UX interview workshop at UX talk Tokyo

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of sharing my fourth talk – UX interview with the awesome members of UX Talk Tokyo. I always enjoy talking at this event; It has a wonderfully inclusive and supportive atmosphere and a passionate group of people from a wide range of professional and cultural backgrounds.

A break from the meetup norm

It’s been on my mind recently that many of the creative events out there – while interesting, informative and fun – are usually focused on the speaker and whatever they’ve created, experienced, or want to share. This is fine of course, but for something like UX process – which is so hands-on in practice – I wanted to try something more audience-focused. So I decided on a participant-centered workshop.


Why UX interviews?

One of the big focal points for our team this year has been UX interviews; Testing hypotheses and prototypes with target users in order to ensure the usefulness and usability of the digital products we create.

It’s something that’s difficult to get started out in as a newcomer, and is also overlooked by a shocking number of companies. However we believe that it’s key to building a successful product and shouldn’t be ignored, so I decided that it would be a great topic for our workshop.

As Robbie and I are planning to go to Thailand for a well-deserved break next week, I thought it would be nice to choose travel apps as our topic.


Session format

The session consisted of a quick 10 minute overview of UX interview questioning techniques (see slides below) followed by the participants pairing up to try out some mock interviews. Each partner was assigned either A or B.

To begin, Participant A played the part of UX researcher, and was given instructions to interview participant B about the flight finding and booking process in JAL’s international flights app (on iOS or Android) or Delta’s app (iOS or Android) if the interviewee could not read Japanese.

We then shared the outcomes and learning as a group, before switching roles and conducting another interview, this time focusing on Rakuten Travel (iOS or Android) or Expedia (iOS or Android)

UX interview workshop at UX talk Tokyo #15 event photo


It was really great to see all of the participants, who came from the full spectrum of UX experience – complete newcomers all the way up to professional UX designers – enthusiastically talking in pairs, and then sharing their learning, opinions and ideas with the audience during the group discussions.

As expected, there were a variety of issues that were found with the various apps. Some minor, but some so shockingly bad that it’s amazing they even got through the App Store approval process! Participants pointed out simple-to-fix messaging issues that stopped the users progressing with ease, lack of localization for English-language devices, confusing date pickers and issues with look-and-feel that could have been caught by their developers with even just a couple of hours of casual user testing.

If there’s one thing I hope people learned from the evening, it’s that testing a product with users doesn’t have to be a perfectly planned and executed affair; A quick 10 minute casual run-through with a few simple notes for guidance can open up a whole world of learning about the effectiveness of an experience, and is certainly better than not doing any testing at all! And the great thing about starting quick and simple – the more times you do it, the better you get and the deeper it sinks into your company’s culture!

In all, a very fun and rewarding session, followed by a wonderful 二次会 (after party) at Public House across the street. I’m really hoping to have the opportunity to continue exploring this style of session at a future UX Talk event.

One more thing…

As always, thanks to Tom Coombs for starting up the amazing UX Talk Tokyo meetup, to Gengofor allowing us to invade their office space every month, and to Ryan Barkataki for hosting (and keeping me on track time-wise!).

By the way, if you’re a designer, UX researcher or Rails developer looking for an opportunity to work on some exciting projects with a team of passionate and skilled creators, you should take a look at our jobs page!