An interview is possibly one of the most recognised methods of research not only within design, but within all research fields as a whole. The intention of an interview, within the field of design, is typically to gain qualitative data. If the aim is to acquire quantitative data a survey may be more effective. Interviews can be structured and carried out in several ways. The most common form is usually a face to face meeting, with the interviewer asking the interviewee a series of questions and recording their responses. It’s value lies in its ability to reveal insightful subtleties in the human condition. Every person has a unique story and by constructing a carefully considered set of questions a designer can start to reveal the complexity of human life, and begin to understand how to design within & around it.

Contributor: Dustin Bailey, 2013

Interviews can become impractical if the questions asked unintentionally lead to bias or directed answers. Often questions are pre loaded with assumptions the interviewer has made about the person or topic and require more careful consideration to gather truly useful information.

Contributor: Dustin Bailey, 2013

Logically, the most effective design practices who utilise interviews tend to practice human centred design. Both IDEO and Studio Thick utilise interviews as a way of immersing themselves the culture and needs of the people they are designing for.

A successful example of interviews being used within a design project is the American Standard pit latrine project in Bangladesh. Interviews were carried out in order to create a locally suitable product created by an American company. The end result was highly successful and solved several issues with the health and sanitation issues in Bangladesh.

Contributor: Dustin Bailey, 2013