaken, and areas of expertise, interviewers gain a deeper understanding of the candidate's qualifications and suitability for the UX research role. This section uncovers the candidate's passion for user experience, problem-solving abilities, and adaptability, all of which are crucial attributes in the field of UX research.

What inspired you to pursue a career in UX research?

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What inspired me to pursue a career in UX research was my fascination with understanding human behavior and how people interact with technology. I've always been curious about the psychology behind user experiences and how design choices impact usability. This passion drove me to delve deeper into the field, seeking to improve products and services by uncovering insights through research methodologies. The opportunity to bridge the gap between user needs and business goals motivates me to continually refine my skills and contribute meaningfully to creating intuitive and enjoyable experiences for users.

Can you describe your educational background and how it prepared you for a career in UX research?

My educational background in psychology and human-computer interaction provided me with a solid foundation in understanding human behavior, cognition, and interaction with technology. Through coursework, research projects, and internships, I gained experience in conducting user studies, analyzing data, and translating findings into actionable insights for product design. Collaborating with multidisciplinary teams and working on real-world projects enhanced my communication, problem-solving, and project management skills, which are essential for a career in UX research.

What previous UX research projects have you worked on, and what role did you play?

I've participated in various UX research projects, including conducting user interviews, usability testing, and analyzing user feedback. In one project, I played a key role in conducting ethnographic research to understand users' behaviors and needs. Another project involved designing and implementing surveys to gather quantitative data on user preferences. I've collaborated with cross-functional teams to synthesize research findings and translate them into actionable insights for product improvement.

How do you stay current with the latest UX research methods and trends?

I regularly attend industry conferences, workshops, and webinars to stay current with the latest UX research methods and trends. I actively participate in online communities and forums dedicated to UX research, where I engage in discussions, share insights, and learn from others in the field. I also subscribe to newsletters, follow influential UX researchers and thought leaders on social media, and regularly read books, articles, and research papers on UX design and user research. Lastly, I make it a priority to continually experiment with new tools, techniques, and methodologies in my own UX research projects to stay abreast of emerging trends and best practices.

Can you share an example of a challenging UX research project you completed and the outcome?

I was tasked with improving the onboarding experience for a mobile banking app. We conducted extensive user interviews, usability testing, and data analysis to identify pain points. One challenge was balancing security requirements with ease of use. The outcome was a streamlined onboarding process that maintained high security standards while reducing friction for users, resulting in increased user satisfaction and adoption rates.

What tools and software are you proficient in for conducting UX research?

I am proficient in using a variety of tools and software for conducting UX research. Some of the tools I am familiar with include usability testing platforms like UserTesting and UserZoom, survey tools like Qualtrics and SurveyMonkey, and analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar. I have experience using prototyping tools like Adobe XD, Figma, and Sketch for creating interactive prototypes to gather user feedback.

How do you approach ethical considerations in your UX research?

Ethical considerations in UX research are paramount and guide my approach. I ensure that all research activities prioritize the well-being and privacy of participants. This includes obtaining informed consent, maintaining confidentiality, and being transparent about the purpose and use of data collected. I adhere to ethical guidelines set forth by professional organizations such as the UXPA and ACM. Regularly reviewing and updating my research practices to align with evolving ethical standards is also a key aspect of my approach.

What methodologies do you prefer in your research process and why?

I prefer to utilize a combination of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies in my research process. This allows me to gather in-depth insights through methods such as interviews, observations, and usability testing, while also obtaining statistical data through surveys and analytics tools. By using a variety of approaches, I ensure a comprehensive understanding of user behaviors, preferences, and pain points. I prioritize iterative testing and refinement to continuously improve the user experience based on real user feedback and data-driven insights.

Can you discuss a time when your research findings significantly influenced product design?

There was a project where our UX research revealed that users were struggling with the navigation structure of the app. By conducting usability tests and analyzing feedback, we identified key pain points and recommended a redesigned menu system. This change resulted in a significant improvement in user engagement and satisfaction metrics, validating the impact of our research on product design.

How do you handle negative feedback or unexpected results in your UX research?

When faced with negative feedback or unexpected results in UX research, I approach it with an open mind and view it as an opportunity for growth. I first seek to understand the root cause of the issue by analyzing the data and gathering additional insights through user interviews or surveys. Then, I collaborate with team members to brainstorm potential solutions and iterate on the design accordingly. It's important to remain adaptable and willing to pivot based on new information, ultimately striving to improve the user experience based on feedback.

Decision-driven research questions

The decision-driven research questions and answers offer a focused approach to understanding the user experience (UX) landscape. Designed to uncover insights that drive informed decision-making, this section is tailored for UX researchers seeking to enhance their interviewing skills. Professionals gain valuable insights into user behaviors, preferences, and pain points by delving into decision-driven research questions. Whether you're conducting interviews for product development or usability testing, this section provides a framework for crafting meaningful questions that yield actionable results. UX researchers with a focus on driving strategic outcomes, leverage these questions and answers to elevate their research methodologies and deliver impactful insights.

How do you identify key decision-making factors in your UX research?

I begin by thoroughly understanding the project goals and objectives to identify key decision-making factors in UX research. I then conduct stakeholder interviews to gather insights on their priorities and expectations. Next, I analyze user personas and behaviors to pinpoint the most influential factors. I leverage data analytics and user feedback to identify patterns and trends that inform decision-making. Finally, I collaborate closely with cross-functional teams to ensure alignment and consensus on the key factors driving the user experience.

Can you describe a project where research directly influenced a critical design decision?

In a recent mobile app development project, we conducted extensive user research to understand the needs and preferences of our target audience. Through interviews, surveys, and usability testing, we gained valuable insights into how users interacted with similar apps, what features they found most valuable, and where they encountered frustrations.

One key finding from our research was that users struggled to navigate the app's menu structure, leading to frustration and abandonment. Armed with this insight, we proposed a redesign of the app's navigation system, simplifying it and making it more intuitive based on user feedback. This critical design decision was directly influenced by our research findings, and it ultimately led to a significant improvement in user satisfaction and engagement with the app.

What methods do you use to prioritize research questions based on business goals?

I utilize a combination of methods such as stakeholder interviews, analyzing business objectives, conducting user surveys, and reviewing existing data to prioritize research questions based on business goals. By aligning research questions with key business metrics and objectives, I ensure that our research efforts directly contribute to the company's strategic goals. I employ techniques like impact mapping and value vs. effort analysis to determine which research questions will deliver the most value with the least amount of resources. This approach allows us to focus our research efforts on areas that have the greatest potential to drive business success.

How do you ensure that your research findings are actionable for decision-makers?

It's crucial to frame insights in a clear and concise manner to ensure that research findings are actionable for decision-makers. This involves translating raw data into meaningful narratives that highlight key takeaways. Utilizing visual aids such as charts, graphs, and infographics further enhances comprehension. Actively involving stakeholders throughout the research process fosters ownership and alignment. Presenting findings in a timely manner also increases the likelihood of impact, allowing decision-makers to act swiftly based on the insights provided. Lastly, providing actionable recommendations alongside the findings empowers decision-makers with specific steps to address identified issues or capitalize on opportunities.

What techniques do you employ to measure the impact of design changes on user behavior?

We employ various techniques such as A/B testing, user testing, analytics tracking, surveys, heatmaps, and qualitative feedback analysis to measure the impact of design changes on user behavior. These methods help us gather quantitative and qualitative data to assess how users interact with the redesigned interface and identify any improvements or challenges. We use conversion rate analysis, retention rate analysis, and user journey mapping to understand the overall impact of design changes on user behavior and business goals.

How do you communicate complex research findings to stakeholders for decision support?

It's crucial to distill key insights into easily understandable and actionable points to communicate complex research findings to stakeholders for decision support. Start by framing the findings within the context of the stakeholders' goals and objectives. Utilize visual aids such as charts, graphs, and infographics to illustrate data trends and patterns. Provide real-world examples or case studies to make the findings more relatable. Use clear and concise language, avoiding jargon or technical terms whenever possible. Encourage dialogue and discussion to ensure stakeholders fully grasp the implications of the research findings and feel empowered to make informed decisions.

What role does data play in guiding the decision-making process in your UX projects?

The role data plays in guiding the decision-making process in UX projects is significant. Data provides insights into user behavior, preferences, and pain points, helping teams make informed design decisions. By analyzing data from user research, analytics, and testing, UX professionals identify patterns and trends to prioritize features, improve usability, and enhance overall user experience. Data-driven decision-making ensures that design choices are grounded in empirical evidence rather than assumptions, leading to more successful outcomes and satisfying user interactions.

How do you balance qualitative insights with quantitative data in decision-making?

It's essential to triangulate findings from both sources to balance qualitative insights with quantitative data in decision-making. Qualitative insights provide depth and context, while quantitative data offers breadth and statistical validity. By integrating both, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of user behavior and preferences. This enables us to make informed decisions that are grounded in both empirical evidence and user insights.

Can you give an example of a research-driven recommendation that was not implemented and why?

One example of a research-driven recommendation that was not implemented involved suggesting a redesign of the checkout process on an e-commerce website. Despite user testing indicating that simplifying the process could increase conversion rates, the recommendation was not implemented due to concerns about potential technical challenges and the impact on existing systems.

What strategies do you use to align your research objectives with the company’s strategic decisions?

I employ several strategies to align research objectives with the company's strategic decisions. Firstly, I thoroughly understand the company's overarching goals and priorities. Then, I collaborate closely with stakeholders to identify key research questions that directly impact those objectives. Next, I design research methodologies that gather relevant data and insights to inform strategic decisions. I regularly communicate findings and recommendations in a clear and actionable manner to ensure alignment between research outcomes and strategic goals. Finally, I continuously evaluate and adjust research plans based on evolving business needs to maintain alignment over time.

Process and technical knowledge questions

Process and technical knowledge questions and answers serve as a valuable resource for professionals aiming to excel in UX research roles. This concise yet comprehensive compilation focuses on essential aspects of the UX research process and technical knowledge required in the field. From understanding user behavior to conducting effective usability tests, key concepts and methodologies are covered. Whether you're a novice exploring the world of UX research or an experienced practitioner seeking to enhance your skills, this resource offers valuable insights to help you prepare for interviews and succeed in the dynamic field of user experience research.

How do you determine the right research methodology for a new project?

It's essential to first understand the project goals, target audience, and constraints to determine the right research methodology for a new project. Conducting stakeholder interviews and gathering requirements help identify key objectives and priorities. Once these are established, consider the available resources, timeline, and budget. Depending on the nature of the project, different research methods such as surveys, interviews, usability testing, or ethnographic studies are more appropriate. It's also important to assess the level of access to participants and the context in which the research will be conducted. By carefully weighing these factors and consulting with stakeholders, select the most suitable research methodology to gather valuable insights and inform design decisions.

Can you explain the difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods?

Qualitative research methods focus on understanding behaviors, attitudes, and opinions through open-ended questions, observations, and discussions. This approach aims to explore the depth and context of a phenomenon, often using smaller sample sizes and non-numerical data.

Quantitative research methods, on the other hand, involve collecting and analyzing numerical data to quantify relationships and patterns. This approach emphasizes statistical analysis and large sample sizes to draw generalizable conclusions and make predictions based on measurable data.

Describe your process for conducting a usability study.

I start by defining clear objectives and goals to conduct a usability study. Next, I recruit participants who match the target user demographics. Then, I create tasks and scenarios to simulate real-world usage. During the study, I observe participants' interactions and gather both qualitative and quantitative data. Afterward, I analyze the findings to identify usability issues and insights. Finally, I present actionable recommendations for improving the user experience. Throughout the process, I prioritize user feedback and iterate as needed to ensure the product meets user needs effectively.

How do you ensure the reliability and validity of your research findings?

It's essential to employ rigorous methods and techniques to ensure the reliability and validity of research findings. This includes using standardized protocols, minimizing bias through diverse sampling techniques, and ensuring data accuracy and consistency. Conducting pilot studies and triangulating data from multiple sources enhances the credibility of findings. Regularly reviewing and updating research protocols and methodologies also helps maintain the integrity of the research process. Finally, transparently documenting all steps and decisions taken throughout the research process enables others to assess and replicate the findings, further ensuring their reliability and validity.

What tools and software do you use for data analysis in UX research?

For data analysis in UX research, I primarily use tools such as Excel, SPSS, and R for statistical analysis. I leverage qualitative analysis software like NVivo or Atlas.ti for interpreting qualitative data such as interviews or surveys. These tools allow me to analyze user behavior, identify patterns, and extract insights to inform the design process.

How do you prioritize research questions in a fast-paced development environment?

Prioritizing research questions in a fast-paced development environment involves assessing their impact on user experience, project goals, and timeline constraints. We prioritize questions by evaluating their relevance to current product objectives, potential risks, and alignment with user needs. We consider the feasibility of addressing each question within the project timeline and available resources. Effective communication with stakeholders helps ensure alignment on priorities and facilitates informed decision-making. Regularly reassessing priorities allows us to adapt to changing requirements and emerging insights, ensuring that research efforts remain focused and impactful.

Describe a time when you had to adapt your research methodology due to project constraints.

In a recent project, we encountered unexpected budget constraints that required us to reassess our research methodology. We initially planned to conduct in-depth interviews with a large sample size, but the limited resources forced us to pivot towards using online surveys instead. Despite the change, we ensured that the survey questions still addressed our research objectives and provided valuable insights. We adjusted our sampling approach to reach a broader audience within the constraints of our budget. This adaptation allowed us to gather sufficient data to inform our design decisions while staying within the project's limitations.

How do you involve stakeholders in the UX research process?

It's crucial to establish open communication channels to involve stakeholders in the UX research process. This includes regular updates, inviting them to participate in user testing sessions, and incorporating their feedback into the research findings. Conducting workshops or co-creation sessions where stakeholders actively engage in ideation and problem-solving foster a sense of ownership and investment in the research process. Providing clear objectives and explaining the importance of their involvement can also encourage stakeholder participation. Ultimately, by involving stakeholders throughout the UX research process, it ensures that their perspectives and insights are integrated into the design decisions, leading to more user-centered solutions.

What strategies do you use to synthesize and communicate research findings to design and development teams?

I employ various strategies to synthesize and communicate research findings to design and development teams. Firstly, I gather and organize data from user interviews, surveys, and usability tests. Then, I analyze this data to identify key patterns, themes, and insights. Next, I create concise summaries and visual representations such as charts, graphs, and personas to effectively communicate findings. I collaborate closely with design and development teams, presenting findings in meetings, workshops, or through written reports. I also encourage open dialogue and feedback to ensure that everyone understands and can apply the research insights to their work. Finally, I follow up with team members to track the implementation of research findings and iterate as needed.

Can you discuss your experience with remote user testing and its challenges?

Remote user testing has been a significant part of my UX research experience. Leveraging tools like Zoom, UserTesting, and Lookback, I've conducted numerous remote sessions to gather feedback on digital products. One of the main challenges I've encountered is ensuring a seamless user experience despite potential technical issues such as poor internet connection or compatibility problems with participants' devices. Maintaining engagement and rapport with remote participants is more challenging compared to in-person sessions, requiring extra effort to keep them focused and involved throughout the testing process. Despite these challenges, remote user testing offers valuable insights into user behavior and preferences, making it a crucial component of any UX research strategy.

Adaptability questions

Adaptability is a crucial trait that separates exceptional researchers from the rest. This section focuses on adaptability questions, designed to assess a candidate's ability to pivot, innovate, and thrive in dynamic environments. From responding to unexpected challenges to adjusting research methodologies on the fly, adaptability is essential for success in the ever-evolving field of user experience research. Whether you're a seasoned researcher looking to demonstrate your flexibility or a candidate preparing for an interview, mastering adaptability questions is key to showcasing your ability to excel in any research scenario.

How do you adjust your research approach when faced with unexpected challenges?

I adapt my research approach by reassessing my objectives and prioritizing the most critical aspects of the study when faced with unexpected challenges. I need to gather additional data or adjust the methodology to accommodate the new circumstances. Flexibility and creativity are key in overcoming unforeseen obstacles and ensuring the research yields valuable insights. I remain open to feedback and input from stakeholders to address any issues that may arise promptly. By staying agile and adaptable, I effectively navigate unexpected challenges and maintain the integrity of the research process.

