Asking the Right User Research Questions (Template and Examples Included!)

Interviewing users is an art — whether you are running usability testing, focus groups, ethnographic research or whatnot. When you undertake an interview process, you'll want to invest time up front for planning it out. Often user research projects are days if not weeks of preparation, conversations, and capturing and processing information. To ensure that all this effort is put to good use, take the time to properly plan out your questions.

What is a User Interview?

Let's start with basics. What is a user interview? User interviews are often utilized as a way to examine the user experience, the usability of a product, or flesh out demographic or ethnographic data to build a deeper more comprehensive profile of the end user.

Often user interviews take place in person or on the phone. When possible, it's helpful to have two people present with the user, one to guide the interview and the other to take notes. Typical user interviews will cover topics such as:

  • Background of the user
  • Use of the product
  • User's main objectives and motivations
  • User's pain points, or
  • many other items

Often, research teams will conduct several interviews in order to do a full research project. Developing an interview script in advance is a helpful way to standardize the interview process and really ensure you're covering all of the main questions during your time with the customer.

Example User Research Interview Questions

Chuck Liu, KISSmetric's lead user researcher, suggests these three questions:

  • What are you trying to get done? Why?
  • How do you currently do this?
  • What could be better about how you do this?

Sarah Doody, a user experience designer, suggests the following questions:

Customer Intro Questions

  • What does your typical weekday look like?
  • When do you normally first use the Internet in a typical day?
  • What are some of the apps and websites you use the most?
  • Tell me about your role at your company?
  • Any lifestyle questions that are related to your topic / product.

Topic Specific Questions

  • What’s your relationship like with [topic … e.g. money, fitness, etc]
  • How do you currently go about [problem / task]?
  • How much time do you typically spend on [problem / task]?
  • Tell me about the last time you tried to [problem / task]?
  • What do you like about how you currently [problem / task]?
  • What is the biggest pain point related to [problem / task]?
  • Why do you keep doing [problem / task] … why is it important to you?
  • What type of work arounds have you cerated to help you with this?
  • What’s the hardest part about [problem / task]?
  • What are you currently doing to make this [problem / task] easier?
  • How does this [problem / task] impact other areas of your life / work?
  • What other products or tools have you tried out?
  • Have you paid for any of these other products or tools?
  • How did you hear about these other products or tools?
  • What do you like or dislike about these other products or tools?
  • Are you looking for a solution or alternative for [problem / task]?

Product Opportunity Questions

  • What do you think of this product? (meant to be asked at the homepage to gauge initial reaction)
  • Why do you think someone would use this product?
  • Can you see yourself ever using this product?
  • Why do you think you can trust this product?
  • How do you think this product is going to help you?
  • Would you use this product today?
  • What might keep people from using this product?
  • What’s the most you would be willing to pay for this product?
  • Does this remind of you any other products?

Product Reaction Questions

  • What’s most appealing about this product?
  • What’s the hardest part about using this product?
  • Was there anything surprising or unexpected about this product?
  • What could be done to improve this product?
  • Was there anything missing from this product that you expected?
  • Would you keep using this product after what you saw today?

Use Notejoy for your User Research Interviews

Sharing your user research interview notes through Notejoy is a great way to make notes accessible for everyone, and facilitate an internal discussion. Rather than waiting for the summary, Notejoy's fast and beautiful experience makes it easy for teams to quickly share and collaborate on notes together.

Share your research notebooks with the team

Share a Notejoy library as the single source of truth for your user feedback notes. Multiple people can edit at the same time, and it's also easy to manage who has permission to view and edit notes inside and outside of your organization.

Discuss your research with the entire team

Everyone in the team can participate with threaded discussions and comments. Call out the most interesting insights and ask questions with the entire team with the information in context.

Up to date, searchable, and accessible wherever you are

When you make changes to notes, it happens in real-time so everyone stays in sync. Materials in Notejoy are accessible through web, desktop, and even mobile devices so notes can be added, updated, or searched even when people are away from their desk.

Get started free with Notejoy