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Resource: Interview Protocol Template

Resource: Interview Protocol Template

This interview protocol was developed for a 15-minute interview with a user of GPS mapping applications, seeking to understand unusual or unexpected things about their usage habits.


[Overarching Question] What unusual or unexpected uses of GPS does the participant make when navigating from one place to another, especially in the context of informing new or improved GPS features?

[Introduction] Hi, my name is Kentaro Toyama, and I’m here to understand better how you use GPS technology, particularly for navigating from one point to another. This interview will take about 10-15 minutes, during which time we’ll go through some questions. Throughout, I’d like you to treat me as if you’re describing the situation to someone who isn’t familiar with GPS devices. I’m here to learn from you. A couple of things before we start. To the extent possible, I will take your comments to be confidential. My research team and I will aggregate all the comments from several interviews we’re conducting so that your comments are not easily traced to you. If we quote you in our final report, we will do so without identifying your name or specific role. If there’s anything you really don’t want on the record, even if it’s anonymized, please let me know that, too. Also, this interview is entirely voluntary on your part – if for any reason you want to stop, please let me know. We can end the interview at that point with no repercussions for you of any kind. I can also throw out anything you’ve told me until that point.

Do you have any questions for me? All right, then, let’s proceed.

[Once the interview gets underway…] Oh, and by the way, do you mind if I take an audio recording? This is just so that I don’t miss anything – no one other than the research team will have access to the recording. Thanks.

[Warm up] How often do you use GPS for navigating? In general, are you happy with GPS technologies?

[Recent use of GPS] I’d like you to think back to the most recent time when you used a GPS to navigate from one place to another. Can you tell me a bit about that trip? [Follow up, if they don’t include in their response] When did the trip take place? From where to where did you go? Roughly how long was the trip? When exactly did you turn the GPS on? How did you input the destination location? [E.g., by address, by landmark, etc.] Did you have to interact with the GPS once you set the destination, and if so, when and why? Did you have other passengers, and did any help with navigation? Do you remember turning the GPS off, and if so when was that? Did anything unusual happen on that trip? Would you say that that was a typical trip? If not, what was unusual about it? [Repeat above, for other trips, if fruitful.] [Unusual trip – if nothing interesting comes up above] Now, I’d like you to think about a recent trip that was unusual or uncommon for you. For example, if you were on vacation, or in an accident, or part of a group of drivers going to the same location, and so on. Can you think of anything like that? What made the trip unusual? Did you use a GPS device? And if so, did the unusual nature of the trip change how you used the GPS? Who was in the car with you, and did they help with navigation?

[Other questions] One of the things I’m most interested in are situations under which the GPS is used in an unusual way. Can you think of any instances when you used the GPS in a way that isn’t typical?

[Use follow-up questions from above.] Is there anything else that might be relevant – unusual uses of GPS, for example?

[Conclusion] Thank you – those are all the questions I have for you. If anything else occurs to you after I leave, please don’t hesitate to let me know by email. I may be in touch with you again to ask a few follow-up questions. If you’d like, I can send a version of the report that we’ll write based on this interview. Do you have any questions? Thanks again!

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Understanding User Needs

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