Can you describe a time when you had to quickly adapt to a new user research tool or technology?

I recall a recent project where we needed to implement a new user research tool for gathering feedback on a mobile app prototype. Due to unexpected changes in project requirements, we had to switch to a different tool at short notice. Despite not being familiar with it, I quickly adapted by attending online tutorials, seeking help from colleagues, and exploring the tool's features. Within a day, I was able to effectively use the new tool to conduct user testing sessions and gather valuable insights for the project team. This experience taught me the importance of being adaptable and resourceful in the face of unexpected challenges in user research.

How do you stay flexible when project goals or priorities suddenly change?

I remain adaptable and open-minded to stay flexible when project goals or priorities suddenly change. I prioritize communication and collaboration within the team to quickly understand the changes and their implications. I also stay focused on the overall objectives of the project, allowing me to pivot and adjust my approach as needed. I regularly reassess timelines and resources to ensure we can meet new requirements effectively.

What strategies do you use to handle tight deadlines or budget constraints in your research projects?

I employ efficient planning and prioritization techniques to handle tight deadlines or budget constraints in research projects. I focus on key objectives and streamline processes to maximize productivity. I utilize agile methodologies to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and allocate resources effectively. I leverage collaboration and communication within the team to ensure everyone is aligned and working towards the same goals. Lastly, I continuously seek feedback and iterate on our approach to optimize efficiency and deliver high-quality results within the constraints.

Can you give an example of how you've tailored your communication style to different stakeholders?

In a previous project, I adjusted my communication style based on the stakeholders involved. For instance, when presenting findings to technical team members, I used more detailed and data-driven language, focusing on the methodology and statistical significance. Conversely, when discussing the same findings with executives, I emphasized the high-level implications and benefits in a more concise and visually engaging manner. This approach ensured that each stakeholder group received information in a format that resonated with their expertise and priorities, ultimately facilitating better understanding and decision-making.

How do you manage to keep up with the rapidly evolving field of UX research?

I stay updated by regularly attending industry conferences, workshops, and webinars to keep up with the rapidly evolving field of UX research. I actively engage with online communities and forums dedicated to UX research, where I learn from peers and share knowledge. I also make it a priority to read relevant articles, books, and research papers to stay informed about the latest trends, techniques, and best practices in the field. Finally, I continuously seek out opportunities for hands-on experience through projects, internships, and collaborations with other professionals in the industry.

What do you do when your research findings contradict the expectations of your team or stakeholders?

It's important to approach the situation with open-mindedness and objectivity when research findings contradict the expectations of the team or stakeholders. Firstly, I would thoroughly review the research methodology and data to ensure accuracy and reliability. Next, I would communicate the findings transparently and provide supporting evidence to explain the discrepancies. It's crucial to engage in constructive dialogue with stakeholders to understand their perspectives and concerns. From there, we collaboratively explore potential implications and identify opportunities for further investigation or adjustment. Ultimately, the goal is to foster a culture of learning and adaptation, where divergent viewpoints are valued and used to inform decision-making.

How have you adapted your research methods to cater to remote or distributed teams?

I've leveraged various digital tools and platforms to conduct research remotely in response to the shift towards remote work. This includes utilizing video conferencing software for interviews and usability testing, as well as online survey platforms to gather feedback from distributed team members. I've developed clear communication protocols and documentation to ensure that everyone is aligned and informed throughout the research process. By embracing remote-friendly tools and practices, I've been able to maintain the quality and effectiveness of my research efforts, regardless of team location.

Can you share an experience where you had to pivot your research focus based on early findings?

During a recent project, we initially set out to explore user preferences for a new mobile app interface. However, after conducting some preliminary usability testing, we discovered that users were struggling with a particular feature that we hadn't anticipated. Recognizing the importance of addressing this issue, we decided to pivot our research focus to delve deeper into understanding why users were encountering difficulties and how we could improve the feature's design. This shift allowed us to gather valuable insights that ultimately informed our redesign efforts and led to a more user-friendly app interface.

How do you balance the need for thorough research with the demand for quick project turnarounds?

I prioritize key research objectives and focus on collecting high-impact data efficiently to balance the need for thorough research with quick project turnarounds. Utilizing agile research methodologies helps in conducting iterative studies and making informed decisions promptly. Leveraging existing data and research insights expedite the process without compromising quality. Effective communication with stakeholders about the trade-offs between depth and speed is crucial for setting realistic expectations and managing project timelines effectively. Finally, employing tools and techniques such as rapid prototyping and usability testing helps validate design decisions quickly while still ensuring a user-centered approach.

Collaboration questions

The collaboration aspect of UX research is vital for creating user-centric designs that meet the needs of both users and stakeholders. This segment of the interview process focuses on assessing a candidate's ability to effectively communicate, collaborate, and work within interdisciplinary teams. It delves into how well candidates can collaborate with designers, developers, product managers, and other stakeholders to gather insights, iterate on designs, and make data-driven decisions. Successful collaboration fosters a cohesive and efficient workflow, ensuring that user research findings are integrated seamlessly into the design process to deliver exceptional user experiences.

How do you collaborate with designers to integrate user research findings into the design process?

I engage in regular meetings and discussions to share insights and recommendations based on our research findings. This involves providing detailed reports, presentations, and documentation outlining user needs, behaviors, and pain points. By working closely with designers, we brainstorm solutions, iterate on designs, and ensure that user feedback is incorporated throughout the entire design process. I conduct usability testing sessions to validate design decisions and gather further insights for refinement.

Can you describe a project where you had to work closely with product managers to define research goals?

I recently worked on a mobile app redesign project where the product managers and I collaborated to define research objectives. We conducted stakeholder interviews to understand their priorities and pain points. Then, we developed research questions aligned with those insights.

Throughout the project, we had regular check-ins with the product managers to ensure our research was addressing their needs. We also adjusted our approach based on their feedback to ensure we were providing actionable insights.

By working closely with the product managers, we were able to align our research goals with the overall objectives of the project and deliver valuable insights to inform the redesign process.

What strategies do you use to communicate research findings effectively to non-research stakeholders?

I employ various strategies to effectively communicate research findings to non-research stakeholders. First, I focus on translating complex data into clear and actionable insights that align with the stakeholders' goals and priorities. I use visual aids such as charts, graphs, and infographics to make the findings more digestible and engaging. I tailor my communication style to the preferences and expertise of the audience, avoiding jargon and technical language when necessary. I also provide real-world examples and anecdotes to illustrate the implications of the research findings and how they relate to the stakeholders' objectives. Finally, I actively solicit feedback and encourage dialogue to ensure that the information is understood and integrated effectively into decision-making processes.

How do you ensure alignment between your research objectives and the company's business goals?

I start by thoroughly understanding the company's strategic priorities to ensure alignment between research objectives and business goals. Next, I collaborate closely with stakeholders to define clear research objectives that directly support these goals. Throughout the research process, I regularly communicate progress and findings to stakeholders, seeking feedback and adjusting as needed to maintain alignment. I continuously evaluate the impact of my research on key business metrics to ensure that it's driving meaningful outcomes for the company.

What has been your experience working in cross-functional teams on UX projects?

My experience working in cross-functional teams on UX projects has been extensive and rewarding. Collaborating with individuals from various disciplines such as design, engineering, product management, and marketing has provided valuable insights and perspectives. This collaborative environment fosters creativity and innovation, leading to holistic solutions that address user needs effectively. Clear communication and mutual understanding of goals and objectives are crucial for the success of cross-functional teams. Leveraging each team member's expertise and skills enhances the quality of the UX research and design process, ultimately resulting in a better user experience for the product or service.

How do you handle disagreements with team members regarding research methodologies or findings?

I prioritize open communication and collaboration when facing disagreements with team members about research methodologies or findings. I start by actively listening to their perspectives and understanding their rationale behind their suggestions. Then, I present my own reasoning and evidence to support my stance. Together, we work towards finding common ground and reaching a consensus. If necessary, I involve other stakeholders or seek guidance from project leaders to resolve the disagreement in a constructive manner. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure that our research process remains rigorous and aligned with the project objectives.

Can you share an example of how you've contributed to a team effort to improve a product's user experience?

In a recent project, I collaborated with a cross-functional team to enhance a product's user experience. One example is when I conducted user research to identify pain points in the current design. Based on feedback, I proposed design iterations that addressed these issues, such as simplifying the navigation and improving accessibility features. I facilitated usability testing sessions to gather insights and validate our improvements. By working closely with designers, developers, and stakeholders, we successfully implemented changes that resulted in a more intuitive and satisfying user experience.

What role do you play in facilitating workshops or brainstorming sessions with design and development teams?

My role in facilitating workshops or brainstorming sessions with design and development teams is to serve as a facilitator and mediator. I ensure that everyone's ideas are heard and considered, fostering collaboration and creativity. I guide the team through structured activities to generate innovative solutions and prioritize tasks. I use various techniques such as ideation exercises, design thinking methodologies, and visual aids to stimulate discussion and drive decision-making. My goal is to create an inclusive environment where team members can freely express their thoughts and contribute to the development process.

How do you prioritize research activities when working under tight deadlines with multiple teams?

It's essential to first assess the urgency and impact of each task when prioritizing research activities under tight deadlines and with multiple teams. This involves collaborating closely with stakeholders to understand project objectives and deadlines. Once priorities are established, focus on high-impact activities that align with strategic goals and address critical questions or uncertainties. Leverage resources efficiently by identifying opportunities for reusing existing data or insights. Effective communication and coordination across teams are key to ensuring everyone is aligned and working towards common goals. Lastly, continuously monitor progress and adjust priorities as needed to stay on track and deliver results within the given constraints.

What methods do you employ to keep remote teams engaged and informed about ongoing research projects?

I employ various communication channels such as video conferences, Slack channels, and project management tools like Trello or Asana to keep remote teams engaged and informed about ongoing research projects. Regularly scheduled meetings help ensure everyone is up to date on the latest developments and can provide feedback or ask questions. I utilize collaborative documents or shared drives to centralize information and resources, making it easy for team members to access relevant materials at any time. Encouraging open communication and fostering a sense of teamwork through virtual team-building activities also helps maintain engagement and motivation among remote team members.

How to Ace a UX Research Interview?

It's crucial to demonstrate a deep understanding of user-centric design principles and methodologies to ace a UX research interview. Start by thoroughly researching the company and its products, understanding their target audience, and familiarizing yourself with their existing UX processes.

Prepare examples from your past experiences that showcase your ability to conduct user research, analyze data, and translate insights into actionable recommendations. Practice explaining your research methodologies, such as interviews, surveys, and usability testing, and how you've used them to drive product improvements.

Be ready to discuss how you collaborate with cross-functional teams, including designers, product managers, and engineers, to integrate user feedback into the product development lifecycle. Highlight your communication and storytelling skills, as conveying research findings effectively is essential for influencing stakeholders and driving decision-making.

Demonstrate your passion for understanding user behavior and solving their problems, as enthusiasm and empathy are key traits for a successful UX researcher. Finally, be prepared to ask insightful questions about the company's UX challenges and how your skills and expertise can contribute to addressing them.

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How to Craft the Best UX Research Questions

questions for ux research

In this blog post you will find:

Understanding ux research, brainstorm with other stakeholders, break down and categorize your ideas.

  • Introductory Questions

Questions about the problem

Questions about the product.

As a UX Researcher, engaging with customers and prospects is a critical part of your role. Mastering the art of asking effective UX research questions is essential. The right questions not only illuminate user needs but also safeguard against the costly mistake of developing a product that misses the mark.

This blog post is designed to guide you through identifying key questions for your UX research. It will provide you with a foundation of essential UX research questions and offer strategies to develop customized ones that align precisely with your specific research objectives.

Firstly, it’s important to grasp the true essence of UX Research. It goes beyond just gathering data; it’s about interpreting this data to drive informed decisions in product design and development.

questions for ux research

Tailoring UX Research Questions To Your Research Goals

Before crafting your questions, it’s crucial to define what you aim to learn from the research. Clear objectives will guide your questioning strategy. Whether it’s improving a specific feature or understanding overall user satisfaction, your goals should dictate the type of questions you ask. Let’s go over some actionable advice to define your research targets.

The primary objective of conducting UX Research is to provide insightful data that informs decision-making across various teams, including marketing, product and sales. Therefore, it’s essential to develop a hypothesis with each team member on board. Their insights will not only assist in more precisely defining the problem to be solved but also ensure that the UX research questions posed are on target. Their presence brings diverse perspectives and insights to the table.

After compiling a comprehensive set of UX research questions, it’s vital to categorize and prioritize them. This step is key in developing a structured approach to your UX research. In the following sections, we’ll suggest a framework for organizing your questions. Remember, this structure is adaptable and can be tailored to align with your specific research goals and the unique nuances of your project.

Types Of UX Research Questions

To get the insights you’re seeking, consider employing various types of questions in your research.

questions for ux research

Introductory questions

These are particularly useful for bridging any gaps that may remain after participants have answered initial screener questions or surveys. These questions aren’t just limited to the beginning of your research; they can be integrated throughout the process.

At this stage, the key is to encourage participants to speak freely. Opt for open-ended questions that stimulate conversation and allow for expansive answers. By taking this approach, you’ll effectively warm up the atmosphere and help the participant relax, which is crucial for unlocking a wealth of valuable insights.

Here’s a list of introductory UX research questions you can use: 

  • What does your typical day look like?
  • Can you walk me through how you interact with technology throughout your day, including any specific devices or platforms you frequently use?
  • Aside from your typical weekday, how do your weekends or non-working days differ in terms of activities and technology usage?
  • What factors most influence your decisions when choosing to use a particular app or website?
  • Could you tell me about your current role?
  • Could you describe any specific habits or preferences you have developed in your professional field?

These questions provide a richer context for understanding the participant’s daily life and interactions with the product or service being studied.

In this category of questions, the focus is on the problem that your product or service is designed to solve. You introduce this problem as the central topic of the study and explore the participant’s behaviors and habits related to addressing this issue.

For instance, if the application under study is a macronutrient tracking app, the problem topic revolves around weight loss and/or muscle growth. The questions, therefore, should be centered around these areas, aiming to understand how participants currently manage these challenges and how they perceive solutions offered by apps like yours. This approach helps in gaining insights into their needs, preferences, and potential barriers they face.

Here are a set of example questions:

  • What is the biggest challenge in counting your macronutrients?
  • What kind of workarounds have you figured out to make this easier?
  • Can you describe your dietary goals and how they influence your approach to macronutrient tracking?
  • What specific features do you look for in a tool or app for macronutrient tracking, and why are these features important to you?
  • Have you paid for tools to track your macronutrients?
  • What, if anything, would you change about other macronutrient tracking tools or apps you’ve used? 

At this point, probing questions like “why?” and “why not?” can uncover more profound understandings of the participant’s motivations as well.

In this phase, you present the product as a potential answer to their needs. It’s crucial to distinguish between gathering data before and after product usage within your research methodology.

Demonstrating a demo or prototype is an effective approach to elicit initial reactions. Prior to their usage of the product, consider asking questions such as:

  • Is there anything on the homepage that would stop you from exploring the website and the product further?
  • Based on your first look at our homepage, what are your initial thoughts on the design and ease of use of this product?
  • What feature or aspect of this product stands out to you as unique or different from others you’ve seen?
  • Considering your current habits and preferences, what might be a barrier for you in adopting this product?
  • What emotions or feelings does this product evoke in you upon first exploration?
  • Would you use this product today? Why or why not?
  • What would you pay to be able to use this product?

After allowing the participant to use the product or guiding them through several tasks, the following UX research tools questions are designed to elicit suggestions, ideas and feedback. These questions are best asked once the participant has had hands-on experience with the product, providing insights based on their actual usage:

  • Can you identify any specific features or functions of this product that particularly stand out to you?
  • Can you identify any specific features or functions of this product that could be improved?
  • What, if anything, did you find appealing about the product? Why?
  • How do you feel about the overall user experience provided by this product?
  • How does this product compare with other similar products you’ve used in terms of features and usability?
  • Would you keep using this product after what you’ve seen? Why or why not?
  • Based on your current experience, how do you perceive the long-term value of this product for your needs?
  • Did you have expectations about this product that have not been met?

