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In-depth interviews

Find out how you can use in-depth interviews as a method to develop your products and services.

What is an in-depth interview?

An in-depth interview is a method used to find out how users perceive, feel, and think about a certain product or service. The method can provide answers on how individual participants reason about different issues. It can provide answers on participants’ opinions and attitudes as well as their driving forces, motives for purchase, and what influences the decision-making process. The interview can be conducted early in a product or service development to gain knowledge about users’ needs and desires. Sometimes interviews are used during the development phase to identify problems and find new solutions. In-depth interviews can also be conducted to evaluate an existing product or service.

In-depth interviews are a structured method that can easily be described in three steps.

1. Preparation of the interview where the purpose and goals of the study are formulated and questions are developed.

2. the actual interview where the questions are asked and the answers are noted or recorded

3. analysis of the interview where the collected information is processed and analyzed.

Goals and purpose of the interview

It is important that you have a well-thought-out goal for the interview. It should neither be a sales conversation nor just a pleasant chat. You conduct the interview because you want to find out something. However, the goal should not be too broad. The risk then is that you will get information that is not relevant to the study. The goal of the interview should be concise, concrete, and related to the users’ experience, attitudes, and behavior around your product or service.

Why should you conduct in-depth interviews?

An interview can provide knowledge and insights about users’ experience of, for example, a website, an app, a product, a service, or a process. Through the interview, you can find out what content works, what users consider important, what might be missing, and what can be improved.

How does an in-depth interview work?

A deep interview cannot be conducted without thorough preparations. Prepare a list of questions that you want to ask and that are related to the purpose and goals of the study. Most likely, during the interview, you will come up with different follow-up questions. Of course, you should ask them then, but it is always good to have a list of questions to start with. It also gives you the opportunity to discuss the questions with your colleagues before the interview. Perhaps you can together anticipate some answers and immediately find relevant follow-up questions? It also ensures that you do not forget to ask one or more questions. When preparing the questions in advance, you can also ensure that the questions are open and clear, and not leading and vague. It may also be good to prepare a few more questions than you actually plan to ask. Some participants need to have the questions asked from different perspectives and in different ways in order to be able to answer in detail.

When the in-depth interviews have been conducted, all the collected data should be compiled and analyzed. Try to find patterns and themes in the different interviews that are connected. This provides a more structured picture of the results and shows which direction the development of your product or service should take.

Selection of location for an in-depth interview

In order for an in-depth interview to be successful, it is important to create a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. This will encourage participants to open up and answer your questions. To create such a situation, you can:

  • have some form of interaction, video call or phone call, before the actual interview session
  • explain the purpose of the interview multiple times
  • tell how the information will be used
  • prepare questions well in advance before the interview
  • start with simple questions and then move on to more advanced and complex areas
  • encourage detailed answers by taking notes, nodding, making eye contact, providing confirmation, and asking follow-up questions
  • let the participant speak uninterrupted.

Interview can, for example, take place at the participant’s workplace or in their home. It can also be held at your workplace or your office. A third option is to interview the participant online. The choice of location depends, among other things, on where the participant feels most comfortable and whether the interview requires it to be held in a place where the participant has access to a specific environment in order to answer the questions.

How do you find participants for in-depth interviews?

An important part of an in-depth interview is to find the right participants to interview. Let the goals and purpose of the study guide the selection of its participants. The participant group should be a representative sample of the product or service users. The recruitment process can be both difficult and time-consuming. Therefore, let FeedbackFrog help you with it. We find and book all the participants you need and also take care of all the administration around the participants. As soon as we receive a participant profile from you, we are ready to start the recruitment process.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of in-depth interviews?

Advantages of in-depth interviews

  • An interview is an opportunity to get close to the users. It provides an understanding of their needs, motivations, thoughts, and emotions.
  • During the interview situation, you can capture aspects that you haven’t thought about. You can ask follow-up questions to clarify the question from many different perspectives.
  • You can choose to delve deeper into certain questions during the interview and explore thought processes and reasoning that the participant brings up.

Disadvantages of in-depth interviews

  • It is easy to forget. Our memories are not reliable and therefore a participant can sometimes have difficulty remembering how the experience of your product or service actually was.
  • Usually, there is a difference between what we humans say and what we actually do. It is important to keep this in mind during the interview.
  • The participant may omit important details even if you try to ask many follow-up questions.
  • A participant who is private and shy may be unwilling to share and answer your questions in detail.

A deep interview can be complemented with other testing methods to obtain as accurate and detailed data as possible. A combination of testing methods can help you map out how the product or service can be improved.


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