In-depth interview helps designers to gather understanding and insight directly from participants. In-depth interviews can be conducted in a semi-structured (around key themes), or unstructured manner, and are mostly done face to face so designers can observe body language and to create a more intimate atmosphere, but can be also conducted by telephone or online (e.g. via Skype).

By using the in-depth interviews, designers tap into participants everyday moments and subtleties. Designers conduct in-depth interviews with users, employees, or any other relevant stakeholders in a situational context 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 your 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. Write up the in-depth interview plan and a guide explaining what you want to find out, and then formulate concrete questions based on that. Pilot the interview plan with one or two persons.

4.CONDUCT: After deciding the best times, length and depth of the interview, start by asking open and non-leading questions. Then move to questions  that gives you the information you are looking for and which makes it easy for participants to answer. Then, follow your interview plan.

5.REPORT: Write up key learnings right afterwards. Then, transcribe the interview and analyze the data whilst highlighting important issues. Make a short summary that includes the key findings (similarities and differences) and examples from the data (e.g. quotes) that exemplify these.

PREPARATION: 2-4 hours
DURATION: 30-45 minutes per interview
TEMPLATE OR GUIDELINES: Create your own  in-depth interview plan
FACILITATORS: 1 -3, design team members
RESOURCES: Notebook, voice recorder, video camera, photo camera
PARTICIPANTS: 5-15, users, employees, or other stakeholders
EXPECTED OUTCOME: Field data such as notes, texts, photos, videos, audio recordings