In conclusion, the power of well-structured questions cannot be overstated. They are the tools that guide the path to creating products that resonate deeply with your audience. This guide on UX research questions has hopefully provided you with the knowledge of what questions to ask and when — the kind that lead to breakthroughs. Remember, every question should be a stepping stone towards creating a more intuitive, user-centered product experience.

While fundamental questions form the basis of UX research, advanced techniques can provide deeper insights. A platform like Userlytics helps you dive deep into user behaviors and preferences more effectively. See how our platform can help you get those insights you crave. If you would like to book a free demo, it’s right here .

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10 Essential UX Research Interview Questions  *

Toptal sourced essential questions that the best ux researchers can answer. driven from our community, we encourage experts to submit questions and offer feedback..

questions for ux research

Interview Questions

What would be the top four challenges UX researchers face in the current environment?

One attribute of a great UX researcher is the ability to evaluate their work objectively. No matter what stage of their career, there will always be those challenges that every UX researcher strives to overcome in a meaningful way.

Listen for answers that not only describe the challenges they may face but how they overcome them.

According to a recent study, these are the four challenges UX researchers face today:

  • Inclusion in the product development process
  • Sourcing the right participants for UX research
  • Securing resources and budget
  • Getting executive buy-in about UX research

The UX researcher who’s being interviewed may not name these four above exactly, but they should voice similar challenges they face every day. Listen for the UX researcher demonstrating an understanding of the root of the problem and a willingness to overcome these challenges by various methods. Ask about how they overcame them.

Listen for answers that include overcoming challenges of working with others with different agendas. A UX researcher will always face challenges around collaborating with professionals from other disciplines, such as C-level executives, marketing teams, sales teams, growth teams, product managers, engineers, and designers.

They may have a challenge justifying their UX research process to specific stakeholders—it may seem too costly and take too long. How do they overcome these obstacles? How do they align their work with that of the goals of the business, the company’s brand, and marketing efforts?

For example, convincing a company they need more in-depth user research before a product is designed, or incorporating proper usability testing during a product design lifecycle can be difficult. How do they advocate for those mentioned above in making their case?

Follow-up questions on this topic:

  • Can you tell me about a time you faced one of these challenges in previous projects and how you went about solving it?
  • What were the outcomes of this approach?

Describe your UX research process and what methods you follow.

UX research is continuously evolving and searching for new approaches to aid the product design process and solve problems. Seasoned UX researchers have likely been developing their approach to the research process, and will vary from one UX researcher to another.

In general, great UX researchers will walk through the “toolkit” they use when approaching a problem or a project. Depending on resources and time given for research, listen for their flexibility with approaches. Great UX researchers have a deep curiosity and a constant desire to learn about steps they could take to solve user problems. A UX researcher will reach into their toolkit and apply the most effective research methods given the constraints within which they have to work.

Listen for applying different methods of UX research depending on the project. There is primary and secondary UX research, qualitative and quantitative UX research, generative and evaluative UX research. Generative research is conducted during the beginning of the investigative process. It helps UX researchers clearly define a problem and generate a hypothesis for its solution. Evaluative research is executed near the end of the research process, and it’s used to test and refine ideas until the best solution is reached.

One overarching theme should be around a human-centric approach to research; perhaps mention “design thinking,” which follows a thorough understanding of both user and business goals. Key concepts or methods used to carry out this process may include but are not limited to competitive audits, stakeholder interviews, user personas, empathy maps, user research, content audits, minimum viable product (MVP) lean UX, and usability testing. They may also mention conducting user testing—moderated or unmoderated, remote or in-person—multivariate testing, A/B testing, eye tracking, click-tracking heatmaps, and other quantitative analytics.

Apart from the above, listen for UX research methodologies that will help align the product’s design with business goals and marketing, and which encompass the company’s brand promise. By applying these UX research methodologies and learning directly from users, each of the techniques mentioned above can play an essential role in the creation of a product that users will love.

Is UX research important? Why?

A great UX researcher should be passionate about the need for UX research because it’s an essential step in the human-centered UX design process. UX research guides subsequent stages in design to provide effective solutions to customer problems. It is “the soul of the product build process.” The reason why UX research is necessary is because doing user research provides insight into which features to prioritize and helps develop clarity around a project.

A great UX researcher should elaborate on the importance of UX research, break it down into concrete terms, and talk about the need to:

  • Focus on the end user and approach product design from the user’s perspective
  • Identify the product’s potential user base and build user personas
  • Understand users’ behavior, goals, and motivations
  • Deep dive into specific areas to identify user needs
  • Tease out actionable insights from UX research to help the product design process

As to why it’s important to conduct UX research, listen for the following great reasons for doing UX research.

  • If you don’t have a clear understanding of your users and their mental models, you have no way of knowing whether your design will be relevant. A design that is not relevant to its target audience will never be a success.
  • A favorite quote from Steve Jobs: “If the user is having a problem, it’s our problem.” If your user experience is not optimal, chances are that people will move on to another product.
  • An improvement in performance and credibility
  • Increased exposure and sales—growth in customer base

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How do you approach UX research?

The answer will help you discover what kind of UX researcher you may be hiring.

Listen for answers that include a discussion around empathy—things like “walking a mile in a customer’s shoes” (customer journeys) and a human-centered, goal-driven approach to designing products. Empathizing with people often means engaging in in-depth user research to solve problems. It’s essential to ask the right questions in order to come up with reliable solutions, and to ask great questions, researchers need to be able to empathize with people and gather relevant information through in-depth UX research.

Also, listen for two main types of user research, such as qualitative research and quantitative research. Qualitative research is about gathering insights and is concerned with descriptions, which can be observed but cannot be computed. Qualitative user research is a direct assessment of behavior based on observation. It’s about understanding people’s beliefs and practices on their terms. It can involve several different methods, including contextual observation, ethnographic studies, interviews, field studies, and moderated usability tests.

Quantitative research is primarily exploratory research and is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into useful statistics. Some standard data collection methods include various forms of surveys (online surveys, paper surveys, mobile surveys, and kiosk surveys), longitudinal studies, website interceptors, online polls, and systematic observations.

Quantitative data from analytics platforms should ideally be balanced with qualitative insights gathered from other UX testing methods, such as focus groups or usability testing. The analytical data will show patterns that may be useful for deciding what assumptions to test further.

Most great UX researchers know that it’s about balance: employing the right amount of each type of research depending on the scenario. A great UX researcher doesn’t rely on one or the other exclusively. It’s about the right mix of the two. The reason why they need to do qualitative research, for example, is because the most critical information is often not quantifiable, and quantitative analysis is often too narrow to be useful and can sometimes be outright misleading.

Describe a recent UX research project you were particularly challenged by and how you approached the problem.

This question should help you understand more about a UX researcher’s process. What kind of project was it? What did they find challenging, and why? How did they set out to come up with a solution? While there is no right or wrong way to approach a particular challenge, having a clear strategy to facilitate an end goal is essential.

For example—on an existing product—they may have found it challenging to define the problem. Did they gather extra user-generated data to help them crystallize the problem? It could mean collecting data using analytics, or it might involve testing the design on a specific demographic in a format that makes the most sense. This could include testing wireframes or interactive prototypes on users to either validate or reject hypotheses, or it could be sending a survey to a broader demographic to understand product-market fit better.

For example, did they employ remote moderated user testing or another form of remote research methodology to listen to users and arrive at better design solutions?

Did they interface with C-level executives and company marketing and sales teams to better understand business goals, the customers, and what problem the product was trying to solve?

Potentially, a UX researcher may start multivariate testing or A/B testing and let data lead the way until they hit a roadblock, then continue iterating until they achieve a satisfactory result. UX researchers thrive on solving challenges, so the right candidate should readily share enthusiasm about how they approach problems.

Since UX research is at the core of HCD (human-centered design), can you provide some examples of your experience dealing with HCD?

First and foremost, human-centered design is all about understanding your users. A good UX researcher will help design products that work well across a variety of use cases across a wide range of audiences.

A seasoned UX researcher should be able to elaborate on how they think of and engage user research, which, in essence, drives human-centered design. What “lenses” do they use when conducting user research? These “lenses” could be ethnographic studies, field studies and contextual observations, focus groups, surveys, and diary studies.

Reflecting on past projects, they should mention details of how they set goals for the research and came up with a research plan, how the organizational aspect was approached, the recruiting of representative users—what kind of research questions they asked, and how the results were analyzed. While there is more than one approach to facilitating user research, the designer should have a clear description of the method, the sample size required to gain a meaningful result, and speak to the interpretation of the data.

Look for a UX researcher who understands how to measure appropriately by selecting the minimum number of subjects needed to gain a strong understanding of the research, and comprehends what they are testing and seeking to understand.

Testing product designs is a vital aspect of UX research. For usability testing, the UX researcher should discuss the methodologies they used. Did they conduct structured, one-on-one interviews with users while they tried specific tasks with product prototypes? Listen for how they’d define a successful test, i.e., what key revelations were gathered and how the data was distilled into practical, actionable insights. Did they use moderated or unmoderated usability testing? (Unmoderated testing examples may include eye-tracking, click-tracking heatmaps, online card sorting exercises, and more.)

How do you go about recruiting the right UX research participants?

UX researchers should spend the time necessary to identify and find the right people with whom to conduct user research. The quality of the final UX research report will be built on the quality of the feedback sources: the UX research participants.

A great UX researcher will identify the user base (personas) for a given product and set out to find representative participants for UX research and user testing. They should also form relationships with gatekeepers who can provide researchers with access to end users.

Listen for specific recruiting strategies based on the type of product they may be working on as well as ways to screen UX research participants to find the optimal mix. UX researchers should seek out users with varied experiences with a product.

For example, seek out users who no longer use the service or are inactive. Finding out why they’ve dropped off (Have they turned to a competitor? No longer need the product? Or something else?) can lend valuable insights into how to improve the product.

Customers who have spent much time complaining to support are also valuable. These people are usually invested in making the product better and will feel validated having their opinions heard.

Looking at where the product is currently marketed (social media, newsletters, specific websites or blogs) can be a useful way to find the types of people the company is already targeting. Other options could include paid surveys and UX testing platforms like usertesting.com.

There’s also the option of going “into the wild,” as in guerilla user research. For example, if creating a mobile app for grocery coupons, researchers could head to their local grocery store to gather feedback. The more genuine the participant, the higher-quality the results will be.

In a B2B environment, UX researchers should consider how to communicate with participants most effectively and whether they need to go through gatekeepers or if they can communicate with users directly. Different companies will have different procedures for this.

How do they reach out to potential participants and how do they manage the process?

How do they ascertain if an incentive should be offered and how do they determine what the incentive should be?

What are the UX research deliverables?

The work of a UX researcher happens in many different environments—from lean startups and Agile environments where teams work with little documentation to consulting engagements for third parties or large enterprises and government entities with strict documentation requirements. Regardless of the nature of the engagement or environment (and the one thing that ties it all together), UX researchers need to effectively communicate their research findings and the context of projects to a range of audiences.

During a UX research process, researchers will produce a wide variety of “artifacts” and project deliverables as part of their UX research methodology. Deliverables may take many forms because they help UX researchers communicate with various stakeholders and teams. It may be documenting the UX research, delivering reports, and providing artifacts for meetings and ideation sessions.

Some UX research deliverables include but are not limited to:

  • UX research plans
  • Survey analysis reports
  • Consolidated interview analysis reports
  • Consolidated insights from user observation research reports
  • Competitor analysis reports
  • Affinity maps
  • Empathy maps
  • User personas
  • User testing plans
  • Usability testing reports
  • User analytics (geographic, demographic, device used, etc. data)
  • Product usage analytics reports
  • UX research reports—that may be consolidated reports of most of the above

How do you distill UX research into actionable insights?

If conducting UX research is divergent thinking, then synthesizing is convergent. UX researchers may collect copious amounts of data, but the meaning of all that data won’t necessarily become apparent until they synthesize it. Researchers take an array of data and restructure it into a handful of insights to prioritize those insights. There isn’t one right way to do it, and they may use many different methods to synthesize UX research, including affinity maps, empathy maps, personas, problem statements, and journey maps.

Generally, listen for how UX researchers go through specific steps in a well-defined process as they look for themes and patterns from which to draw practical conclusions. Through a rigorous process, the aim should be to go from findings to actionable insights which they can share with the broader product and design teams. It is a process, and each UX researcher may have their preferred method depending on the type of research they did. With each UX research method, they may employ different approaches to extract the most impactful ideas.

For example, they might be distilling a user interview series with a dozen users. They would perhaps take notes, use post-its to keep track of critical insights, and identify salient points (rather than just summarizing the interview.)

It’s best to listen for various types of methods they may use, the distilling process, and how they approach each UX research project a different way to find actionable insights.

What tools do you use for conducting UX research?

Since UX research techniques vary, so do the tools UX researchers use. Listen for how the UX researcher describes their experience with various tools and how they use them. The UX researcher should be well-versed in an arsenal of tools and use each one appropriately, depending on the UX research project.

For example, for user interviews—one-on-one sessions that can be conducted in a variety of ways—they may use video conferencing apps such as Skype, BlueJeans, or Zoom, with which they can also record the interview for future analysis. When they employ guerrilla-style interviews—where a UX researcher performs impromptu interviews with a random set of users (such as at a coffee shop)—they may use a small audio recording device.

Similarly, for remote user testing, they may use video conferencing apps as mentioned above or more sophisticated online tools such as usertesting.com, UserZoom, Lookback, and Userbrain. With all of these tools, product testing sessions can be recorded, including the participant’s desktop or mobile screen and the tester’s and the participant’s face and voice.

For user surveys, they may use tools such as Google Forms or SurveyMonkey, scalable, inexpensive means to collect specific information from users.

They may mention generating lots of notes from contextual observations, and when distilling the collected information and constructing an affinity map, they may use sticky notes or an online tool, such as Miro or DoGo Maps.

For card sorting—a generative UX research method that reveals users’ mental models by having them arrange topics into groups that make sense to them—they may use paper cards or various online tools, such as OptimalSort.

For multivariate and A/B testing, they may mention Crazy Egg, Google Optimize, Optimizely, or Maxymiser.

For website usage analysis, they may use widely used tools such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, and for precise in-product usage metrics, they may use Mixpanel or Pendo.

For eye-tracking and scroll heatmaps, session replays, and conversion funnels, they may be familiar with Hotjar, Crazy Egg, Inspectlet, Clicktale, or EyeQuant.

There is more to interviewing than tricky technical questions, so these are intended merely as a guide. Not every “A” candidate worth hiring will be able to answer them all, nor does answering them all guarantee an “A” candidate. At the end of the day, hiring remains an art, a science — and a lot of work .

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33 UX Researcher Interview Questions Worth Preparing For

questions for ux research

Asking good questions is second nature to you, as a UX researcher. But how about answering them? You can alleviate a great deal of anxiety about your upcoming job interview by preparing for it.

The good news is that if you’ve made a UX research portfolio , your preparation is halfway done because you’ve reflected enough on your past projects. All that’s left to do is to organize your thoughts around the most common UX designer interview questions:

Image of a case study template generator

4 categories of common UX researcher interview questions

To make it easier for you, we’ve divided the interview questions into 4 categories. You’ll see that there’s some overlap, as some questions could be added to more than one of these categories

  • General questions about UX research,
  • Career-related questions,
  • Experience-related questions, and
  • Skill-related and technical questions.

1. General questions about UX research

After the usual rounds/warmup question, most interviews move on to general UX-related topics. These questions are rather broad and they provide a glimpse into your mindset and mentality towards UX.

The thing is, many of us in the industry understand what UX stands for. However, when faced with the task to give definitions, we tend to struggle. This can be a problem in real-world scenarios when you need to convince stakeholders about the importance and potential of your work.

