Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Interview guide [template]

This document includes example questions grouped along key moments often found in our in-depth interviews: introductions, warm-up, topic-specific questions, demos, etc. Edit these questions as you see fit. If your questions are specific or your participant’s time scarce, consider sharing some questions ahead of time. See this checklist for running an in-depth interview. GSA Staff, please see this 18F only, Google Doc Template (GSA/TTS Access only)

Introduction

Hello, my name’s [moderator], and I’m going to walk you through today’s session. As I mentioned over email, my office is currently working with [partner] to [broad purpose; for example, inform a redesign of agency.gov]. Joining us on the call are [observers, and their affiliation].

I’d like to begin by thanking you for making time to speak with us. Your feedback is valuable, and will help us determine if our website functions as intended. Just to confirm, we’d like to keep this interview to [duration; for example, 30 minutes]. Does that still work for you?

Great. If you need a break or to stop at any time, please let me know.

During this session, I’ll start by asking you a few questions around your work. Later on, I’ll ask you to share your screen and accomplish a few tasks using the [prototype: for example, a website or draft content] we’re evaluating.

Please be aware that there are no wrong answers. In fact, this is probably the one place today where you don’t have to worry about making mistakes! As you go about using the [prototype], I’ll ask you to think aloud as much as possible: to describe what you’re looking at and what you’re trying to do. This will be a big help.

Also, please don’t worry that you’re going to hurt our feelings. We’re doing this to improve the site, so we need to hear your honest reactions.

If you have any questions as we go along, just ask them. I may not be able to answer them right away, since we’re interested in how people do when they don’t have someone sitting next to them to help. But if you still have any questions when we’re done I’ll try to answer them then.

With your permission, I’d like to record this call. The recording will only be used to help us figure out how to improve the site, and it won’t be seen by anyone except those with a need-to-know. Recording this call also helps me, because I don’t have to take as many notes! Is that okay?

Finally, I want to confirm that you’ve received a participant agreement — is that correct? Have you had a chance to review it? Did you have any questions? If you haven’t already, please sign it and send it back at your earliest convenience.

Great. Do you have any questions for me at this time?

Warm-up

To start, I’d like to hear a little bit about you — what’s your occupation? What do you do all day?

What kind of person does your kind of work, generally? Is this something that requires a specific kind of training or experience?

What are your goals in doing your work? What motivates you?

A specific topic

Thanks for that context. Now, I’d like to ask you a few questions about [topic]. If you had to explain this in the simplest terms possible, how would you do it?

How does [topic] tie back to your goals in doing your work?

What do you do when you have questions about [topic]?

What’s one thing you wish were more straightforward about [topic]?

Demo

Note: If you’re running a usability test, consider this example usability test script instead.

Thanks. Now I’m going to ask you to consider how you might respond to the following scenarios using this website. I’m going to read each scenario out loud, and I’ll also share the text of the scenario via chat.

When was the last time you did [task]? Tell me more.

Do you mind sharing your screen? [...] You can do that by clicking “Present now” in the bottom-right corner of our video chat. Before you share, make sure to close anything you don’t want recorded.

Can you show me how you do [task]?

Wrap-up

Thank you so much for your time. Before we finish, what did we forget to ask about?

Would you be open to speaking with us again in the future?

Who else should we talk to?

18F User Experience Design Guide

An official website of the GSA’s Technology Transformation Services

Looking for U.S. government information and services?
Visit USA.gov