50 Powerful Questions You Should Ask In Your Next User Interview

To conduct a user interview that is both thorough and effective, you must exercise effort and planning. We researched the best user interview questions you can use for your next qualitative research study.


One of the most indispensable tools for learning more about the behaviors wants, motivations, needs, preferences, and interactions with your products/brand of your customers is user research. There are a few different methods you can use to find valuable insights to fine-tune your customers' experience. Some of these are task analysis, observation, and stimulation of customer feedback through interviews. 

Though there are several options for eliciting these user insights, the primary focus of this article is how to interact directly with your users to get the most helpful information. We will explain the following: 

  • Creating effective user interview questions 
  • The basic format for user interview questions 
  • Examples of user interview questions

Here at Respondent, we will be more than happy to assist you with all aspects of your user interview research.  

How to Create Effective User Interview Questions 

To conduct a user interview that is both thorough and effective, you must exercise effort and planning. The good news is, once you have learned how to create effective user interview questions, you can be sure that the results you glean will be useful. Below, we've outlined a 5-step formula that you can use to structure your UX research questions. 

Define Broader Themes 

The first step in this process is to decide exactly what you hope to learn from this interview. The best way to do this is to hold a brainstorming session to develop some themes of interest. 

At the end of your UX research, you will be sharing your findings with several teams within your company: market research, product, and marketing. Therefore, you might want to consider including a spokesperson from each of these teams in your brainstorming session. 

Create Questions that are Answerable 

Once you have identified some broad themes to focus on, you can go a step further. Go through your list of ideas and note that there are a few differences between each of them.

Take each theme and break it down. Create questions that are related to the overall goal of your research. Write down each and every question that you can think of for that idea- even if you don’t feel like it’s a good one. The point right now is to come up with possible questions. You will refine them later. 

Don’t Ask Leading Questions 

Now that you have a list of potential questions, you want to look at each of them and eliminate any that don't align with your goal. 

Keep in mind that the overall goal is to get honest answers from your users. Therefore, you don't want the questions to tell them how they should answer. You especially want to throw out all of the questions leading to or biased towards a certain answer. 

For example, you might be interested in learning how a customer feels when using a certain product or exploring a particular interface. In this case, a leading or biased question would be: 

“How happy or anxious did you feel when you added items to your shopping cart?” 

Instead, the more appropriate question, in this case, would be: 

“How do you feel when you add items to your shopping cart?” 

When it comes to user research, your questions should never assume anything. They should always encourage their users to provide honest answers. 

Ask Users to Provide Examples 

In some cases, your research participants may have difficulty explaining how they feel about the usability of a particular interface, product, or service. Therefore, you’ll want to have some questions that can help you get past this obstacle. 

By asking your participants to provide specific examples from their experiences related to your questions, it can trigger their memory, helping them provide more precise answers. 

Ask Open-Ended Questions 

One of the things that you must keep in mind when you are interviewing participants is that all opinions and experiences are useful. However, the main issue is that not everyone is entirely comfortable in the interview setting. 

When you ask your questions, you may find that some participants understand the idea behind the question and have no difficulty coming up with an example. On the other hand, some may be more comfortable with questions that elicit a yes/no response. 

To avoid getting these yes/no responses from your users, you'll want to make sure that your questions are open-ended. Think through your questions and create some follow-up questions to help broaden the open-ended answers to guide the participants that tend to be less talkative. 

Regardless of what exactly you want to learn from your customers, it’s a good idea to follow these five steps when creating your questions. This will help to increase the possibility of getting some valuable feedback from your users. 

Basic Format & Examples of User Interview Questions 

Typically, your user interview will last 30 minutes to 1 hour and comprises a series of various types of questions. This includes: 

  • Customer intro questions 
  • Topic-specific questions 
  • Product opportunity questions 
  • Product reaction questions 

Below, we’ll take a closer look at each one of these and provide you with some examples for each. 

Customer Intro Questions 

Chances are, you got the necessary demographic info from your participants during the screening process. However, this doesn't mean that you know everything you need to about them. This is where you should be asking them questions to help you learn and understand what the screening interview did not tell you. 