The goal here is to get your facts and thoughts straight so you can give clear and coherent answers. But don’t mistake this for learning robotic, bookish answers! Quite the contrary: you should allow yourself some freedom so your interviewers can get a feel of your personality and willingness to think for yourself.

  • How would you define UX?
  • Describe the value of UX!
  • How would you explain the UX research process?
  • What is the place of research in UX design?
  • What defines a good UX researcher?
  • What are the most important skills of a UX researcher?

Screenhot of a UX researcher's portfolio

2. Career-related questions

Being passionate about UX research is just as important to your employer as it is to you. And nothing is more revealing in this regard than the way you express yourself when talking about your profession. It’s not just what you say, but your body language, tone, and facial expression. The whole room can sense it when someone talks with excitement.

We know that under the pressure of the interview situation, it’s easy to become tense and withdrawn. But you have to remind yourself to let go a bit, so your interviewers can see the real you. The good thing is that by preparing, you’ll be way less stressed.

Regarding answers to such questions, when for example your interviewer asks you about the publications you follow, what they want is to see if you can name a few off the bat, proving that you’re dedicated enough to follow the advancements in your field.

If you’re dedicated to UX you’ll have it easy. If you’re not, well, just prepare your answers.

  • How did you become a UX researcher? Did you study UX, or did you convert from another discipline?
  • Why did you choose UX research as your career?
  • What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced/are facing as a UX researcher?
  • What was your favorite project that you’ve ever worked on?
  • What’s your greatest weakness as mentioned to you by a manager or client?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • How do you handle it when people are skeptical of the value of usability research?

3. Experience-related questions

Experience-related questions reveal what type of a workmate you are, how do you approach unexpected obstacles, how do you communicate research findings, what are your positive and negative characteristics, and so on. Such questions tend to include a prompt to share a relevant real-life example.

This is why writing case studies for your portfolio is such a helpful thing: it forces you to think about the details of your projects. All those details will come in handy when you’re prompted to relate back to past experiences.

  • What’s an example of a difficult decision you’ve had to make as a researcher?
  • How do you communicate your findings to stakeholders?
  • What’s your process for working with designers and product managers?
  • What do you do if you disagree with a product manager or teammate?
  • Tell us about a UX research project that didn’t go as planned. How did you manage it?
  • Tell us about your most successful project!
  • Tell us about the project that makes you the proudest!
  • What was an unexpected insight or finding that you had from a recent project?
  • What general questions would you ask at the beginning of a project?
  • Tell us about a research finding that contributed to the solution of a business problem.

Screenhot of a UX researcher's portfolio

4. Skill-related and technical questions

By the time you’re at the interview, your portfolio has already revealed many of your skills to those involved. Now, it’s time to show that you can talk about your skills and achievements in person too.

This is the shakiest category of UX researcher interview questions as many companies will ask very specific things to find out out about what is of high importance for them. But then again, if you’ve put together a few case studies, reflecting on your previous projects, you don’t have much to worry about.

In this category, you should continue providing examples if you want to make an impact. Knowing theory is a great thing, but it’s even better if you know how to apply it in practice to achieve product goals and business objectives.

  • What is your best skill as a UX researcher and what advice would you give to someone who is trying to acquire this skill?
  • Describe the type of research methods you prefer to use.
  • What would you consider to be your main methods of expertise?
  • How would you adjust user interviews if you were trying to test a particular interaction?
  • How do you know that your findings or research have made an impact?
  • If you had two products and had to ask one question of users to determine which they preferred more, what would you ask?
  • How do you know if you are asking the right research questions for a project?
  • What do you do if neither of the design options given to you for usability testing was successful?
  • Describe a recent research project that produced lots of data. How did you go about analyzing the data and how did you derive findings and recommendations for the team and stakeholders?
  • How do you design a research study for a new or concept product that participants may not fully understand?
  • Pick a favorite app. Tell us how you’d evaluate it?

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Should you use your portfolio during the interview?

For UX designers, portfolio presentation is part of the hiring process. That’s not the case with researchers. But it’s better to be prepared than sorry. It won’t hurt to bring your laptop or tablet with you so you can pull it out if you believe showing something can help the understanding of your interviewers.

Let’s say you’re talking about data visualization that convinced stakeholders about an unorthodox direction. It’s one thing to talk about it, but showing the actual visuals can make an even bigger impact. Just because you’re the one being interviewed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t initiate, especially if it helps your case.

Fact is, if there are many applicants for a position, it’ll be the small details that’ll put you ahead of the competition, so don’t be afraid to do your thing.

“It’ll be the small details that’ll put you ahead of your competition.”

Screenhot of a UX researcher's portfolio

What makes good answers at a job interview?

What you must remember is that in many cases it’s not the answer that matters but the way you answer. It’s hard to resist someone that’s excited about their job. Many designers and researchers commit the mistake of trying to appear too-cool-for-school, acting how they believe a cool UXer should act, which is offputting.

So don’t mistake confidence with arrogance. Throughout the history of UXfolio , we’ve interviewed many cool designers and researchers. All of them have been down-to-earth and approachable. This just proves that you don’t need to put on a grand persona in order to work at a cool company.

Also, remember: all interviewers have their unique style and flow, so every interview will be different in some ways. Your interviewers can have a bad day, personal issues, and whatnot that’ll affect their mood and approach. These are the things that are outside of your control. Instead, you should focus on things that have power over:

1. Have confidence in your preparation

You might expect something very esoteric here, but instead, here’s the truth: at a job interview, confidence equals preparedness. The more you prepare, the more you think about your previous experiences and the why’s of your career, the more confident you’ll be. Even when you’re met with an unexpected question. The effect of preparing is three-fold:

  • You won’t have to worry about the generic UX researcher interview questions. Since you’ve prepared for those, you’ll have fantastic answers. So instead of being anxious about the expected and the unexpected, you can cross out the former, and you’re already at 50%. Not a bad place to be.
  • Just the fact that you’ve prepared and worked hard for it will give you a nice boost of confidence. Doing your best is the most you can do, and if you’ve done it, it affects your demeanor.
  • By reflecting on your career, studies, and motivations to prepare for the interview, you’ll have answers even to unexpected questions. So you’ll have a much easier time to pull yourself together and give a well-rounded answer.

2. Examples make everything feel more real

If you do only one thing to prepare for your interview it should be collecting examples. Giving relevant examples alongside your answers is your key to nailing the interview. Using examples from your experience makes everything feel way more real and relatable. It also shows the impact of your work. And the list goes on.

Let’s take a very simple example: “what do you love about your profession the most?” A generic question, to which you’ll most probably give a generic answer about impact and changing people’s lives. But instead of finishing there, you should continue with an example of when your findings made a change in a previous project. It helps your listeners to form a picture and relate to you.

Depiction of a masonry gallery with device mockups

3. Show your willingness to grow

Yes, it’s a cliché, but it’s still important: you need to show that you’re willing to learn, adapt and evolve in your profession. And to continue with the clichés, it’s because nobody’s perfect and we must learn until we die. On a more practical note, your willingness to grow can prove to your potential employer that if needed, you’ll be willing to do something that might be new to you or not your favorite thing. A new method, a new tool, anything. And whenever possible, don’t forget to give an example from your previous projects.

4. Be gracious

Do not say anything negative about your workmates, bosses, or workplace in general. Avoid even the light stuff that you think will show you in a better light, such as not getting “enough challenging tasks”. The only thing you’ll achieve is them asking themselves “will our tasks be challenging enough for them?” (And we know interviewers who’ll actually ask you this question.)

You have some “experts” encouraging you to be totally honest, and this approach might work in a few cases. But the real world is different. The new school of recruiters might be receptive to your honesty, but most companies are not there yet, so it’s better to just keep safe.

Build your UX researcher portfolio with UXfolio !

To get to the interview, you need to pass the initial stages of the hiring process. These involve the review of your portfolio. And creating an impactful portfolio can be a pain. That’s why we’ve created UXfolio, the portfolio builder for UX designers and researchers. UXfolio’s case study generator, portfolio templates, font pairings, built-in device mockups, and other intuitive sections were made to satisfy the specific needs of UXers. You can create a stunning UX researcher portfolio without having to design or code. Try UXfolio for free!


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UX Research

What is ux research.

UX (user experience) research is the systematic study of target users and their requirements, to add realistic contexts and insights to design processes. UX researchers adopt various methods to uncover problems and design opportunities. Doing so, they reveal valuable information which can be fed into the design process.

See why UX research is a critical part of the UX design process.

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UX Research is about Finding Insights to Guide Successful Designs

When you do UX research, you’ll be better able to give users the best solutions—because you can discover exactly what they need. You can apply UX research at any stage of the design process. UX researchers often begin with qualitative measures, to determine users’ motivations and needs . Later, they might use quantitative measures to test their results . To do UX research well, you must take a structured approach when you gather data from your users. It’s vital to use methods that 1) are right for the purpose of your research and 2) will give you the clearest information. Then, you can interpret your findings so you can build valuable insights into your design .

“I get very uncomfortable when someone makes a design decision without customer contact.” – Dan Ritzenthaler, Senior Product Designer at HubSpot

We can divide UX research into two subsets:

Qualitative research – Using methods such as interviews and ethnographic field studies, you work to get an in-depth understanding of why users do what they do (e.g., why they missed a call to action, why they feel how they do about a website). For example, you can do user interviews with a small number of users and ask open-ended questions to get personal insights into their exercise habits. Another aspect of qualitative research is usability testing , to monitor (e.g.) users’ stress responses. You should do qualitative research carefully. As it involves collecting non-numerical data (e.g., opinions, motivations), there’s a risk that your personal opinions will influence findings.

Quantitative research – Using more-structured methods (e.g., surveys, analytics), you gather measurable data about what users do and test assumptions you drew from qualitative research. For example, you can give users an online survey to answer questions about their exercise habits (e.g., “How many hours do you work out per week?”). With this data, you can discover patterns among a large user group. If you have a large enough sample of representative test users, you’ll have a more statistically reliable way of assessing the population of target users. Whatever the method, with careful research design you can gather objective data that’s unbiased by your presence, personality or assumptions. However, quantitative data alone can’t reveal deeper human insights.

We can additionally divide UX research into two approaches:

Attitudinal – you listen to what users say—e.g., in interviews.

Behavioral – you see what users do through observational studies.

When you use a mix of both quantitative and qualitative research as well as a mix of attitudinal and behavioral approaches, you can usually get the clearest view of a design problem.

Two Approaches to User Research

© Interaction Design Foundation, CC BY-SA 4.0

Use UX Research Methods throughout Development

The Nielsen Norman Group—an industry-leading UX consulting organization—identifies appropriate UX research methods which you can use during a project’s four stages . Key methods are:

Discover – Determine what is relevant for users.

Contextual inquiries – Interview suitable users in their own environment to see how they perform the task/s in question.

Diary studies – Have users record their daily interactions with a design or log their performance of activities.

Explore – Examine how to address all users’ needs.

Card sorting – Write words and phrases on cards; then let participants organize them in the most meaningful way and label categories to ensure that your design is structured in a logical way.

Customer journey maps – Create user journeys to expose potential pitfalls and crucial moments.

Test – Evaluate your designs.

Usability testing – Ensure your design is easy to use.

Accessibility evaluations – Test your design to ensure it’s accessible to everyone.

Listen – Put issues in perspective, find any new problems and notice trends.

Surveys/Questionnaires – Use these to track how users’ feel about your product.

Analytics – Collect analytics/metrics to chart (e.g.) website traffic and build reports.

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Whichever UX research method you choose, you need to consider the pros and cons of the different techniques . For instance, card sorting is cheap and easy, but you may find it time-consuming when it comes to analysis. Also, it might not give you in-depth contextual meaning. Another constraint is your available resources , which will dictate when, how much and which type of UX research you can do. So, decide carefully on the most relevant method/s for your research . Moreover, involve stakeholders from your organization early on . They can reveal valuable UX insights and help keep your research in line with business goals. Remember, a design team values UX research as a way to validate its assumptions about users in the field , slash the cost of the best deliverables and keep products in high demand —ahead of competitors’.

User Research Methods - from natural observation to laboratory experimentation

User research methods have different pros and cons,and vary from observations of users in context to controlled experiments in lab settings.

Learn More about UX Research

For a thorough grasp of UX research, take our course here: User Research – Methods and Best Practices

Read an extensive range of UX research considerations, discussed in Smashing Magazine: A Comprehensive Guide To UX Research

See the Nielsen Norman Group’s list of UX research tips: UX Research Cheat Sheet

Here’s a handy, example-rich catalog of UX research tools: 43 UX research tools for optimizing your product

Questions related to UX Research

UX research is a good career for those who enjoy working with a team and have strong communication skills. As a researcher, you play a crucial role in helping your team understand users and deliver valuable and delightful experiences. You will find a UX research career appealing if you enjoy scientific and creative pursuits. 

Start exploring this career option; see the User Researcher Learning Path .

Studies suggest that companies are also willing to pay well for research roles. The average salary for a UX researcher ranges from $92,000 to $146,000 per year.

In smaller companies, user research may be one of the responsibilities of a generalist UX designer. How much can your salary vary based on your region? Find out in UI & UX Designer Salaries: How Much Can I Earn .

Research is one part of the overall UX design process. UX research helps inform the design strategy and decisions made at every step of the design process. In smaller teams, a generalist designer may end up conducting research.

A UX researcher aims to understand users and their needs. A UX designer seeks to create a product that meets those needs.

A UX researcher gathers information. A UX designer uses that information to create a user-friendly and visually appealing product.

Learn more about the relationship between UX research and UX design in the course:

User Experience: The Beginner’s Guide

If we consider a very broad definition of UX, then all user research is UX research.

However, in practice, there is a subtle difference between user research and UX research. While both involve understanding people, user research can involve users in any kind of research question, and some questions may not be that directly connected to user experience.

For example, you might do user research relating to a customer’s experience in relation to pricing, delivery or the experience across multiple channels.

Common UX research methods are usability testing, A/B testing, surveys, card sorting, user interviews, usage analytics and ethnographic research. Each method has its pros and cons and is useful in different scenarios. Hence, you must select the appropriate research method for the research question and target audience. Learn more about these methods in 7 Great, Tried and Tested UX Research Techniques .

Get started with user research. Download the User Research template bundle .

User Research

For a deep dive into usability testing—the most common research method, take the course Conducting Usability Testing .

Having a degree in a related field can give you an advantage. However, you don’t need a specific degree to become a UX researcher. A combination of relevant education, practical experience, and continuous learning can help you pursue a career in UX research. Many UX researchers come from diverse educational backgrounds, including psychology, statistics, human-computer interaction, information systems, design and anthropology.

Some employers may prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. However, it does not have to be in a UX-related field. There are relatively fewer degrees that focus solely on user research.

Data-Driven Design: Quantitative Research for UX

User Research – Methods and Best Practices

Every research project will vary. However, there are some common steps in conducting research, no matter which method or tool you decide to use: 

Define the research question

Select the appropriate research method

Recruit participants

Conduct the research

Analyze the data

Present the findings

You can choose from various UX research tools . Your choice depends on your research question, how you're researching, the size of your organization, and your project. For instance:

Survey tools such as Typeform and Google Forms.

Card sorting tools such as Maze and UXtweak.

Heatmap tools such as HotJar and CrazyEgg

Usability testing (through first-click testing and tree-testing) tools such as Optimal Workshop and Loop 11

Diagramming applications such as Miro and Whimsical to analyze qualitative data through affinity diagramming.

Spreadsheet tools such as Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel for quantitative data analysis

Interface design and prototyping tools like Figma, Adobe XD, Sketch and Marvel to conduct usability testing.

Presentation tools such as Keynote, Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Many of these tools offer additional features you can leverage for multiple purposes. To understand how you can make the most of these tools, we recommend these courses:

There are relatively fewer degrees that focus solely on user research.

While there are no universal research case study formats, here’s one suggested outline: 

An overview of the project: Include the problem statement, goals and objectives.

The research methods and methodology: For example, surveys, interviews, or usability testing).

Research findings

The design process: How the research findings led to design decisions.

Impact of design decisions on users and the business: Include metrics such as conversion and error rates to demonstrate the impact.

