Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In-depth interviewing

For us the core of persuasion engineering is understanding the customer's deep drives, blocks, beliefs and feelings.

The only way we have to get at this is in-depth interviews, with highly trained staff. It takes at least a month of full-time work for me to train a staff member to do these interviews. We have been very successful with using this method to develop actionable analyses. For example, the PET analysis above was done from research about car-pooling. You will see a set of serious blocks. They tell us that car-pooling will be a tough sell. They also tell us WHERE we need to make changes for people. As an example, we need to change the current view that it is high status to have a lot of cars, to a view that it is high status to share.

This type of in-depth interview work is time consuming and has in the past required extensive travel. We have assumed we needed to do these interviews in person. But, we are questioning this today. Perhaps it is possible to complete effective in-depth interviews remotely. Certainly, intimate dialogs can happen remotely. Why not interview? So, HFI Labs is now testing phone and video interviews, and will see if we can reduce the carbon footprint of our research.

Think it will work?

For more discussion of user experience design, visit HFI Connect.

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Dr. Schaffer is currently traversing the globe teaching PET Design and promoting user experience. He will make every effort to respond to posts as quickly as possible.