When conducting user interviews, it’s essential to make people welcome, comfortable, and put you in a position to learn from them. To get the most out of a conversation, put participants in a position of control and show your respect for them.
You’re the expert in your experience, your knowledge, your perspective, and that’s why I’m talking to you today. Without your expertise, this project won’t succeed. I want you to feel comfortable telling me your experience—not what you think I want to hear but what you’ve actually felt, thought, seen, and been through. In other words, I don’t want to hear what you think will be the most meaningful to me. I want to hear the thing that’s the most meaningful to you.
That’s Leah Reich on conducting user interviews.
And this is why we find the term “user testing” to be so loaded. A “user test” isn’t about testing users, it’s about asking a user to test your assumptions regarding the service, product, or idea you’re exploring. In other words: the user isn’t the test subject, it’s whatever you’re reviewing with them that’s being tested. It’s important to make this clear to whomever you’re interviewing.
For more detail on the scope of insight you can gain from user testing, read on.