Optionally, include notes on what you learned and how you can improve the process in the future.

Learn how to showcase your portfolio to wow your future employer/client in the How to Create a UX Portfolio course.

While AI can help automate tasks and help UX researchers, it will not completely replace them. AI lacks the creativity and empathy that human designers bring to the table.

Human researchers are better at understanding the nuances of human behavior and emotions. They can also think outside the box and develop creative solutions that AI cannot. So, AI can help researchers be more efficient and effective through data analysis, smart suggestions and automation. But it cannot replace them.

Watch AI-Powered UX Design: How to Elevate Your UX Career to learn how you can work with AI.

Agile teams often struggle to incorporate user research in their workflows due to the time pressure of short sprints. However, that doesn’t mean agile teams can’t conduct research. Instead of seeing research as one big project, teams can break it into bite-sized chunks. Researchers regularly conduct research and share their findings in every sprint.

Researchers can involve engineers and other stakeholders in decision-making to give everyone the context they need to make better decisions. When engineers participate in the decision-making process, they can ensure that the design will be technically feasible. There will also be lower chances of errors when the team actually builds the feature. Here’s more on how to make research a team effort .

For more on bite-sized research, see this Master Class: Continuous Product Discovery: The What and Why

For more practical tips and methods to work in an agile environment, take our Agile Methods for UX Design course.

User research is very important in designing products people will want and use. It helps us avoid designing based on what we think instead of what users actually want.

UX research helps designers understand their users’ needs, behaviors, attitudes and how they interact with a product or service. Research helps identify usability problems, gather feedback on design concepts, and validate design decisions. This ultimately benefits businesses by improving the product, brand reputation and loyalty. A good user experience provides a competitive edge and reduces the risk of product failure.

Learn more about the importance of user research in the design process in these courses:

Design Thinking: The Ultimate Guide

Literature on UX Research

Here’s the entire UX literature on UX Research by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about UX Research

Take a deep dive into UX Research with our course User Research – Methods and Best Practices .

How do you plan to design a product or service that your users will love , if you don't know what they want in the first place? As a user experience designer, you shouldn't leave it to chance to design something outstanding; you should make the effort to understand your users and build on that knowledge from the outset. User research is the way to do this, and it can therefore be thought of as the largest part of user experience design .

In fact, user research is often the first step of a UX design process—after all, you cannot begin to design a product or service without first understanding what your users want! As you gain the skills required, and learn about the best practices in user research, you’ll get first-hand knowledge of your users and be able to design the optimal product—one that’s truly relevant for your users and, subsequently, outperforms your competitors’ .

This course will give you insights into the most essential qualitative research methods around and will teach you how to put them into practice in your design work. You’ll also have the opportunity to embark on three practical projects where you can apply what you’ve learned to carry out user research in the real world . You’ll learn details about how to plan user research projects and fit them into your own work processes in a way that maximizes the impact your research can have on your designs. On top of that, you’ll gain practice with different methods that will help you analyze the results of your research and communicate your findings to your clients and stakeholders—workshops, user journeys and personas, just to name a few!

By the end of the course, you’ll have not only a Course Certificate but also three case studies to add to your portfolio. And remember, a portfolio with engaging case studies is invaluable if you are looking to break into a career in UX design or user research!

We believe you should learn from the best, so we’ve gathered a team of experts to help teach this course alongside our own course instructors. That means you’ll meet a new instructor in each of the lessons on research methods who is an expert in their field—we hope you enjoy what they have in store for you!

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The Basics of User Experience Design

Download our free ebook The Basics of User Experience Design to learn about core concepts of UX design.

In 9 chapters, we’ll cover: conducting user interviews, design thinking, interaction design, mobile UX design, usability, UX research, and many more!

The Complete Guide to Conducting UX Research Interviews

Forbes says that every dollar invested in UX yields $100. That’s an impressive 9,900% ROI . However, you can’t create a product for the user if you don’t know what they need. One of the best ways to get data that improves product design is to ask the user.

UX research interviews help researchers, product teams , and UX designers to create better user experiences. The insight you gather helps you understand the needs, wants, and pain points of your target audience.

So, how do you determine who will use your product? Which demographics should you target? How do you design questions that generate the most insight for you? These are some of the questions we’ll be answering.

two people doing user interviews

In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • What is a UX research interview?
  • When and why to conduct user interviews
  • How to recruit participants for user interviews?
  • How to prepare for a user interview
  • How to conduct user interviews?
  • Framing interview questions to uncover insight
  • Turning interviews into research findings

What is UX research?

UX research is the study of user interaction to obtain insights that improve the design process. With UX research, you can create products and solutions that cater to a user’s needs. The primary goal of UX research is to build products for the end-user based on real data not what you think the user wants.

For example, United Airlines increased online ticketing by 200% and doubled the number of daily sessions by conducting UX research to better understand their audience.

United Airlines increased online ticketing by 200% from user research

UX researchers employ various research methods to gather data and uncover design opportunities. Most researchers start the UX research process with qualitative measures to determine the user’s needs and motivations. However, they also use quantitative methodologies to test their findings.

What Is A User Interview?

UX interview is a qualitative UX research method performed with prospective users of a product during early concept development. It’s a popular technique that allows researchers to cover related topics around the user’s motivations, feelings, and even how they use various products.

During user interviews, the UX researcher asks participants questions around behavior, use of a system, and habits to learn more about a specific topic.

Whereas multiple users are interviewed at once in focus groups, user interviews are one-on-one sessions, usually with several interviewers.

To ensure success, you must define the topic of the interview and choose the right participants for your target group.

When Should You Conduct User Interviews?


According to Interaction Design Foundation , organizations that invest in UX during a project’s concept phase reduce product development cycles by 33 to 50%. Also, the cost of fixing errors after development is 100x more than before development.

Conduct user interviews at the start of the project before you have a clear concept. Data from UX interviews provide a better understanding of different aspects of your user’s daily lives as it relates to the project.

User interviews can also be used when you have an early model. You learn flaws in the product and use the feedback to improve the user experience.

In this scenario, context shows how the product will be used in the user’s domain such as the office, workstation, or daily routine. The insight could form the basis for future user research such as questions to ask in larger surveys.


After launch, you can combine interviews with observing user actions to see how users interact with your product. Interviews don’t always provide sufficient insight because it’s difficult for users to explain how to use your solution in daily activities.

Contextual inquiry integrates observation and interviews. You ask participants a question and observe them perform an activity with your product. The participant also walks you through their interaction so you can ask follow-up questions after.

Why Should You Conduct User Interviews?

6 reasons to do ux and user interviews

The User Knows Best

According to Acquia, 53% of consumers feel that brands do not meet their experience standards. Dozens of UX research methods are focused on validating ideas, concepts, and designs with a goal to answer the question; “Does this product work?”

The answer is based on a deep understanding of the human psyche, previous knowledge of the problem, and rationality.

However, interviews are more flexible and informal. The structure ensures that you’re getting answers from users to inform product design.

Also, user interviews help you to plug knowledge gaps in your product. Finding information that you weren’t necessarily looking for (good or bad) could make all the difference in a successful product launch.

Gain Deeper Insights Into Topics

If you have a problem that requires further research, user interviews help you to understand the user’s experience or opinion about a concept or product.

It’s a more intimate setting to listen to your target audience talk about an issue and gain a deeper understanding of the topic. They highlight the best features of the product and areas of improvement.

More than just words, you’re listening for clues around how they express themselves when talking about pain points, wishes, and needs.

Humanize Your Product

One of the key steps in conducting user research interviews is to create personas. Each user segment is represented by a name, face, job, and other key demographics you associate with your ideal user.

Each time you conduct an interview, you can check if personas accurately represent your target audience or if there was an important feature you left out when considering demographics.

More importantly, you connect with your audience as humans and understand how the problem affects their daily lives. The insight from such personalized interactions leads to better product integration in their lives.

How to Recruit Participants For UX Research Interviews

how to recruit for user interviews ux research

1. Decide Whom to Recruit

As a rule of thumb, you should recruit participants that represent your end-users. Characteristics could be as narrow or broad as the scope of the project. However, it’s crucial to have a diverse group and to consider accessibility, such as how disabled users would interact with your design.

To prevent bias, avoid recruiting your colleagues, family members, or close friends. They may feel obliged to say nice things about the product which defeats the purpose of the research.

Also, avoid recruiting many participants from one profession. Interaction Design describes this risk as deformation professionelle .

For example, if you’re creating a robot vacuum and you only invite women 35 and older, you risk alienating men or younger people who may have a need for the product. This demographic provides feedback based on their knowledge of similar solutions and it could lead to dysfunctional products that are unable to please. Make sure you’re capturing participants across all segments of your audience.

However, none of this would be possible if you haven’t mapped out buyer personas to guide recruitment.

2. Build Research Panels

Building a database of prospective research participants requires time investment. However, it creates a sustainable process for finding research candidates quickly. A research panel also ensures that you’re contacting people who are interested in your product.

Use the following research methodologies to help:

3. Through Customer Support

Since customer support teams have direct interactions with customers, they can help you identify participants for research projects. They regularly get feedback from customers who want to suggest future product improvements or complain about features that aren’t working for them.

4. Live Intercepts

Live intercept is an affordable way to capture users in real-time as they’re doing tasks. You can use tools like Ethnio to identify and screen website uses who may be a good fit for your research.

Neilsen Norman used this technique to recruit participants for a moderated usability study aimed at evaluating the success of their content.

Nielsen Norman Group intercept popup

Image Source: NNN Group

If users qualify, you can schedule a conversation and include other researchers to observe remotely .

5. Social Media

Social media is a great way to show your target audience that you’re invested in improving product experience as well as promoting the role of research in your company.

If you have a decent to a large following on social media platforms, ask your followers if they would like to participate in your research project.

For example, if your target audience is a group of mums with toddlers, you could search Facebook for relevant communities. Here’s a sample result

social media groups for ux research

Conversely, if the product is for SaaS founders, you could find participants both on Facebook and LinkedIn communities.

linkedin groups for ux research

Where does your target audience hang out? That’s where you want to be.

6. Search Online communities

Similar to social media, online communities like Reddit and Slack channels have ready-made participants waiting for you.

If you’re creating software to improve product design, you’d want a group of product designers for your user interview. I searched Google for “product design Slack” and this featured snippet came up.

slack groups for ux research

How to Conduct User Interviews?

user interview checklist

Before the interview

Screen participants.

At this stage, you have a list of participants, but not everyone is going to be a great fit for your project. Screening user research participants help you find candidates who represent your ideal target audience.

A few tips to help ensure screening success include:

  • Define the attributes you want to see in participants such as behaviors, psychographics, and demographics
  • Ensure you have a diverse pool of candidates
  • Write down your screener questions based on the attributes above
  • Ask qualifying questions at the beginning of the survey
  • Use a survey tool to build a library of screening questions
  • Use accessible language and avoid jargon-speak
  • Limit the number of open-ended questions
  • Keep the screener short and precise
  • Start broad and get narrow as you progress

Determine Incentives for Participants

Incentives are a great way to entice participants for UX research. When determining incentives, make sure it’s commensurate with the time and efforts of participants or you’ll risk a low response rate.

Ensure that people aren’t signing up just for the money or their responses might not be as insightful. An NN Group research found that 63% of incentives are monetary, 13% received a mix of monetary and non-monetary incentives and 9% didn’t receive an incentive.

ux research incentives guide

However, non-monetary incentives tend to be the norm for remote interviews. An Amazon gift card or prepaid visa card ensures participants show up and are engaged during the interview process.

Set Clear Goals

It’s crucial that you have a clear purpose for each interview project.

A few questions to guide you here include:

  • What information do I need from our users?
  • How will the knowledge inform the UX design process?
  • What do stakeholders want to learn from the research?

Make sure stakeholder goals are realistic. Broad goals make it impossible to get feedback that is relevant to your UX design needs.

Prepare for the Interview

Allocate sufficient time for each interview and prep time between interviews. You’ll need to go through your interview guide to feel confident when starting the interview.

Write Down Your UX Research Interview Questions

Never go into a user interview without a discussion guide. This is not the place to “wing it”. A discussion guide is a document that contains a list of questions to ask research participants. It must be tied to the purpose of the research and chosen according to your learning goal.

Preparing a list of questions ensures that you will:

  • Include your team’s feedback in the interview process
  • Write clear and concise question
  • Cover all the questions you wanted to ask, which wouldn’t be possible on the spot

Here are Some User Interview Questions to Get the Most Insight

Discovery Questions

  • Tell us about yourself and your background?
  • How did you feel before this product?
  • What are the problems you want this product to solve for you?
  • How did you feel after you started using this product?
  • If this company went out of business, what alternative would you use instead?
  • What do you like about the product?
  • What do you dislike about the product?
  • What apps do you use regularly for the tasks?
  • What is the hardest part of completing the task?
  • Please describe your experience with… or how you use the product?
  • How much do you know about this topic?
  • How often do you use similar products?
  • What exactly do you use the product for?
  • Why do you use the product?
  • What could be done to make the product better for you?

Questions to Gather User Behavior

  • How would you describe your current or past experience with the product, app or website?
  • What is the most important task you need to perform with the product?
  • How do you navigate to the product? If it’s a website or app, do you use search engines, enter the URL directly or bookmark the site?
  • What do you often look for that's missing or hard to find when using this product or application?
  • If you had a question about this product do you know who to contact? If yes, whom would you contact?

Question About Past and Future Use

  • Can you recall a past situation when you faced a challenge with this problem? What did you do?
  • What’s your most memorable interaction with the product?
  • If you could picture it, what does the ideal product experience look like?
  • What are the most important features of the product?
  • How do you usually access the product? Via desktop, tablet, or mobile? (If the product is a software or website)
  • What would make you stop using this product?

Specific Task Questions

  • Could you show me how you use the product to perform the task?
  • Assume that I’ve never used this product before. How would you guide me so I can do it myself next time?
  • Walk me through your process for using the product to complete a task
  • Do you include other tools alongside the product?
  • If yes, can you show me how you integrate the tools and what functions they perform?

Follow Up Questions

Use follow-up questions to dig deeper into a topic. Most times, the participant won’t be clear enough with their answer, and follow-up questions help you to better understand their point of view.

Use the Five Whys Technique to drill down to the root of the problem by asking “why” five times. Without asking “why” you may misinterpret the motivations for the research participant.

five whys technique for ux research

However, it’s also important to know when to stop. You’ve uncovered the problem when the question “why” doesn’t yield any useful response and can’t go any further.

Other examples of follow up questions include:

  • You said… can you explain a bit more about that point?
  • What do you mean by…
  • Interesting, could you give me an example or elaborate to help me understand better?
  • To be clear, it sounds like you’re saying… is that correct?
  • What was it about the product that made you say…
  • Why don’t you like…

Question to Close the Interview

  • Would you recommend this product to someone else? If yes, why? If not, why?
  • Is there any question we haven’t asked that you think would be valuable to our research?
  • Is it okay if I reach out with more questions regarding this project?
  • Do you have any questions for me?

During the interview

Make your interviewee feel comfortable.

Take a deep breath and smile before you enter the interview room. According to Psychology Today , a smile is a powerful tool to improve your mood and make you feel happy. Since positivity is contagious, research participants will feel more at ease during the interview.

Also, dress casually rather than wearing a formal outfit so it doesn’t feel like a job interview. Tell them you’re here to test a product, not the participant.

With remote interviews, start with small talk to loosen them up. Introduce yourself, tell them about the research, and summarize their rights and terms of participation.

Use a Semi-Structured Interview Format to Encourage Dialogue

In a semi-structured interview, you don’t follow a formal list of questions. Rather than yes or no questions, you ask open-ended questions that allow for discussion.

A semi-structured interview encourages a two-way conversation that leads to a comprehensive understanding of the topic. Since the interviewee is at ease, they are more likely to expand on experiences and techniques that offer better insight.

Resist the Urge to Educate

Curiosity and an open mind are key ingredients to a good interview. You’re there to learn, not teach. Do not judge or correct your interviewee no matter how silly their answers seem. Your goal is to get as much information during the limited time for the interview.

