Before you interview someone else, you must in effect interview yourself.You need to know your biases and how they will affect your perceptions.Your education, intellect, upbringing, emotions, and ethical framework all serve as powerful filters for what you will be hearing in your interviews.
You need to think through the interview thoroughly before you go. Visualize why you are going, what you will ask, and what will make it a successful interview in your eyes. You must anticipate how to make the interview fulfilling for the individual you interview, as well.
An information-gathering interview is a directed conversation with a specific purpose that uses a question-and-answer format. In the interview you want to get the opinions of the interviewee and his or her feelings about the current state of the system, organizational and personal goals, and informal procedures for interacting with information technologies.
Above all, seek the opinions of the person you are interviewing. Opinions may be more important and more revealing than facts. For example, imagine asking the owner of a traditional store who has recently added an online store how many customer refunds she typically gives for Web transactions each week. She replies, “About 20 to 25 a week.” When you monitor the transactions and discover that the average is only 10.5 per week, you might conclude that the owner is overstating the facts and the problem.
Imagine instead that you ask the owner what her major concerns are and that she replies, “In my opinion, customer returns of goods purchased over the Web are way too high.” By seeking opinions rather than facts, you discover a key problem that the owner wants addressed. In addition to opinions, you should try to capture the feelings of the interviewee. Remember that the interviewee knows the organization better than you do. You can understand the organization’s culture more fully by listening to the feelings of the respondent.
Goals are important information that can be gleaned from interviewing. Facts that you obtain from hard data may explain past performance, but goals project the organization’s future. Try to find out as many of the organization’s goals as possible from interviewing. You may not be able to determine goals through any other data-gathering methods.
The interview is also a valuable time to explore key HCI (human–computer interaction) concerns, including the ergonomic aspects, the system usability, how pleasing and enjoyable the system is, and how useful it is in supporting individual tasks.
In the interview you are setting up a relationship with someone who is probably a stranger to you. You need to build trust and understanding quickly, but at the same time you must maintain control of the interview. You also need to sell the system by providing needed information to your interviewee. Do so by planning for the interview before you go so that conducting it is second nature to you. Fortunately, effective interviewing can be learned. As you practice, you will see yourself improving. Later in the chapter we discuss joint application design (JAD), which can serve as an alternative to one-on-one interviewing in certain situations.
- Interviewing Explained
- Five Steps in Interview Preparation
- Question Types (Open Ended and Closed)
- Arranging Questions in a Logical Sequence
- Writing the Interview Report
- Interviewing in Information Gathering
- Five Steps in Interview Preparation
- Open-Ended and Closed Type Interview Questions
- Arranging Interview Questions in a Logical Sequence
- Joint Application Design (JAD) in Information Gathering
- Using Questionnaires in Information Gathering
- Writing Questions for Questionnaires
- Using Scales in Questionnaires
- Designing and Administering the Questionnaires