on 18 August 2013
There aren't a lot of people in the world who have a deeper knowledge of user research than Steve Portigal. And those who have it almost certainly aren't as good at writing.
On the face of it the book is a structured how-to for people planning and executing field interviews. So if you are someone starting out in user research or user experience design I'd highly recommend it because it will acquaint you with many important principles - and give you you some pointers and perspectives from someone with deep experience.
But there's also a lot for people with more years under their belt. I've been conducting interviews and managing research teams for over a decade and the book gave me lots to reflect on and talk to my colleagues about. We'll be doing some things differently as a result of reading the book.
At a more general level I found Interviewing Users refreshing because, in a time where lean and agile practices sometimes put pressure on us to hack through user insight part of user experience design, the book reminds us that interviewing is a craft, and that the quality and care you put into it will make for better design outcomes. As well as being a responsibility, interviewing users is a great pleasure and a privilege: shining a light into corners of human behaviour and understanding. I'm sure the book will encourage new people into this important field.
on 27 May 2014
I chose this book having met Steve Portigal at UX Hong Kong a few years back. I was looking forward to learning about how to uncover real insights from masses of interview data. I have to say, I was a little disappointed. It's a great book in terms of helping you plan and execute the interview stage. He's clearly very experienced, it has good examples, and I feel that it has improved my technique. However there was comparatively little on how to analyse and extract the key themes from the data. It's still worth buying for the interview part, but I'm holding out for a sequel where he goes into more detail on the most crucial part.