Some questions about interviewing users

Hi All,

I’ve got a question about the topic but I didn’t want to create a new thread.

The new company I work for is using User Echo ( for getting information from users. This is a cool idea to have a fast access to those people. But I have a few concerns.
First of all:
They ask direct questions such as “where would you prefer this button to be placed?, would you like to have this feature automated?”. I really am not convinced this is the right approach.
Second of all, there is a community of around 15 people (but there are hundreds of users) that are active and even proactive, and their opinions are mostly taken into account, their suggestions are the most valued.

What do you think about this approach? Maybe it’s not as bas as they tell us on UX courses (never ask your users directly what they want :stuck_out_tongue: ).
Anyway, I want to explore one subject and asking the users seems like the best idea. However, what do you think about asking such (maybe not that much) direct questions. Or creating a secret poll would be a better solution?

what users say and what they do are totally different. Watch them work and see what they do.


There’s no possibility to watch them. This requires a trip abroad to many countries. So questionnaire, forum, or phone interviews are possible. And the forum is the easiest to access and get feedback from.

if you can’t fly to them, can u use a screen sharing service and watch their screen remotely e.g. webex, gotomeeting, lync etc?

re asking the right questions, here’s another link from nn

It’s not a question of what tool could I use instead of User Echo but rather… how to make the best use of User Echo?

Agreed. The first question is weird and not exactly helpful and the second one is leading and also not that helpful.


It depends on what you’re exploring and hoping to learn. Could you tell me a little bit about it? Or frame it as a hypothetical just to help me understand a bit better so I can help?

On the case of button placement, it’s especially weird to ask them. If you got them to demonstrate where they’d look for it, though, that might be useful. Then you could get everyone to basicallly just place the button where they think they’d look for it first and then do a heat map over suggested placements. It’s not foolproof, but it might provide insights on where people think they’re looking.

Always keep in mind: if you ask a user what they think they do, you’re not getting a measure of what they do, but what they perceive themselves as doing. If those two things align well, it can be useful, but people are frequently poor judges of their own behavior.

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In light of GDPR we want to make creating new T&C/policies, distributing, managing easier to our system’s users. These are usually PM’s who manage projects for external Clients, employing extrenal vendors for the jobs. So they need to be compliant with GDPR on many levels. I’m trying to learn where the focus of the systems hould be: on creating and distributing the consent statements, or rather on collecting it and keeping track who agreed to what. Or maybe somewhere else? These are my basic hypotheses.

I’ll really appreciate your help.

This is not what I was asking but how the company I work for used to manage this kind of issues. What I need is support how to get the best information from my users using User Echo.

Right. What remains unclear is what the operational limitations are on User Echo.

I’m coming from doing work with Qualtrics, etc., and several different remote survey systems allow for some fairly creative response formats. If you have some of the weirder options for responses, then it could potentially be shoe-horned in, rather than depending on video, and possibly analyzable statistically rather than having to read through everyone’s responses.

For instance, if you were able to break a screenshot into regions and then list those regions as a poll, you might be able to get something.

I’m sorry. I don’t understand how the system you’re asking about works. Are you saying that the questions are pre-programmed and you can only choose those?

This is a simple forum. What mattered in this context is the number of actual users who use it and who these people are.

Hey Mag,
I agree with the shared sentiment that neither of these approaches (the direct questions or the small pool of users) are ideal.

The others have offered some suggestions but it seems like you’re pretty locked into your current solution.

What do you need from us?

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Thanks for sharing that :slight_smile: My thinking is that you need to find out what happens in their world when they need to do this and figure out what is and isn’t working so well in the current state. If it was me, I would probably run interviews so I can dig into it as deeply as possible. I wouldn’t use that tool for this - I’d want to have a one-on-one conversation with users about it and the group of 15 would not be on that list.

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I second this recommendation. It sounds like you need to map out a journey map, or a sequence of events that your users are currently doing to complete this task. What are they doing before and after the task? What are challenges they have faced or things that have went well for them.

This involves more of an interview. Preferably here the user is not responding to your current solution. It sounds like your goal is to find opportunities and a focus on a specific part of the job. For this goal, showing the user the current system, or an idea you have for a new system will inform what they tell you and possibly bias the research.

If you have the opportunity to, using a free video software like zoom will help you be in the present space with your interviewees. We do remote interviews all the time with that software.

The map of the story of their experience at a high level (we are talking actions and scenes, not details on screens) should expose opportunities you may not have thought of, or provide focus for the two areas you mentioned.

Once you have a focus from this set of interviews, you could then do follow up research on actually preforming the task (that you choose to focus in on). This can be preformed with your current software, or just ask your participants to show you what they do now. Ideally, if your using Zoom, you will be recording and seeing their screen through screen share.

These findings can give you a good idea of the pains that can be improved upon, expose needs that haven’t been met, and give you a task flow that you can now ideate from.

Your right, we don’t start with asking the user for the solution. It is our privilege and responsibility as designers to spot the needs that the user themselves miss. We need to envision a better solution for them, and of coarse, validate (or disprove) our ideas through testing :wink: