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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Second Edition by Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld

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User Research Sessions

Face-to-face sessions involving one user at a time are a central part of the user research process. However, these sessions are also expensive and time-consuming. We’ve learned that you tend to get the most value out of these sessions by integrating two or more research methods. We typically combine an interview with either card sorting or user testing. This multi-method approach makes the most of your limited time with real users.

Interviews

We often begin and end user research sessions with a series of questions. Starting with a brief Q&A can put the participant at ease. This is a good time to ask about their overall priorities and needs with respect to the site. Questions at the end of the session can be used to follow up on issues that came up during the user testing. This is a good time to ask what frustrates them about the current site and what suggestions they have for improvement. This final Q&A brings closure to the session. Here are some questions we’ve used for intranet projects in the past.

Background

  • What do you do in your current role?

  • What is your background?

  • How long have you been with the company?

Information Use

  • What information do you need to do your job?

  • What information is hardest to find?

  • What do you do when you can’t find something?

Intranet Use

  • Do you use the intranet?

  • What is your impression of the intranet? Is it easy or hard to use?

  • How do you find information on the intranet?

  • Do you use customization or personalization features?

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