I want to collect inputs from others in a conversation that uncovers their perspective.

Interview Guide


INSPIRED BY : IDEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2012) Develop an interview approach p58. In: Human Centred Design Toolkit.

Level of Involvement

Requires some dialogue with colleagues/peers. Plan for some time to interact and fill out in collaboration over a day maybe.

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What is it & why should I do it?


The easiest way to understand a person is to speak to them. Interviews are a way to connect with people; an opportunity to hear them describe their experiences in their own words. Speaking to people about their everyday lives can help you define and describe the problems they face, understand the environment they’re part of, and even start to picture the ways in which you can reach them. Interviews can also act as evidence for why your work is needed, or even what impact your work is creating.


Getting what you want from an interview however can be harder than you think – what people say and what they actually do are often very different things. Establishing an in-depth understanding of a particular experience might take some time, and requires a series of questions and activities as part of a conversation. Even a short interview can provide a huge amount of information, with masses of material quickly piling up when you start speaking with several people. The Interview Guide acts like a checklist to help you prepare a game-plan for an interview.


How do I use it?

Interview Guide

The worksheet for the Interview Guide worksheet is an example of how you can prepare your interview. Depending on the focus of the project, this can also contain other items.


There is usually a mix of practices as well as underlying motivations you want to explore. Focus your questions on asking ‘What’ and ‘How’ and then probe deeper into people’s motivations by asking ‘Why’.


You could follow this three step framework to structure your interview:


Open Up: Make the participant feel at ease with ‘warm-up’ questions they are comfortable with. (for e.g. Household demographics; Who does what in the household? Some recent anecdotes related to the topic.)


Go Broad: Prompt bigger, wider thinking on related issues that they may not normally address on a daily basis. (Aspirations for the future, How are things connected?)


Look Deep: Dig deeper on the challenge at hand and prompt with challenging ‘what if’ scenarios.


There are various ways to elicit and document information during an interview. Make sure to prompt participants to be specific in clarifying their preferences and motivations. You may ask people to simply tell you, but you could also invite them to show things, or maybe make a drawing of particular practices they have (e.g. where is your favourite spot in the room? What is your favourite object in the house?)


Before you do the actual interview, it is wise to practice with your team to get a sense of how to frame the questions for better response. Also think about how you would use these interviews later. This is especially useful if several people will be conducting the interviews.

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Latest User Experience

  1. Samson Namwoyo

    Kagumu Development

    User Rating: 1

    It is a good tool for sharing experience for the development ans sustainability of our institutions

    Thank you


  2. Kate King

    Fresh Start Recovery Centre

    User Rating: 3

    I very much enjoyed the learning and confirmation that I and many colleagues utilized some tools already.


  3. Rut Roman


    User Rating: 3

    We are a small NGO working in a rural area in coastal Ecuador. During these times of social distancing, our Community Library, within the public health restrictions, offers internet connectivity, books, and librarians to support young and adult students with their distance learning. We are preparing these interviews as a means to understand the reason why our library patrons are not coming to us. We think these tips and resources to frame our conversations with our neighbors is very useful and will certainly help us get into the conversation. Thank you!


  4. Tetyana Varenychenko

    User Rating: 5

    Great experience! Learning something new is always a valuable experience.