Interviewing Users: How to Uncover Compelling Insights (2nd edition)

Interviewing people is a skill that most professionals who do research assume they already possess. But not everyone knows how to ask questions well. Expert researcher Steve Portigal updates his classic Interviewing Users to provide fresh guidance on interviewing techniques, as well as new content. This edition includes a new foreword by Jamika D. Burge and features two new chapters: one about analysis and synthesis and sharing research results, and another about ensuring that your user research efforts will have an impact on your organization. There are seven new short essays (we call them sidebars) from guest contributors. Plus, you’ll find updated examples, stories, and tips for leading interviews, and new sections about bias, remote research, ResearchOps, planning research, and research logistics. You’ll move from simply gathering data to uncovering powerful insights about people.


  1. Interviewing Addresses a Business Need
  2. Research Logistics
  3. Contextual Methods—More Than Just Asking Questions
  4. The Successful Fieldwork Experience
  5. Best Practices for Interviewing
  6. The Intricacies of Asking Questions
  7. Better Interviews
  8. Documenting the Interview
  9. Making Sense of Your Data
  10. Making an Impact with Your Research



Praise for the Book

“Clear and concise with great examples, this is quite simply the best book on when, why, and how you should conduct user interview studies. Whether you’re new to interviewing or have had years of experience, there’s a wealth of information here for you.”

Elizabeth F. Churchill, PhD, Senior Director, Google

“Steve Portigal is one of my go-to veterans for field research, interviewing users, thoughtful insights, and teaching/coaching others to do this effectively. If you need to interview users, you need this book.”

Rich Mironov, CEO and smokejumper product executive

“Steve Portigal wrote the book on interviewing users, and then he made it even better. What more do you need to know?”

Brendan Jarvis, Facilitator of Human Insights, The Space InBetween

“A complete guide to interviewing that teaches you a considerate, humane, actionable approach to learning from users.”

Aras Bilgen, UX consultant

“As a research leader who has been out of the field for too long, Interviewing Users reminded me of what I once knew, taught me some new approaches, and fired me up to get back out there and do this work of learning about humans with renewed confidence and reverence.”

Robin Beers, PhD, Ubuntu Culture Company

Interviewing Users is a straightforward guide to the practice of UX research. Steve also invites the reader into the community of practice of UX research by bringing in writings from other practitioners from across the globe.”

Sam Ladner, PhD, author of Practical Ethnography and Mixed Methods

Interviewing Users is a goldmine of knowledge for anyone who wants to effectively conduct user interviews. It’s well-written, engaging, and full of practical advice.”

Tomer Sharon, author of Validating Product Ideas and It’s Our Research