Structured, one-on-one interviews help researchers learn about users’ attitudes and beliefs surrounding a website or application and specific tasks that the website or application supports.
In order to prevent the researcher from introducing bias and to ensure that every participant is asked the same questions, the researcher prepares a Discussion Guide, which is a list of questions that will be asked of participants in a particular order. As the researcher asks questions, he or she may decide to ask probing follow-up questions to gain more clarity about how a task is performed and how a participant feels about it. Although the researcher can ask questions about equipment, tools, people, and procedures involved in a task, the participant is likely to answer the question based on the way a task “should” be completed, and not necessarily how it is completed on a regular basis. It is often best to first observe users in their natural work environment, and then use a one-on-one interview to follow up the observation and clarify what was witnessed.