Clients often come to us to help them develop a better sense of their users. To do so, we venture into the homes of people who are using or may be using our client’s product. Armed with audio and video recorders, we interview them at length. In the course of these interviews, we naturally develop a sense of empathy for these people: We see their homes, we meet their housemates, we make eye contact, and we share a physical space for over an hour.
After the interview, we are tasked with the challenge of articulating what we saw, heard and felt. We rummage through our interview transcripts and notes using a variety of methods and tools. We then produce personas and story-scenarios that document the characteristics, behaviors and motivations of the people we spoke to. Done right, these personas and scenarios help our clients develop a sense of empathy for their users.
But ultimately, there’s no substitute for actually being there, talking to real people, and experiencing it first-hand. To that end, we always encourage our clients to join in on our home interviews. Sometimes, all it takes is a day out of their office and into the lives of their users for a new perspective to settle in. Sometimes, it’s the real, live response to a question they’ve been holding on the tip of their tongue that finally convinces them.
So to all our clients, present and future: “Please, come with us. Take a plunge into the world of your users.”