Step 1: Interview and Research

Research and conduct interviews to gain a deeper understanding of technical concepts and to develop a sense of the potential narrative. To prepare for an interview, you can read materials related to the subject (e.g., documentation, previous publications by the subject-matter experts, or related blog posts.) This research informs your interview questions.

Interviews with subject-matter experts (SMEs) form the backbone of empathic communication and technical accuracy. The people we’re interviewing may be experts directly involved in a given product, or they may be product users. Each speaks from experience, providing anecdotal proof and compelling stories. Throughout an interview, the shape of a narrative will usually emerge as we ask our SMEs exploratory questions, for example:

  • What problem or task were you faced with?

  • How did you think about possible solutions?

  • How did you choose or implement a solution?

  • How did the solution develop as the project progressed?

  • Who/what helped you get it done?

  • What difference has it made for you, your customers, or your peers?