Contextual Interview

We get uncomfortable when our customers ask us to make a design decision without end user contact. Running a good customer interview is a fundamental step in understanding user needs, goals, and behaviors. In a contextual interview, you watch and listen as the user works. For example, an insurance specialist needs to investigate and reconcile payment for a person who recently enrolled in We don’t usually give the user tasks or scenarios. We just watch how the insurance specialist goes through the different tools and datasets to perform his/her work.

The SIMPLE Experience

Interview to understand new product idea

eSimplicity performs contextual interviews to understand use cases for an existing product or new product idea. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a Hospital Compare tool available for the public to use. We must understand what a beneficiary or caregiver is interested in when comparing hospitals. Simply displaying the existing hospital measures may not be helpful to the users. Observing a participant navigating a product can help an interviewer understand what aspects trip them up, what they enjoy, what is unnecessary, and what they might use it for.

Interview for user interface design

It can be difficult to get a sense of the best possible user interface by simply asking participants questions about what they like to see. Watching them succeed and stumble through different interfaces can be a better gauge. In the example of the Insurance Payment Reconciliation process, the interviewer can let the insurance specialist try the new prototype and ask questions about his/her experience with the interface and observe if certain links are difficult to locate or tasks require too many steps.

Interview to understand user workflow

One of the most beneficial uses of contextual interview is assessing employee workflow. For example, Medicaid policy analysts have to review information, gather data, and submit to the CMS. Interviewers can review an internal process at your business and ask employees what can be done to improve productivity.