Build Rapport with Participants

Building rapport encourages participants to share their thoughts and opinions. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment. You’re walking into a room to speak with strangers. Subconsciously, you censor your thoughts and withhold information because you’re not sure what to say.

Rapport equals a good connection. If participants trust you, they are more forthcoming in their answers.

A few tips to help you build rapport during UX interviews include:

  • Be accommodating
  • Keep your body language open at all times
  • Remove barriers between you and the participant
  • Make eye contact
  • Show interest

Avoid Leading Questions that Frame the User’s Answer

Leading questions prompt the interviewee to provide a predetermined answer. The question contains information that leads to a biased answer.

Let participants tell you what they think with their words. Don’t fear the silence that takes longer than normal. Sometimes, people need a minute to gather their thoughts and provide a cohesive answer.

It’s important to have a partner with you during the interview. One person is taking notes and out of camera focus. The second person is asking questions and listening to the interviewee.

Practice asking follow-up questions to show the participant that you’re paying attention. Use smiles and head nods to engage physically.

The space between the note taker and interviewer should be clear. During remote sessions, you could turn off the camera for the note-taker so it’s easier for the interviewer and interviewee to focus on each other.

After the interview

Ask permission to use the recording.

If you’re recording the conversation, make sure participants give consent to being recorded as well as how you plan to use the recording. It’s also important that they know they can stop the recording at any point in the interview if they become uncomfortable.

Say Thank You and Wrap Up

After the interview, leave time for questions and thank the research participant for their time. This is polite and offers them a chance to ask questions. If they have any feedback on how you could better conduct interviews in the future, now’s a good time to ask.

How to Analyze User Interviews with Aurelius

After conducting the interviews with all the participants, the next step is to analyze the research . You probably have dozens of notes, videos, and audio recordings to go through. Qualitative data like this could be overwhelming if you don’t know what to do.

This is where Aurelius shines best. Here are a few ways Aurelius helps you make sense of user interview data:

Turn Spreadsheets, Videos, Audio Files and More Into Notes

Create a new project, upload your research notes , spreadsheets, video, and audio recording with the magic uploader. If you’ve got data elsewhere, use the bulk input feature to copy and paste data.

Transcribe your video/audio recording into notes automatically.

adding research documents in Aurelius

Here’s a video showing you how to get notes into Aurelius

Find Information Quickly With Tags

Make sense of your research data with our powerful project tags . Use this feature to find or describe your user interviews quickly.

A few examples of tags to use include:

  • Name of interviewee
  • Research goals
  • Questions asked during the interview
  • Name of product or topic

Look for Patterns With Keywords

Looking for patterns or words that come up repeatedly? Use the keyword feature to highlight patterns and find the most used words across all your user interviews.

Automatic keyword analysis for ux research in Aurelius

Highlight Your Major Findings With Key Insights

Use key insights to write down summaries of what you learned from each user interview. It’s a great way to share high level points of the research without asking stakeholders to read all the data.

analyzing ux research and creating key insights in Aurelius

Make Suggestions With Recommendations

Want to suggest next steps based on key insights? Use the recommendations feature to capture suggestions, action items, or outcomes. Link key insight to provide more context to your recommendations. Aurelius automatically adds your recommendations to the report.

Share Reports And Presentations with Project Stakeholders

Reporting is a breeze with Aurelius. We automatically turn recommendations and key insights from your project into reports that you can edit, design, and share with teammates and project stakeholders. You can customize your reports with documents, text, boxes, and lines.

ux research reports automatically created in Aurelius

You can also share a live link to your report, download a pdf or send it via email.

Done Right, User Interviews Help Design Teams to Build User-Friendly Products

You can't build a product for the user without gathering their input. Conduct user interviews to uncover meaningful answers that improve user experience.

Combine user interviews with other research techniques such as user surveys and usability testing to either disprove or validate your hypothesis. When you’ve gathered sufficient data, use Aurelius to sift through the information, find insight, make recommendations and create shareable reports.

Learn how Aurelius can help you organize research data and analyze information from your UX interviews

UX Research Interview 15 Crucial Questions To Ask Every User

UX Research Interview Questions To Give You ALL The Answers

  • May 23, 2022

Picture of Dani Jones

While it’s obvious that UX research is essential to any UX design process, you might be surprised at how many people don’t get the UX research interview questions right.

Yes, we get that conducting a UX research interview can be daunting, especially if you’re new to the process. But asking the right user research questions can give you incredible results. Sometimes even world-changing!

Asking the wrong ones… well, have you seen that episode of The Simpsons where Homer designs a car?

Yeah… don’t be that.

It’s ok though. tl;dv is here like a cool older sibling. We’ve conducted those interviews, asked those questions, and have the cheat sheet of questions for you below. It’s ok, you can thank us later.

Oh, and the VERY, VERY, VERY first bit of advice is, please, for the love of criminy, WRITE YOUR QUESTIONS DOWN!

We want you to go in prepared, ready, and willing to go. This is where tl;dv is particularly ✨amazing✨ and captures all your interviews, transcribes them, documents them, and stores them all, ready for you to go.

That’s right, no more taking notes, playing around with recording devices, and second-guessing your colleague’s half-assed notes.

tl;dv captures every word of your speakers, automatically transcribing them. You can even mark moments with the click of a button (or keyboard short-cut if you’re feeling fancy).

That means 110% ACCURATE notes without distracting from the meeting itself. #sexynotetaking

UX Research Questions

What is ux research.

But just before we get into the good stuff, on the off-chance, you’ve stumbled upon here and are like… “What on earth is UX research?!” here is a quick summary.

The simplest way of explaining UX research is the study of what end-users of a system or product need and want. You can collect this information in many ways, and interviewing end-users is one of the most valuable places to get data.

When you’ve conducted a UX research interview you take that information and start to design with all that lovely data for reference. You can then go back to the users, ask again, tweak, test, and repeat until you get an amazing product.

If it weren’t for UX research, the device you are reading on wouldn’t be so seamless, and those yummy snacks you’re thinking of wouldn’t taste SO good.

Ok, it’s a LOT more complicated than that, but it’s important and the foundation to getting your product or service just right. With UX research you can find out your customer’s “pain points”, discover their true desires, and ensure that what you are creating is – ultimately – what they want and need.

But the thing is, do people actually know what they want? Well, yes… and no.

Questions UX researchers would ask to test their products are a bit more complex than “Do you like it?” Respondents will tell little lies to researchers, researchers may infer something completely different from what was said.

Essentially asking the RIGHT questions is key to successful research.

Crucial Questions To Ask Every User During UX Research Interview

What are your thoughts on the current design of the product?

Simple but effective. You’ll get the right down-the-line answers with this, and prevent people from just saying “Yeah”. A simple barometer question but starts off things nice and easy.

How easy or difficult is it to use the product?

Another great rangefinder question. You’ll get some straightforward answers like “Yes, it was easy”, or get more detail on some of the negatives. You can then ask respondents to elaborate more and you’ll also find it easy to discover ease-of-use trends here.

What do you like/dislike about the product?

This question is great for perception. While they may find your product easy to use, they may still hate it with a vengeance. Using responses from this, correlated with other demographic details can help you uncover trends and little foibles of particular end-user segments.

Have you ever encountered any problems while using the product? If so, what were they?

This is a very revealing question when it comes to design flaws. You know those buttons that are hard to click, the bit that always catches on something, the drop-down menus that end up in a never-ending loop. Yep, this question could have solved all those….

Is there anything you normally do together with X [the main action that the product is helping the user to do] that you can’t do with the product? Tell me about it.

This particular question will help to reveal anything fundamentally wrong with the product… or just show you how woefully incorrect your perception of how people use it is.

How do you feel about the overall User Experience of the product?

A great summarizer question after asking others gives your respondents a chance to really think about how they’ve used it and put it into words.

You’ve been using [name of the product] for a while now, what kind of information or tricks would you have loved to have when you started using the product?

The best way to get to know a product is by watching or finding out how other people use it. A quick Google will show you reams of content on tips, tricks, and hacks for products. This question gives you a better insight into what your end-users find important and useful.

How does the product compare to similar products on the market?

Tough to hear, but imperative to know. If your respondents all say lovely things but you don’t ask them about the competition, then more fool you. Equally, be aware that a question like this may lead to some people telling a white lie about how amazing your product is. Don’t take the responses in a silo.

If you had to explain to another person what is [name of the product] and what is it for, what would you say?

This is a great question to work out what the perception of the product is and how it would be shared with a peer in terms of the language used, and recommendations.

How often do you use the product?

This kind of question will reveal the value of the product to your interviewee in terms of time and usefulness. Is it a daily-use thing, or is it something they’ll just use sometimes?

Where do you usually use the product?

Work, home, outside, inside – wherever your user is using your product, this can help reveal additional functionality and avenues to explore with design and usage.

When do you usually use the product?

This can be insightful whether it’s about the time of day or particular instances where the users may need it.

What do you use [name of the product] for?

A question like this helps you to see, and explore, the Job to be done and take a look at mental models. As revealed in some of the other questions, this kind of question can help reveal if your users use it differently than its original design intention. Fun bonus fact, bubble wrap was originally designed as a fancy 3D wallpaper.

When was the last time you used our product? Tell me about this experience (when, where, difficulties, positive surprises)

This question helps the user to give a narrative view of using the product and improve recall. Using prompts such as location, sights, sounds, and smells that can be brought up when recounting an experience, can open up neural pathways and help them remember important details of their encounter with the product. It’s great for finding little details.

Questions like this help to identify missing features and opportunities. While an individual response here is one thing, it’s particularly important to look at the data over a larger segment to identify any overall themes.

If you had a magic wand and you could instantly X [the main action that the product is helping the user to do], how would that change your life?

This question helps the interviewer to understand the impact and benefits of the product in the customer’s life. Is it a life-changer, just help a teeny bit, or just pure an unadulterated bouji luxury?

What’s your challenge number 1 when it comes to X [the main action that the product is helping the user to do]? Why is it so challenging?

This question helps the interviewer to understand the pain points and why these are challenges for the customer.

If [name of the product] didn’t exist, how would you do X? How were you doing it before you discovered [name of the product]

This question helps the interviewer to understand the natural workarounds customers use to achieve the same goal.

Let’s open [name of the product], what’s the thing that catches your attention in the first place and why?

This question helps to catch the answers to people’s first thoughts on viewing a product. What are people drawn to? Is it a good thing? A bad thing? Does it give over the correct perception of what the product is about?

And some Questions NOT to ask in a UX Interview

Not all questions are created equal. And if you see these questions on your list for a UX research interview, here’s why you should cross them out right away.

Do you think it’s a good product?

Closed questions are never going to go well. “Yes, no… maybe?” tells you nothing about the intent behind their reasoning, and will explain even less about usability. Also, the answers to these will be more about bias than anything else. Other questions include “Is it easy to use?”, “Would you recommend it to a friend?”, and other Yes/No questions. Don’t do it!

Do you have any suggestions on how we could make the product more user-friendly?

Many people will happily answer this… but how many of those people are designers? By asking this question, while you’re opening up for user feedback you are also potentially ending up with requests that can be too much and, well, it’s kind of your job to answer this one!

What could be done to improve the UX of the product?

Again, the interviewee is not the designer. Each interviewee will come with their own set of experiences, likes, dislikes, and prejudices. They may HATE a feature but actually most people would love it.

What features would you like to see added or removed from the product?

A question like this runs the risk of making people tear apart the nature of the product and make suggestions to turn it into something else. I think everybody would agree that if you added a function to clean your whole house to a tea kettle, while useful for us, it’s probably not what the tea kettle manufacturer originally had in mind.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the product?

Much like the first question was too closed, this is too broad. This could end up with hours spent listening to interviewees tell you ALL their feelings, or with interviewees just saying “No” and mentally checking out of the interview process. It’s an overwhelming product question almost akin to “What is the meaning of life?”

Tips, Tricks & Notes About Coming Up With UX Research Questions

The above questions are just a guideline and won’t necessarily be relevant for every product, service, test, or company.

However, if you have been inspired to come up with your own questions from the above, amazing! With that in mind, there are a few key things to note about creating, and conducting UX research interviews.

Asking open questions is key

The devil is in the detail, and you’re more likely to get interesting bits of information from people who are given the space, and freedom to elaborate.

Don’t make them too broad

You want to keep the interviewee on topic. It’s lovely to hear about their trip to Egypt, but not when it’s meant to be time discussing the user interface of a smart vending machine. Succinct, relevant, and not too off-topic, please.

Don’t scare them with jargon

Depending on your product and the types of users you will be interviewing, there may be an expected level of knowledge here. However, make sure that your questions aren’t overly technical.

Don’t talk down to them

Equally, don’t speak to expert end-users as if they are toddlers. If you are looking at a specialist item, and require a specialist answer, then the participants you select are probably going to be familiar with a lot of detail in that niche. Don’t make assumptions about their current knowledge, but don’t go in at entry level.

No leading questions

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Everybody is biased. Even the most impartial person in the world probably has some strong feelings about the topic of impartiality. By asking leading questions in a UX research interview you are doing yourself, your interviewee, and the whole UX process a disservice. It will skew the answers, and lead the interviewee to offer up demand characteristics .

Making the most of the UX Interview Experience

UX research interviews can make good products great, save products from tanking, and foster an inclusive and democratic process when it comes to product design. The questions asked, and the answers given, can change the entire scope of the project so it’s key to get them right. This will not only lead to success in the marketplace, but also for your end-users.

And, making sure you have all that valuable insight, organized, recorded, and ready to reference is key.

Using an awesome tool such as tl;dv (which has been created thanks to lots of lovely UX research interviews and testing with the questions above!) means you can keep all that crucial information in one place.

And even better its first tier is free to use! Just simply get an extension to download Google Meet recordings or even download Zoom meetings and you’re good to go!

Happy interviewing and we can’t wait to show you how incredibly handy that UX research is with tl;dv’s awesome (end-user driven!) features.

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February 12, 2017 2017-02-12

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User-experience research methods are great at producing data and insights, while ongoing activities help get the right things done. Alongside R&D, ongoing UX activities can make everyone’s efforts more effective and valuable. At every stage in the design process, different UX methods can keep product-development efforts on the right track, in agreement with true user needs and not imaginary ones.

In This Article:

When to conduct user research.

One of the questions we get the most is, “When should I do user research on my project?” There are three different answers:

  • Do user research at whatever stage you’re in right now . The earlier the research, the more impact the findings will have on your product, and by definition, the earliest you can do something on your current project (absent a time machine) is today.
  • Do user research at all the stages . As we show below, there’s something useful to learn in every single stage of any reasonable project plan, and each research step will increase the value of your product by more than the cost of the research.
  • Do most user research early in the project (when it’ll have the most impact), but conserve some budget for a smaller amount of supplementary research later in the project. This advice applies in the common case that you can’t get budget for all the research steps that would be useful.

The chart below describes UX methods and activities available in various project stages.

A design cycle often has phases corresponding to discovery, exploration, validation, and listening, which entail design research, user research, and data-gathering activities. UX researchers use both methods and ongoing activities to enhance usability and user experience, as discussed in detail below.

Each project is different, so the stages are not always neatly compartmentalized. The end of one cycle is the beginning of the next.

The important thing is not to execute a giant list of activities in rigid order, but to start somewhere and learn more and more as you go along.

When deciding where to start or what to focus on first, use some of these top UX methods. Some methods may be more appropriate than others, depending on time constraints, system maturity, type of product or service, and the current top concerns. It’s a good idea to use different or alternating methods each product cycle because they are aimed at different goals and types of insight. The chart below shows how often UX practitioners reported engaging in these methods in our survey on UX careers.

The top UX research activities that practitioners said they use at least every year or two, from most frequent to least: Task analysis, requirements gathering, in-person usability study, journey mapping, etc., design review, analytics review, clickable prototype testing, write user stories, persona building, surveys, field studies / user interviews, paper prototype testing, accessibility evaluation, competitive analysis, remote usability study, test instructions / help, card sorting, analyze search logs, diary studies

If you can do only one activity and aim to improve an existing system, do qualitative (think-aloud) usability testing , which is the most effective method to improve usability . If you are unable to test with users, analyze as much user data as you can. Data (obtained, for instance, from call logs, searches, or analytics) is not a great substitute for people, however, because data usually tells you what , but you often need to know why . So use the questions your data brings up to continue to push for usability testing.