This includes questions such as: 

  • Tell me about your typical weekday. 
  • On a typical day, when do you use the product/service/user interface? 
  • Explain your role in your company. 
  • Explain your role in your family. 
  • How is this particular product/service/user interface relevant to your daily life? 
  • Tell me about… (example: hobbies relating to the topic at hand)

This is also where you can include any lifestyle questions relevant to the topic at hand or the product/service/user interface. 

By asking these customer intro questions, you can categorize the responses even further to better understand who your customers are. Additionally, it can help the more reserved participants relax and get comfortable in the interview setting, so they open up more. 

Topic-Specific Questions 

The questions in this category will make up most of the interview. They will be useful in helping you understand the needs, wants, and motivations of your customers. Additionally, you can gain some insight into the problem you're attempting to solve through this research. 

This includes questions such as: 

  • What is your relationship like with… (issue/task)? 
  • How do you currently deal with (issue/task)? 
  • How much of your time is typically spent dealing with (issue/task)? 
  • How much time would you like to spend dealing with (issue/task)? 
  • Is saving time on (issue/task) important to you? 
  • Are there any obstacles you must overcome when dealing with (issue/task)? Tell me about those. 
  • Explain the last time you dealt with (issue/task). 
  • Is there anything you like about how you are currently dealing with (issue/task)? If yes- what is it? If no- why not? 
  • Is there anything you’re doing at this time to make this (issue/task) easier? 
  • Does this (issue/task) have an impact on other areas of your life? If so, what areas and what is the impact? 
  • Have you tried other methods for dealing with this (issue/task)? If so, what are those? 
  • Did you pay for those other methods for dealing with (issue/task)? 
  • How did you hear about those other methods for dealing with (issue/task)?
  • What is your primary pain point related to (issue/task)? 
  • Why do you keep doing (issue/task)? 
  • Why is this (issue/task) important? 
  • Do you have any workarounds for this (issue/task)? Tell me about those. 
  • What are the most difficult parts of (issue/task)? 
  • What are the easiest parts of (issue/task)? 
  • What do you like/dislike about other methods for dealing with (issue/task)? 
  • Do you need an alternative solution for (issue/task)? 

Of course, these are just some examples. You don't have to use every question on this list, but be sure to include the ones that help you understand how to adjust your product/service to meet your users' needs better. 

Product Opportunity Questions 

Now that you understand how your customers interact with your product/service/interface, as well as any issues they experience with it, you can move on to obtaining focused feedback. If you plan to demonstrate a particular product/service/interface, the questions here will help you understand your users' reactions. 

This includes questions such as: 

  • What are your thoughts on this product/service/interface? 
  • What is visually appealing about this? 
  • What is not visually appealing about this? 
  • Do you see any potential issues with this product/service/interface? What are those issues? 
  • Do you believe people would use this product/service/interface? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe that you would ever use this product/service/interface? Why or why not? 
  • Do you believe this product/service/interface to be useful? Why or why not? 
  • Would you use this product/service/interface today? 
  • Do you believe you can trust this product/service/interface? Why or why not? 
  • What would prevent you from using this product/service/interface? 
  • What would you be willing to pay for this product/service/interface? 
  • Does this remind you of other products/services/interfaces on the market? If so, what are they, and why are they similar? 

Additionally, don't be afraid to ask for clarification or more details on the answers that you receive. These are the "meat and bones" of your UX research study. 

Product Reaction Questions 

In some cases, you'll find that it's useful (and sometimes even necessary) to allow research participants to use your product/service/interface and ask questions after they've done so. 

This includes questions such as: 

  • What did you find most/least appealing about this product/service/interface? 
  • What is easy/difficult about using this product/service/interface? 
  • Did anything surprise you about this product/service/interface? 
  • Do you feel like anything is missing from this product/service/interface? 
  • Would you continue to use this product/service/interface? If not, what needs to change about it so you would use it? 
  • Is there anything you would do to improve this product/service/interface?

Once again, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or more details on these answers. This will help you gain an understanding of exactly what your customers need, want, and think. 

Conclusion 

One of the best ways to gain insights into your customer base is through user research interviews. However, it can be challenging to come up with appropriate questions to ask during this process. In this article, we’ve explained the steps in creating effective interview questions. Then, we took you through the basic format of these questions and provided you with some examples.

If you need assistance in your UX research efforts, let the professionals at Respondent help. We will be happy to help ensure that your UX research interview is thorough and effective to get the answers you need. 

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