The user interview: not a focus group

A Flow consultant sits next to the user. It’s a one-to-one interview. Sometimes the consultant takes notes while doing the testing, sometimes we have a note-taker in the observation room.

It’s all about observing what users do. For example, the user can’t find the CHECKOUT button. We let them search for it for a while, and observe where they are looking for it. We ask them questions like, “What’s going on now?” to get them talking about what they’re doing. If they really can’t find the button, we’ll eventually show them where it is.

Now the user will probably say, “Oh there it is! They should make it red so that it stands out more.” We are really not interested in the fact that they think it should be red. The user is not the designer. What we are interested in is the fact that they couldn’t find the button. Users can show us the problems, but are rarely good at coming up with solutions.