The discovery stage is when you try to illuminate what you don’t know and better understand what people need. It’s especially important to do discovery activities before making a new product or feature, so you can find out whether it makes sense to do the project at all .

An important goal at this stage is to validate and discard assumptions, and then bring the data and insights to the team. Ideally this research should be done before effort is wasted on building the wrong things or on building things for the wrong people, but it can also be used to get back on track when you’re working with an existing product or service.

Good things to do during discovery:

  • Conduct field studies and interview users : Go where the users are, watch, ask, and listen. Observe people in context interacting with the system or solving the problems you’re trying to provide solutions for.
  • Run diary studies to understand your users’ information needs and behaviors.
  • Interview stakeholders to gather and understand business requirements and constraints.
  • Interview sales, support, and training staff. What are the most frequent problems and questions they hear from users? What are the worst problems people have? What makes people angry?
  • Listen to sales and support calls. What do people ask about? What do they have problems understanding? How do the sales and support staff explain and help? What is the vocabulary mismatch between users and staff?
  • Do competitive testing . Find the strengths and weaknesses in your competitors’ products. Discover what users like best.

Exploration methods are for understanding the problem space and design scope and addressing user needs appropriately.

  • Compare features against competitors.
  • Do design reviews.
  • Use research to build user personas and write user stories.
  • Analyze user tasks to find ways to save people time and effort.
  • Show stakeholders the user journey and where the risky areas are for losing customers along the way. Decide together what an ideal user journey would look like.
  • Explore design possibilities by imagining many different approaches, brainstorming, and testing the best ideas in order to identify best-of-breed design components to retain.
  • Obtain feedback on early-stage task flows by walking through designs with stakeholders and subject-matter experts. Ask for written reactions and questions (silent brainstorming), to avoid groupthink and to enable people who might not speak up in a group to tell you what concerns them.
  • Iterate designs by testing paper prototypes with target users, and then test interactive prototypes by watching people use them. Don’t gather opinions. Instead, note how well designs work to help people complete tasks and avoid errors. Let people show you where the problem areas are, then redesign and test again.
  • Use card sorting to find out how people group your information, to help inform your navigation and information organization scheme.

Testing and validation methods are for checking designs during development and beyond, to make sure systems work well for the people who use them.

  • Do qualitative usability testing . Test early and often with a diverse range of people, alone and in groups. Conduct an accessibility evaluation to ensure universal access.
  • Ask people to self-report their interactions and any interesting incidents while using the system over time, for example with diary studies .
  • Audit training classes and note the topics, questions people ask, and answers given. Test instructions and help systems.
  • Talk with user groups.
  • Staff social-media accounts and talk with users online. Monitor social media for kudos and complaints.
  • Analyze user-forum posts. User forums are sources for important questions to address and answers that solve problems. Bring that learning back to the design and development team.
  • Do benchmark testing: If you’re planning a major redesign or measuring improvement, test to determine time on task, task completion, and error rates of your current system, so you can gauge progress over time.

Listen throughout the research and design cycle to help understand existing problems and to look for new issues. Analyze gathered data and monitor incoming information for patterns and trends.

  • Survey customers and prospective users.
  • Monitor analytics and metrics to discover trends and anomalies and to gauge your progress.
  • Analyze search queries: What do people look for and what do they call it? Search logs are often overlooked, but they contain important information.
  • Make it easy to send in comments, bug reports, and questions. Analyze incoming feedback channels periodically for top usability issues and trouble areas. Look for clues about what people can’t find, their misunderstandings, and any unintended effects.
  • Collect frequently asked questions and try to solve the problems they represent.
  • Run booths at conferences that your customers and users attend so that they can volunteer information and talk with you directly.
  • Give talks and demos: capture questions and concerns.

Ongoing and strategic activities can help you get ahead of problems and make systemic improvements.

  • Find allies . It takes a coordinated effort to achieve design improvement. You’ll need collaborators and champions.
  • Talk with experts . Learn from others’ successes and mistakes. Get advice from people with more experience.
  • Follow ethical guidelines . The UXPA Code of Professional Conduct is a good starting point.
  • Involve stakeholders . Don’t just ask for opinions; get people onboard and contributing, even in small ways. Share your findings, invite them to observe and take notes during research sessions.
  • Hunt for data sources . Be a UX detective. Who has the information you need, and how can you gather it?
  • Determine UX metrics. Find ways to measure how well the system is working for its users.
  • Follow Tog's principles of interaction design .
  • Use evidence-based design guidelines , especially when you can’t conduct your own research. Usability heuristics are high-level principles to follow.
  • Design for universal access . Accessibility can’t be tacked onto the end or tested in during QA. Access is becoming a legal imperative, and expert help is available. Accessibility improvements make systems easier for everyone.
  • Give users control . Provide the controls people need. Choice but not infinite choice.
  • Prevent errors . Whenever an error occurs, consider how it might be eliminated through design change. What may appear to be user errors are often system-design faults. Prevent errors by understanding how they occur and design to lessen their impact.
  • Improve error messages . For remaining errors, don’t just report system state. Say what happened from a user standpoint and explain what to do in terms that are easy for users to understand.
  • Provide helpful defaults . Be prescriptive with the default settings, because many people expect you to make the hard choices for them. Allow users to change the ones they might need or want to change.
  • Check for inconsistencies . Work-alike is important for learnability. People tend to interpret differences as meaningful, so make use of that in your design intentionally rather than introducing arbitrary differences. Adhere to the principle of least astonishment . Meet expectations instead.
  • Map features to needs . User research can be tied to features to show where requirements come from. Such a mapping can help preserve design rationale for the next round or the next team.
  • When designing software, ensure that installation and updating is easy . Make installation quick and unobtrusive. Allow people to control updating if they want to.
  • When designing devices, plan for repair and recycling . Sustainability and reuse are more important than ever. Design for conservation.
  • Avoid waste . Reduce and eliminate nonessential packaging and disposable parts. Avoid wasting people’s time, also. Streamline.
  • Consider system usability in different cultural contexts . You are not your user. Plan how to ensure that your systems work for people in other countries . Translation is only part of the challenge.
  • Look for perverse incentives . Perverse incentives lead to negative unintended consequences. How can people game the system or exploit it? How might you be able to address that? Consider how a malicious user might use the system in unintended ways or to harm others.
  • Consider social implications . How will the system be used in groups of people, by groups of people, or against groups of people? Which problems could emerge from that group activity?
  • Protect personal information . Personal information is like money. You can spend it unwisely only once. Many want to rob the bank. Plan how to keep personal information secure over time. Avoid collecting information that isn’t required, and destroy older data routinely.
  • Keep data safe . Limit access to both research data and the data entrusted to the company by customers. Advocate for encryption of data at rest and secure transport. A data breach is a terrible user experience.
  • Deliver both good and bad news . It’s human nature to be reluctant to tell people what they don’t want to hear, but it’s essential that UX raise the tough issues. The future of the product, or even the company, may depend on decisionmakers knowing what you know or suspect.
  • Track usability over time . Use indicators such as number and types of support issues, error rates and task completion in usability testing, and customer satisfaction ratings, to show the effectiveness of design improvements.
  • Include diverse users . People can be very different culturally and physically. They also have a range of abilities and language skills. Personas are not enough to prevent serious problems, so be sure your testing includes as wide a variety of people as you can.
  • Track usability bugs . If usability bugs don’t have a place in the bug database, start your own database to track important issues.
  • Pay attention to user sentiment . Social media is a great place for monitoring user problems, successes, frustrations, and word-of-mouth advertising. When competitors emerge, social media posts may be the first indication.
  • Reduce the need for training . Training is often a workaround for difficult user interfaces, and it’s expensive. Use training and help topics to look for areas ripe for design changes.
  • Communicate future directions . Customers and users depend on what they are able to do and what they know how to do with the products and services they use. Change can be good, even when disruptive, but surprise changes are often poorly received because they can break things that people are already doing. Whenever possible, ask, tell, test with, and listen to the customers and users you have. Consult with them rather than just announcing changes. Discuss major changes early, so what you hear can help you do a better job, and what they hear can help them prepare for the changes needed.
  • Recruit people for future research and testing . Actively encourage people to join your pool of volunteer testers. Offer incentives for participation and make signing up easy to do via your website, your newsletter, and other points of contact.

Use this cheat-sheet to choose appropriate UX methods and activities for your projects and to get the most out of those efforts. It’s not necessary to do everything on every project, but it’s often helpful to use a mix of methods and tend to some ongoing needs during each iteration.

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How to conduct effective user interviews for UX research

User interviews are a popular UX research technique, providing valuable insight into how your users think and feel. Learn about the different types of user interviews and how to conduct your own in this guide.

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User interviews are a popular UX research technique, providing valuable insight into how your users think and feel. Learn about the different types of user interviews and how to conduct your own in this guide. 

User research is fundamental for good UX. It helps you get to know your users and design products that meet their needs and solve their pain-points. 

One of the most popular UX research methods is user interviews. With this technique, you get to hear from your users first-hand, learning about their needs, goals, expectations, and frustrations—anything they think and feel in relation to the problem space.

But when should you conduct user interviews and how do you make sure they yield valuable results?

Follow this guide and you’ll be a user interview pro. We explain:

What are user interviews in UX research?

What are the different types of user interviews, when should you conduct user interviews, what data and insights do you get from user interviews, how to conduct effective user interviews for ux research: a step-by-step guide.

  • What happens next? How to analyse your user interview data

First things first: What are user interviews?


Interviews are one of the most popular UX research methods. They provide valuable insight into how your users think, feel, and talk about a particular topic or scenario—allowing you to paint a rich and detailed picture of their needs and goals. 

interviews take place on a one-to-one basis, with a UX designer or UX researcher asking the user questions and recording their answers. They can last anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour, and they can be done at various stages of a UX design project. 

There are several different types of user interviews. They can be:

  • Structured, semi-structured, or unstructured
  • Generative, contextual, or continuous
  • Remote or in-person

Let’s explore these in more detail.

Structured vs. semi-structured vs. unstructured user interviews

Structured interviews follow a set list of questions in a set order. The questions are usually closed—i.e. there’s a limit to how participants can respond (e.g. “Yes” or “No”). Structured interviews ensure that all research participants get exactly the same questions, and are most appropriate when you already have a good understanding of the topic/area you’re researching. 

Structured interviews also make it easier to compare the data gathered from each interview. However, a disadvantage is that they are rather restrictive; they don’t invite much elaboration or nuance. 

Semi-structured interviews are based on an interview guide rather than a full script, providing some pre-written questions. These tend to be open-ended questions, allowing the user to answer freely. The interviewer will then ask follow-up questions to gain a deeper understanding of the user’s answers. Semi-structured interviews are great for eliciting rich user insights—but, without a set script of questions, there’s a high risk of researcher bias (for example, asking questions that unintentionally lead the participant in a certain direction). 

Unstructured user interviews are completely unscripted. It’s up to the interviewer to come up with questions on the spot, based on the user’s previous answers. These are some of the trickiest types of user interviews—you’re under pressure to think fast while avoiding questions that might bias the user’s answer. Still, if done well, unstructured interviews are great if you have very little knowledge or data about the domain and want to explore it openly. 

Generative vs. contextual vs. continuous user interviews

Generative user interviews are ideal for early-stage exploration and discovery. They help you to uncover what you don’t know—in other words, what insights are you missing? What user problem should you be trying to solve? Which areas and topics can you identify for further user research? Generative interviews are usually unstructured or semi-structured. 

Contextual user interviews take place in a specific context—while the user is carrying out a certain task, for example. This allows you to not only observe the user’s actions/behaviour first-hand, but also to ask questions and learn more about why the user takes certain actions and how they feel in the process. Contextual interviews tend to be semi-structured. 

Continuous user interviews are conducted as part of continuous UX research. While traditional user research is done within the scope of a specific project, continuous UX research is ongoing, conducted at regular interviews (e.g. weekly or monthly) with the goal of continuous product improvement. Continuous interviews are like regular check-ins with your users, giving you ongoing insight into their needs, goals, and pain-points. 


Remote vs. in-person user interviews

A final distinction to make is between remote and in-person interviews. 

In-person user interviews take place with the user and researcher in the same room. A big advantage of in-person interviews is that you’re privy to the user’s body language—an additional insight into how they feel. 

Remote user interviews take place via video call. Like any kind of remote work, they’re more flexible and may be more accessible for research participants as they don’t require any travel. 

User interviews provide value at various stages of a design project. You can use them for:

  • Discovery and ideation —when you want to learn more about your target users and the problems they need you to solve.
  • UX testing and product improvement —when you want to get user feedback on an existing design concept or solution.
  • Continuous UX research —you can run regular interviews as part of a continuous UX research framework. 

Let’s take a closer look. 

User interviews for discovery and ideation

User interviews can be useful right at the beginning of a UX project, when you don’t know much (or anything) about the domain and don’t yet have a design direction. At this stage, everything is pretty open and your user interviews will be exploratory. 

Conducting user interviews early in the process will help you to answer questions such as “Who are our target users?”, “What problems do they need us to solve?” and “What are their goals and expectations in relation to the problem space?”

Here you’ll be focusing on generative user interviews (i.e. finding out what you don’t know), and they’ll likely be unstructured or semi-structured.

User interviews as part of UX testing and product improvement

User interviews also come in handy when you have an idea or concept you want to evaluate, or even a working product you want to test. 

At this stage, you might present the user with a prototype and ask them questions about it. If you’re further along in the design process, you can run user interviews as an add-on to UX testing —having the user interact with a working prototype (or the product itself) and asking them questions at the same time. These are the contextual interviews we described earlier. 

Conducting user interviews at this stage will help you gain insight into how your users feel about a concept/product/experience and to identify pain-points or usability issues within the existing design. 

User interviews as part of continuous UX research

User interviews are also valuable as part of a continuous UX research framework. Here, there is no project-specific goal—rather, you’re interviewing users regularly to gain ongoing user insights. This enables you to maintain a user-centric design process and to evolve your product continuously as you learn more about your users. 

You can learn more about the importance of continuous UX research here .

User interviews allow you to hear from the user, in their own words, how they think and feel about a particular problem space/experience/task. This provides rich insights into their thoughts, beliefs, experiences, problems, goals, desires, motivations, and expectations, as well as the rationale or thought process behind certain actions. 

As such, user interviews generate qualitative data . That is, data which tells you about a person’s thoughts, feelings, and subjective experiences. It’s the opposite of quantitative data which is objective, numerical, and measurable. You can learn more about the difference between quantitative and qualitative user research data here .

Note that user interviews generate self-reported data . Self-reported data is based on what the user chooses to share with you (you’re not observing it; rather, you’re hearing it from the user). It’s how they report to be feeling or thinking. 

If you conduct contextual user interviews, you’ll gather a mixture of observational data (based on what you observe the user doing) and self-reported data. 

After conducting user interviews, you’ll end up with lots of data in the form of interview transcripts, audio or video recordings, and your own notes. We’ll look at how to analyse your user interview data in the final section of this guide. 

First, though, here’s a step-by-step plan you can follow to conduct effective user interviews. 

Ready to conduct your own user interviews? Follow our step-by-step guide to get started.

  • Determine what type of user interviews you’ll conduct
  • Write your user interview script (or guide)
  • Set up the necessary tools
  • Recruit your interview participants
  • Perfect your interview technique

Let’s walk through our plan step by step. 

1. Determine what type of user interviews you’ll conduct

Earlier in this guide, we outlined the different types of user interviews: Structured, semi-structured, and unstructured; generative, contextual, and continuous; and remote and in-person. 

The first step is to determine what format your user interviews will take. This depends on:

  • What stage you’re at in the project/process
  • What your research goals are

If you’re at the very early stages of a design project, you’ll likely want to keep your user interviews open and exploratory—opting for unstructured or semi-structured interviews. 

Perhaps you’ve already got a design underway and want to interview your users as they interact with it. In that case, structured or semi-structured contextual interviews may work best. 

