Usability Techniques
Tips for Talking with Users During Site Visits

By Dr. Janice (Ginny) Redish

1. Listen!!
You want information. Spend the time listening, not talking

2. Don't lead the user.
Don't tell the user the answer you want.
You know not to be obvious by asking questions like this:

But you can lead users in much more subtle ways. Here are other questions that let users know what answer you want. In fact, depending on your tone of voice, you can let users know you want them to say "yes" or you want them to say "no."

3. Ask neutral questions.
Instead of leading the user, frame your questions so they are neutral. Here are some ways of doing that:

4. Do not blame the user.
You do not want users to feel that they are stupid or did something wrong, but you may want to know what was going on or why they did or did not do something. Be careful of questions that users may interpret as suggesting they should have done something else. Don't ask questions like these:

5. Instead, feed back what the user did.
A useful way to get users to talk more about their experiences is
to tell them what you saw and open an opportunity for them to talk more. Another useful way is to ask them what they typically do.


This article is part of the Usability Toolkit.
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