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Demo: Creating an Interview Guide- Personas

Watch Alex Cowan to learn how to create an interview guide using personas.
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In this video, we’re going to learn how to start our interview guide and we’re going to look specifically at the questions related to the personal hypothesis. As a reminder, this is a guide not a questionnaire. So it’s to help you ask better questions of the subject, remember how you want to use your time, over the course of the time you have available and it’s something you should freely iterate on and change. We’re going to want to start off with very general questions. And by the way, you should have started the subject interview or not as the case maybe with your screening question.
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So this is a simple, factual question, you’ll ask the subjects to make sure that they really do pertain back to your persona of interest. In this case it was, how many HVAC jobs have you done in the last month.
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So the first question we might ask here is pretty general, like, tell me about being an HVAC technician.
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And then we might ask about the job. What do you most, least like about it? What about the job is hard, easy? These are again just notes. You’re not going to be reading from this interview guide presumably. And then if we feel like we’re having trouble getting things from the subject, we could lead them a little bit with only at this point of the sequence with something like, I’ve heard such and such. Does that apply to you?
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Then we’re going to ask about more specifically what their job is like, what a day in the life is like for them while’s they’re doing these HVAC repairs. So we might ask something like, would you say you have a speciality, a particular kind of job you do?
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Within the HVAC context or we might ask something like, tell me about the last job you did. And as we discussed, this is something where they’ll probably say, well, I can think of this job last Tuesday, but it wasn’t typical. That’s okay. You just want to get them to start driving to specifics at this point, and supplemental questions you might want to ask to get the right level of detail on that. Are things like, who else was involved? The dispatch, the customer, these are things that are going to be pretty important to us as we figure out how to develop software that standardizes, and automates the way these people work together.
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And we might ask here, what was hard, easy about that job? Or we might ask them normative questions like, what part of that job might have been, you think could have been done better or what would you have liked to have had? Now we’re getting into the think, see, feel, do area. So with the think part, as you remember, we’re getting at the tension between how they see things now and how they would like them to be. When we’re trying to get at the tension between how things are and how they should be, something easier to start with how they should ideally be. How should things ideally be done?
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And again hopefully we’re doing against the back drop of the specific examples that we’ve been through sequentially together. And then we can ask, we can get at that attention asking, how are things done now? How is that different?
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With the see part of think, see, feel, do, we’re trying to get at what influences their point of view. Why did they think what they think? Is it discussions with peers? Things they read. So we might ask them how do you learn about what’s new, what’s happening?
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And then as we kind of want to get at which of the sources are most influential you might ask something like, who do you think is doing it best? Who’s career would you most like to emulate?
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Then when we get to the field part, we hopefully have a lot of specific examples to talk about to this point so that we’re not just asking them, how do you feel when you do these jobs? That probably won’t work. Doing this against specific examples is probably the thing that’s most effective. So if we haven’t already, we want to get at a specific example here. Tell me about the last time you did a repair, or maybe a certain thing happened.
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If we think there are certain triggers that they relate to emotionally, and then we would ask something like what motivates you?
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What parts of the job are most rewarding? Because we want to make sure that we get at what’s exciting about the job, what motivates them, what demotivates them about the job. When we get to the do part, we want to get at the factual specifics that we care about. So we might ask them, how many jobs do you do a week?
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How many hours is that?
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How much time driving? How much time?
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Now it bares mentioning here that these things are not individual. You want to make sure that you know all this in the context of a holistic persona. And as you actually interview the subjects, it’s really important to take very, very detailed notes for a couple of reasons. One, if you feel like you have an answer on the do question, well we already know how many jobs they do and so forth. Well, you may find that there is significant variation in the personas and you want to look at the relationship between people that do a lot of jobs or relatively few jobs, and the other things that you heard from them, that’s the first reason.
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And probably the most important reason, why you want to make sure you at least touch on all these things on each interview. And take really detailed notes is that things that seemed not important to you at one point may turn out to be really important as your perspective on the project evolves. So this is how we would rough out these interview guides and again just like a lot of the other things that we do. We will iterate on these as we see what works for us. In the next video, we’re going to look at how to finish up the interview guide with some questions that are more focused specifically on the problem scenarios.
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