Consider what you want to learn from your user interviews and go from there. 

2. Write your user interview script (or guide)

How you approach this step will depend on whether you’re conducting structured, semi-structured, or unstructured user interviews.

For structured interviews, you’ll need to write a full interview script—paying attention to the order of the questions. The script should also incorporate follow-up questions; you won’t have the freedom to improvise or ask additional questions outside of your script, so make sure you’re covering all possible ground. 

For semi-structured interviews, you’ll write an interview guide rather than a rigid script. Come up with a set list of questions you definitely want to ask and use these—and your users’ answers—as a springboard for follow-up questions during the interview itself. 

For unstructured user interviews, you can go in without a script. However, it’s useful to at least brainstorm some questions you might ask to get the interview started. 

Regardless of whether you’re conducting structured, semi-structured, or unstructured interviews, it’s essential that your questions are:

  • Open-ended . These are questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. They require more elaboration from the user, providing you with much more insightful answers. An example of an open question could be “Can you tell me about your experience of using mobile apps to book train tickets?” versus a closed question such as “Have you ever used a mobile app to book train tickets?”
  • Unbiased and non-leading . You want to be very careful about how you word your questions. It’s important that you don’t unintentionally lead the user or bias their answer in any way. For example, if you ask “How often do you practise app-based meditation?”, you’re assuming that the user practises meditation at all. A better question would be “What are your thoughts on app-based meditation?” 

It’s worth having someone else check your questions before you use them in a user interview. This will help you to remove any unintentionally biased or leading questions which may compromise the quality of your research data. 

3. Recruit your interview participants

Your user interviews should involve people who represent your target users. This might be existing customers and/or representative users who fit the persona you would be designing for. 

Some common methods for recruiting user research participants include:

  • Posting on social media
  • Working with a dedicated agency or platform which will connect you with suitable participants
  • Recruiting from your own customer or user database

The good thing about user interviews is that you don’t need loads of participants to gather valuable data. Focus on quality over quantity, recruiting between five and ten interviewees who closely match your target group. 

4. Set up the necessary tools

Now for the practical matter of getting your user interviews underway. If you’re conducting in-person user interviews, you’ll need to choose an appropriate setting—ideally somewhere quiet and neutral where the user will feel relaxed. 

For remote user interviews, you’ll need to set up the necessary software, such as Zoom , dscout , or Lookback . Consult this guide for more UX research tools . 

You’ll also need to consider how you’re going to record the user’s answers. Will you use good old fashioned pen and paper, a simple note-taking app, or a recording and transcription software? 

Make a list of all the tools you’ll need for a seamless user interview and get everything set up in advance. 

5. Perfect your interview technique

As the interviewer, you have an important role to play in ensuring the success of your user interviews. So what makes a good interviewer? Here are some tips to help you perfect your interview technique:

  • Practise active listening . Show the user that you’re listening to them; maintain eye contact (try not to be too distracted with taking notes), let them speak without rushing, and don’t give any verbal or non-verbal cues that you’re judging their responses.
  • Get comfortable with silence . In everyday conversations, it can be tempting to fill silences. But, in an interview situation, it’s important to lean into the power of the pause. Let the user think and speak when they’re ready—this is usually when you elicit the most interesting insights.
  • Speak the user’s language . Communication is everything in user interviews. Don’t alienate the user by speaking “UX speak”—they may not be familiar with industry-specific terms, and this can add unnecessary friction to the experience. Keep it simple, conversational, and accessible.

Ultimately, the key is to put your users at ease and create a space where they can talk openly and honestly. Perfect your interview technique and you’ll find it much easier to build a rapport with your research participants and uncover valuable, candid insights. 

What happens next? How to analyse your user interview data 

You’ve conducted your user interviews. Now you’re left with lots of unstructured, unorganised qualitative data—i.e. reams of notes. So how do you turn all those interview answers into useful, actionable insights? 

The most common technique for analysing qualitative data is thematic analysis . This is where you read through all the data you’ve gathered (in this case, your notes and transcripts) and use ‘codes’ to denote different patterns that emerge across the dataset. 

You’ll then ‘code’ different excerpts within your interview notes and transcripts, eventually sorting the coded data into a group of overarching themes. 

At this stage, you can create an affinity diagram —writing all relevant findings and data points onto Post-it notes and ‘mapping’ them into topic clusters on a board. This is a great technique for physically working through your data and creating a visualisation of your themes, allowing you to step back and spot important patterns. 

With your research data organised and categorised, you can review your findings in relation to your original research objectives. What do the themes and patterns tell you? What actions can you take from your findings? What gaps still need to be filled with further UX research?

As a final step, you might write up a UX research report and present your findings to relevant stakeholders. 

Learn more about UX research

We hope you now have a clear understanding of what user interviews are, why they’re such a valuable UX research method, and how to conduct your own user interviews. If you’d like to learn more about user research, continue with these guides:

  • A complete introduction to card sorting: What is it and how do you do it?
  • What are UX personas and what are they used for?
  • What’s the future of UX research? An interview with Mitchell Wakefield, User Researcher at NHS Digital
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  • ux research

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How to Ask UX Research Questions

In this part of the guide we are going to explain what makes good ux research questions, as well as how and when to ask them..

questions for ux research

Last update 11.10.2023

The key to an insightful study is a set of carefully thought-through questions that correlate to your project’s goals. Today we’ll take a look at 4 common types of UX research questions and their examples.

Why is it important to ask good UX research questions?

UX research questions are one of the key parts of your research, and when used right can bring out all the important details you miss during the study itself. They help you gather additional information, allow testers to share their opinions and concerns and are just a great way of gathering feedback before, during and after the study.

We recommend to plan out your questions ahead and include them into your UX research plan . This way you can make sure to not forget anything and won’t change the questions going from one participant to another. 

A great advantage of UX research tools like UXtweak is that they allow you to insert those questions during the study setup process, no matter what UX research method you choose. 

This comes in handy especially when conducting an unmoderated user test, with no researcher present to ask the questions. This saves you tons of time as there is no need to prepare a separate questionnaire each time and send it out to the participants before and after the study.

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Types of UX research questions

There are different types of questions you may want to ask depending on the part of the study you’re in, the goals of your research etc. However, the questions also differ in their subject. 

Some of them will be questions about the participants themselves. You might want to know their background before the study, get to know them better in order to understand how they think and approach certain tasks dealing with your product. 

There are also questions concerned about the problem you’re trying to solve. These are usually asked at the earlier stages of user research, during its generative phase. They are focused on uncovering the pain-points and the needs of your future users in relation to the digital product you’re creating. How can it make their lives easier? Which one of their problems is it going to solve and how?

The last group of questions are those about the product. With their help you can find out more about users’ thoughts on product’s design, usability and functionality. Those questions will help to figure out if you’re actually solving the user’s problem and discover ways in which you can do it even better.

During the different stages of your study you’ll need to ask different questions so let’s take a look at the 4 different question types based on the stages of your UX research:

Pre-study questions

Intra-study questions, post-study questions.

Screening questions are essential in most of the UX research studies as they help to filter out the respondents that are not representative of your target audience. This is important in order to not skew the results analytics later on. One screener is usually more than enough but in some cases your study might need more. 

Write your screening questions with the target audience in mind. For example, if you’re testing an e-commerce clothing store your participants should definitely have an experience of purchasing clothes online. 

A screener question filters out your respondents

A good question in that case would be:

How often do you shop for clothes online?

  • C) Every couple of months
  • D) Hardly ever

In an online UX research tool like UXtweak, you can set up that the participants who choose options D or E will be redirected to the thank you page and the tool will not let them complete the study.

Before the study is the perfect time to get to know your respondents better, ask questions about their demographics, background with the product and any kind of previous experiences related to the study. 

Following up on our example with an online clothing store, here are some examples of pre-study questions:

  • What is your current occupation? 
  • How often do you shop online?
  • Are you familiar with this brand?
  • When you shop online, what is the most important feature for you to have on the website?
  • What other websites do you usually buy from? What do you like/dislike about them?

The purpose of intra-study questions is to get additional information about users actions and decisions during the test and motivate them to verbalize their opinions. Here, you can ask them to explain why they took a certain action, get feedback on specific features of the product and get their honest opinion on what they’d wish to improve.

Examples of intra-study questions:

  • What did you expect to happen when clicking on this item?
  • How hard was it for you to complete the task? (1 = very difficult, 5 = very easy)
  • What is your opinion on the product’s design?
  • Do you find this feature helpful or unhelpful?
  • What do you think of …
  • If you were looking for …, where would you expect to find it?

UX research post study question

After the study you can ask about the participant’s overall impressions of the test and the product, their opinion on the task difficulty. Ask if they’d use that product in real life or if they would recommend it to a friend. It’s also a perfect time to ask them questions that would generate new ideas for improvement. 

Examples of post-study questions:

  • What is your overall impression of the test?
  • How would you rate the difficulty of using this app on a scale? (1 = very difficult, 5 = very easy)
  • What did you like the most/the least about the app?
  • Did you feel confused at any point? If so, explain what happened.
  • On the scale from 1 to 5 (1 = very satisfied, 5 = very dissatisfied) how would you rate your experience with the product?
  • Is there anything a product lacks in your opinion?
  • If you could add one feature, what would it be?

In case you are interested in learning more about all of these types of questions and hearing useful tips on when to ask them, we recommend you to watch a video from our YouTube channel where we discuss it all:

Check out our list of best UX Research tools where we explain the pros and cons of each tool and help you choose the best one for your research!

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We reviewed 18 best tools on the market, so you don't have to!

UX Research Plan

Ux research methods, topics: ux research basics.

  • 01. UX Research Basics
  • 02. Remote User Research
  • 03. UX Research Plan
  • 04. UX Research Questions
  • 05. UX Research Methods
  • 06. Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research
  • 07. UX Research Process
  • 08. UX Research Report
  • 09. UX Research Framework
  • 10. UX Research Presentation
  • 11. UX Research Bootcamp

questions for ux research

UX Research Basics

Remote user research, ux research questions, quantitative vs. qualitative research, ux research process, ux research report, ux research framework, ux research presentation, ux research bootcamp.

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Mastering culture-fit interviews: top 30 questions to ask

Last updated

12 April 2024

Reviewed by

Warren Jonas ACC

Aligning a candidate with your established company values is commonly known as a culture fit. Someone who fits well with your company’s culture is more likely to stay with you in the long term, reducing high turnover rates and improving the employee experience .

Preparation is key to finding the best fit for your company culture. Establishing specific questions that uncover details about a candidate’s personality, values, and goals can help you with this. With the right questions in hand, you can go into a culture-fit interview with confidence and an open mind to find your business’s next great employee.

  • What is company culture?

Company culture refers to the values, attitudes, and behaviors that define the organization’s character. It’s what forms your company’s collective identity and sets the stage for the goals and tasks your employees carry out daily.

You can establish company culture in several ways, from the defined values and mission statement to the way the company approaches employee performance.

Every business wants a good company culture , but it’s not always easily achieved. Your company’s values need to be enacted daily. Leaders and managers need to show employees that they are as invested in the company’s values as everyone else, praising accomplishments quickly and nurturing a positive environment that makes employees happy to show up for work every day.

A big part of creating a positive company culture is hiring the right people. With motivated, happy employees, every other person in your organization will feel inspired to succeed.

  • What is culture fit?

Cultural fit involves assessing a potential employee’s values and ideals and comparing them to your company’s existing culture. Candidates who share similar values and goals are likely a good fit, while those who have wildly different values might not align well with the company vision.

Evaluating cultural fit through a resume or in a traditional interview is hard. Managers and HR professionals should outline a series of special questions. These questions can give you deep insight into a candidate’s personal life and work history, but they can also provide an idea of how well that candidate will do in the role they are applying for.

Why does cultural fit matter in the hiring process?

Even if a candidate is qualified for their role, that doesn’t automatically mean they are the right fit for your company. It’s important that your employees share your company’s vision, values, and culture and that they are willing to play their part to live up to them.

  • Culture fit vs. culture add

Hiring someone who fits into the mold of your company values is known as a culture fit . However, another hiring practice is gaining traction, especially in companies looking to expand to new markets or territories. It’s culture add .

A culture add is when you hire a candidate to add diversity to your company culture. It means you look for candidates who bring something new to the table, whether it’s experiences, skills, personalities, or backgrounds.

Both concepts have their place in the corporate world. Some people favor culture fit due to its tried-and-true pattern of helping companies find what (and who) tends to work best for them. Those who hire for culture add note that it’s a great way to expand the company’s horizons and discover new talent.

In either case, hiring the right candidate is about more than checking off boxes. Thoughtful interview questions will allow you to better understand candidates, their strengths, and how they can help your organization reach new heights.

  • 15 cultural fit interview questions for employees

Company culture is an abstract, subjective concept. To that end, it can be hard to determine whether a candidate would be a good fit through traditional questions like, “What are your best qualities?” Cultural fit interview questions should dig a little deeper, making candidates pause and evaluate their patterns, reactions, and behaviors.

The cultural fit interview questions below for employees provide a starting point. You should adjust them to fit your company’s culture and change them accordingly.

How do you ensure you frequently improve your skills?

Do you often become friends with your coworkers?

What management style do you work best with?

Do you prefer tasks that require collaboration or projects you can complete alone?

How do you prefer to receive feedback?

How do you react to negative feedback?

In what work environment do you produce your best work?

Name your favorite activities that you do outside of work.

How would your coworkers describe you?

What do you need in a work environment to feel fulfilled?

What do you need to be inspired and motivated at work?

Why did you apply for a job at this company?

Do you consider yourself to be a leader or a follower? Why?

How do you manage communication with your colleagues?

Which of our company’s core values do you most identify with?

  • 15 culture-fit interview questions to ask leaders and managers

Cultural fit interview questions for leadership and management roles should be similar to those for other employees. However, you should include additional questions that focus on leadership styles, organization preferences, and conflict resolution skills. Allow the conversation to flow naturally and encourage your candidate to expand on their answers.

Name three leadership styles. Which leadership style do you prefer to use?

Name two values that help you resolve team conflict.

Name two values that help you provide constructive criticism to team members.

Which management values help you inspire coworkers?

Which values help you manage remote teams?

How do you stay organized?

Which of our company values resonates the most with you?

What would you change or improve about our business?

Are there any other roles in our company that you’d like to interview for?

What would you bring to our company that’s unique?

Are there any specific tools you find helpful for improving your work efficiency?

What do you believe are essential values in the workplace?

Can you think of a previous professional relationship that didn’t work out? If so, what was the cause?

Can you give an example of your ideal work schedule?

Do you typically make friends and spend time with coworkers outside of work?

  • The dangers of hiring for cultural fit alone

Hiring for cultural fit can be a positive thing in most cases. Finding the right cultural fit means hiring employees who understand and embrace your company’s vision.

However, there’s a danger of hiring exclusively for cultural fit. Culture fit is highly subjective. It can be easy to let unconscious bias affect your hiring decisions. While it’s a good idea to trust your gut to a certain extent, exercise caution when forming opinions about candidates without knowledge to back it up.

Hiring only for cultural fit might also limit future growth opportunities by sticking with the status quo rather than embracing new ventures. The best candidates might not fit the established mold. In general, focus on the values, habits, and skills that will help someone be successful with your company rather than any superficial qualities. This will enable you to find the right candidates.

What is an example of a culture fit?

Imagine a company hiring for a remote position and finding a candidate looking for a remote job with experience of working from home. That’s an example of culture fit.

Those hiring for a customer-facing role might look for candidates who display excellent customer service skills who are friendly and personable.

Companies that prioritize innovation might look for culture fit with candidates who are creative and open to trying new things.

How do I prepare for a value fit interview?

If you’re giving the interview, prepare by reviewing your questions in advance. Ensure there are no gaps in the questioning and that you have room for flexibility if new questions present themselves during the interview.

As the candidate, prepare for the interview by researching the company. Learn what you can about the company culture, the company’s vision and values, and any recent accomplishments outlined on the company website. This knowledge will help you better understand whether you align with the business’s values, goals, and vision.

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