User interview questions cheatsheet

Better User Interviews

Simple, human interviews. A set of questions that’ll help you get insight.

The Goal
Get Context
Pains & Gains

Identify the Goal

Customers buy your product to make a positive change in their lives. You want to understand what that change is. Arm yourself with the right questions to get this insight.


Why did you sign up for (product)?

Discover their intent


What is the biggest problem you hope (product) will help you solve?

Identify the most popular use-cases


What are you trying to accomplish?

Understand the motivation


Why did you think (product) was the right solution?

Understand your selling point


Establish Context

These questions will help you get a clear understanding of the environment, situation, and context surrounding the problem.


Why do you need to solve this problem?

Find out the bad outcomes that occur without your product


What is frustrating about (problem)?

Great for mining copy you can use for marketing material


When did you first realize you had this problem?

Paint a picture of the environment that sparks realisation


What were you doing when this happened?

Understand the trigger points for the problem


Walk me through the last time you had this problem. What happened?

Unpack the context surrounding the trigger


Your Real Competitors

Often times our competition is not who we think they are. Here are questions to figure out where your users go to solve their problems. You want to know what solutions they have tried before.


How are you solving that problem right now?

Find out what your competition really is


How well does your solution work?

Understand what’s great, and what’s missing


Why did you choose this solution?

Understand the consideration sets users vet solutions by


Before using (current solution) how did you solve these problems in the past?

Find out the mental model for how users approach a solution


How did you make the change to (current solution)? Were you forced to? Was there a deadline or specific event you had to be ready for?

Discover the decision making drivers


Did you alone make the decision to change? Who else was involved and why?

Find out who the decision maker is, especially useful for B2B


Pains & Gains

Learn their struggles and motivations. You need to understand what is pulling your users to your solution. And what is pushing them from the current solution.


What is good about (current solution)?

Learn what they like


What is bad about (current solution)?

Learn what can be improved on


Did you make mistakes? Did you use (current solution) the wrong way?

Identify issues with current UX


Walk me through the past solutions you tried. What is good or bad about them? Which ones stuck out?

Get a breakdown of the pros and cons of your competition


What was the hardest part of figuring out what solution to use? Was there any point where you got stuck?

Uncover anxieties to position yourself against them


What would be the biggest relief to you?

Great opportunity for marketing copy


With (current solution), what can you do that you couldn’t do before?

Discover the superpowers users get


What savings make you happiest? Time? Money? Effort?

See what users care about the most


What do you wish for more of?

Bonus! Maybe bring their wild dreams to life

⭐️ Tips

How to talk to users


Talk about their life, not your idea

Don’t make the conversation about your product or idea. It should be about their lives, struggles, and motivations. There, you can then see how your product fits into that environment they have illustrated for you


Talk about specifics, not hypotheticals

Don’t ask them the guess or speculate. Don't talk about the future, talk about specifics that have occurred in their lives. Instead of asking: ”how much would you pay for X?”. Ask ”how much do you currently spend to solve your problem?”.


Create a vivid picture of the context

Talk about their motivations and why they got themselves into that problem in the first place. Be broad and figure out the variables and triggers in their environment by asking why a lot. Don’t be afraid to prod for more information.


Keep it casual

The formality created in interviews stifles expression. This can make interviewees present facts in ways they feel might appeal to you. Maintain the purity of the conversation by creating a relaxing environment for them. It should feel like side banter with a friend.

Where to find users to talk to


Communities, forums, online meet-ups

Find out where they are online, go there and engage. Try Facebook groups, Quora, Hacker News and Reddit. Google searches will lead you to more communities and meet-ups to check out. Searching for conversations on Twitter gives you a chance to jump right in.


Lead capture forms

Create a landing page about your product idea. Share it in relevant communities where potential users engage. If they sign up, they're interested. Reach out to them to learn more.


Friends, Family, and Network

Talk to people you already know. Try to get them to introduce you to people who fit your profile. These will be the warmest leads you’ll ever get. Alternatively use your social networks. Tweet about the idea and start a conversation.

Organising insight


Use a spread sheet to store responses

Use this template (you can duplicate it) to store your responses. It comes with filters for job titles so you can see responses specific to a segment.


Use word clouds to identify patterns

Working with free-form data can be a pain, word clouds help to synthesise and extract insight from them.


Segment responses by job titles

An easy way to determine what interviewee persona is most valuable is by filtering responses by job titles, or other similar traits. This will give you a idea of what segment needs your solution the most.

First guide coming soon. Subscribe to get notified!

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