The 5 Why’s tool can be used independently or combined with other tools to get to the core of a person’s beliefs, motivations and values.

By using the 5 Why’s interviews, designers tap into human and emotional roots of a problem. Designers conduct the 5 Why’s interview with users, employees, or any other relevant stakeholders to get answers to complicated issues that are relevant to the design challenge.


1.START: Define the focus of what you are interested in and consider what you want to do with the findings (build personas, journey maps, system maps, etc.).

2.IDENTIFY: Based on the selected focus area, define the criteria for selecting suitable participants.

3.PREPARE: Think about how you will recruit the participants, what expectations will be set up-front, how you will start and end, and how much time they are expected to dedicate to this activity.

4.CONDUCT: After deciding the best times, length and depth of the interview, start by asking open and non-leading questions about your Interview participant’s habits or behaviors then ask ‘Why’ to their response five times in a row. The aim of asking five times ‘Why’ is to reach depth and latent motivations (e.g. you can start with, What are you daily routines?).

5.REPORT: Write up key learnings right afterwards. Review all the data and highlight important issues. Pay special attention to moments when it feels like you reached a deeper level of understanding why the person does something. Make a short summary that includes the key findings and examples from the data that exemplify these, such as quotes, photos, or videos

PREPARATION: 1-3 hours
DURATION: 15-45 minutes interview
TEMPLATE OR GUIDELINES: Create own guidelines
FACILITATORS: 1 -3, design team members
RESOURCES: Notebook, photo camera, voice recorder, video camera
PARTICIPANTS: 5, Users, employees, or other stakeholders