See & Experience

Show & Tell Interview

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The best way to get better at learning from users and your colleagues is to have them “show and tell” you about what they do. You listen, capture, and learn.

How to
  1. Prepare before meeting your participant by writing down things about their situation, job or life you’d like to see and understand.
  2. Be transparent with your participant about what you’re trying to learn. Emphasize you’d like to know how things really are, not the conventional notion of how we think things should be.
  3. Start out with a broad background question. “Tell me a little about yourself and how you got here.” Use what the participant says to ask more specific questions. Use, “Tell me about...” on every topic.
  4. Make sure you cover ground, don’t get caught on one topic too long.
  5. Collect things or pictures of things that support the user’s experience: references, diagrams, tools, etc.
Tips & Tricks

Avoid assumptions. Have participants explain details in their own words. Have them demonstrate the activity. “Tell me about…” and “Can you show me…?” should be the primary question forms. This avoids short yes/no or discreet choice answers.

Pairs well with
Mindset Of
  • Empathy
Additional Resources