Just when you think you have it all figured out, there is so much more. And in my case, that “so much more” is every bit as fascinating as what I started with. I am far more intrigued and invested in my topic now. The interviewees I spoke with were both extremely well educated and published in the areas of user experience design and in subjective perspective research.
I found one to be informative and well spoken, and the other to be a deep thinker with a lot to offer in terms of philosophical direction and structuring design practice before any artwork ever commences. Both interviewees expressed a deep interest in my topic and offered to assist on call through the rest of the duration of this project. I count my lucky stars today!
Reflecting on my interview skills, I would say that I should have planned for the unexpected. Let me start by emphasizing that I put a great deal of time, thought, and research into my interview questions. I emailed my experts over a week in advance and provided them with all the questions and my outline to review prior to our Skype interviews. I found that my experts were full of questions themselves and we began a rapport of question and answer via email before ever speaking personally.
Flash forward to the day of the interview. I graciously thanked my speakers and requested permission to record our discussion for further dictation and dissemination later. I then provided a condensed overview of my direction and asked what they might like to contribute to the conversation prior to my questions and indicated after my questions that I would welcome any personal insights and theories that could either advance my direction or add a unique twist.
One candidate provided insightful answers to the questions in a fairly linear manner, while the second candidate preferred to discuss the overall concept to a dictated list of questions. My advice, roll with the punches. Let them divulge their knowledge while keeping the conversation in a general direction of “on topic”. It is surprising what you may learn and what long-term professional relationships you can begin building.
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