Interviewing End-Users? Remember to SCREAM…
Inspired by Steve Portigal’s excellent Interviewing Users book and the unexpected opportunity to do some field research in a domain that I wasn’t too familiar with I came up with a quick mnemonic to keep interviews productive when minimum prep is possible.
Sequence – What tasks do you do? What order are things done in? What is the first thing that you do after arriving at work?
Comparisons – How does the job compare now that you have this new system? Is this shift like the day shift? Is today like yesterday?
Relationships – Who do you talk with the most? Do you have anything to do with the other team? Who gets involved if there is a problem?
Exceptions – When is the job non-routine? What sort of things happen to upset the usual flow?
Amounts – Is this a busy time for you? When is the job less or more busy?
Memories – Can you remember what happened? Do you have any examples of that?
Ideally you will want to have more time to prepare and a clearer idea of what you need to achieve, but for those interviewing situations where you are trying to scope a domain or get a feel for the breadth of issues that may be relevant this mnemonic could be a useful reminder. It may also be useful for those just starting out with field research.