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There’s no better way to understand the hopes, desires, and aspirations of those you’re designing for than by talking with them directly.


Suggested Time

60-90 Minutes

Level of Difficulty


Materials Needed

Pens, paper


Design team, person you're designing for

Process Phase

Interviews really are the crux of the Inspiration phase. Human-centered design is about getting to the people you’re designing for and hearing from them in their own words. Interviews can be a bit daunting, but by following these steps below you’ll unlock all kinds of insights and understanding that you’ll never get sitting behind your desk. Whenever possible, conduct your interviews in the interviewee’s space. You can learn so much about a person’s mindset, behavior, and lifestyle by talking with them where they live or work.


  1. No more than three research team members should attend any single interview so as to not overwhelm the participant or crowd the location. Each team member should have a clear role (i.e. interviewer, note-taker, photographer).
  2. Come prepared with a set of questions you’d like to ask. Start by asking broad questions about the person’s life, values, and habits, before asking more specific questions that relate directly to your challenge.
  3. Make sure to write down exactly what the person says, not what you think they might mean. This process is all about hearing exactly what people are saying. If you’re relying on a translator, make sure he or she understands that you want direct quotes, not the gist of what the interviewee says.
  4. What the person says is only one data point. Be sure to observe your interviewee’s body language and the context in which you’re talking.