Prepare For User Interviews

Create an interview guide with your team members

The Interview Preparation Guide helps your team brainstorm questions and create an interview script. This guide allows your team to create alignment and consistency on what to cover during interviews.


Create an interview guide


Designers, Business Leads


40 - 60 minutes



Before You Start

You have created at least one problem statement
To make sure that your interview is focused around the core problem of your project, you should create a problem statement (“How might we..?” question) with the following method:

Create a Problem Statement

Materials you will need

Templates for Download

Templates for Virtual Collaboration

(Registration to MURAL is required)


  • 5 minutes

Explain the Interview Arc

Explain the interview arc to the team members. An interview is a conversation with a beginning, middle & end. At the beginning the interviewer introduces him- or herself, then the project is discussed. The interviewer tries to establish a good relationship with the interviewee so that he or her will speak openly and honestly about their experiences (“stories”).

  • 10 - 15 minutes

Brainstorm Questions

Run a silent brainstorming (brainwriting) session on what questions to ask the interviewees for the “Introductions”, “Build Rapport”, “Evoke Stories”, “Explore Emotions”, and “Question Statements” sections of the interview arc.

Before the brainstorming starts, explain how to formulate interview questions. For example:

The questions should be open-ended, such as “W questions”, i.e., who, what, when, where, and why.

“Leading” questions should be avoided, e.g., “Do you like your current health insurance?” So, the questions should not lead to a possible answer that is only “yes” or “no” but should inspire the interviewee to explain something in context.

If necessary, help the participants reformulate questions.

  • 20 - 30 minutes

Align Questions to Interview Arc

Each participant places their questions on sticky notes along the interview arc (one question per sticky note). For example, a question starting with “How was it the last time when you…” could be placed under the “Evoke Stories” section. Participants should briefly explain why they want to ask the question and why they placed it in that particular section.

  • 5 -10 minutes

Select Questions for Interview Guide

Once all the participants have moved their questions to the timeline under the interview arc, they can vote for the questions that should be part of the interview guide. For less controversial subjects, you can have the voting replaced by a discussion (or do both to conclude this step). The selected questions are used for the interview guide.

See Completed Example

You're Done!

You can now use the selected questions to build your script for the interview. Along with the questions, the full interview script includes an introduction and some housekeeping rules for the interview.