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Kristina Udice
By Kristina Udice |
IN Collaboration IN UX/UI IN UX & Content IN How-Tos |

Collaborating in the UX Process: Stakeholder Interviews

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At PRI, we know that the foundation of any successful User Experience (UX) project lies in understanding the perspectives and requirements of all stakeholders involved. Stakeholder interviews are a critical first step in our UX process, setting the stage for focused, user-centered design and development. 

These interviews help us gather invaluable insights, ensuring that our client projects align with both business objectives and user needs.

What Are Stakeholder Interviews & Why Do Them?

Stakeholder interviews are structured conversations conducted with individuals who have an interest or influence in a UX project or website redesign. Part of our discovery phase, the stakeholder interviews allow us to uncover their expectations, frustrations, and aspirations, with the end goal of gaining a comprehensive picture of the project's requirements. This foundational step also helps us differentiate between assumptions and actual business needs, reducing risks and increasing the likelihood of project success.

With a series of targeted questions and follow-ups, we can identify pain points, set priorities, gain valuable historical context, build rapport, and increase buy-in. Additionally, by incorporating viewpoints from a variety of stakeholders, we ensure the project addresses business objectives while enhancing the user experience.

Understanding Stakeholder Interviews & Their Place in the UX Process

Identifying Key Stakeholders 

Identifying the right stakeholders to interview is crucial. At PRI, we prefer to interview a mixture of stakeholders including the project point(s) of contact, brand experts, employees whose work processes are significantly reliant on the site, as well as user- or customer-facing employees. 

The project contacts generally will have the most information about the business needs that led to a site redesign, while brand experts will often have the most historical knowledge. Meanwhile, employees most impacted by the redesign often have the most granular insights, while user-facing employees will have the strongest connection to user needs.  (Speaking of users, they are an integral part of our Discovery process. Keep an eye out for part two on user interviews!)

Though not exhaustive, these broad categories of stakeholders provide us with scheduling flexibility while ensuring the project both addresses business needs and enhances user experience.

Preparing for the Interviews

Preparation is key to conducting effective stakeholder interviews. At PRI, we craft a structured interview guide for each stakeholder with open-ended questions tailored to the project. This helps in extracting specific and detailed information. Additionally, we strive to uncover hidden challenges that stakeholders might not immediately articulate.

Example questions might include: "What does success look like for you with this redesign?" or "Can you describe any current frustrations with your website?"

These questions not only provide us with essential information about the website as a whole but give us insight into how the website makes users feel, further guiding our eventual strategy.

Conducting the Interviews

Effective stakeholder interviews require a combination of good practices and the right tools. 

Communication techniques such as active listening, empathetic questioning, and maintaining an open dialogue are essential. While having an interview guide is important, staying flexible during the conversation is equally crucial, allowing for unexpected and valuable insights to emerge. 

Additionally, when possible, we like to have two team members present for the interview. This allows one to lead while the other can pull out notes and follow-up questions. Just as it is extraordinarily helpful to have multiple stakeholder perspectives, it can be helpful to have multiple team perspectives when identifying takeaways, success metrics, and ideas for project strategy.

Beyond our written interview guide, we employ tools like FigJam or Miro boards to facilitate visual collaboration and documentation.

Analyzing Interview Data

The real strategy work begins after the interviews are conducted and it is time to process and synthesize all of the data that has been collected. We often start with affinity mapping, a technique that allows us to group related ideas and themes to identify patterns. 

Acting as investigators, we delve deep into the feedback to uncover underlying motivations. While there are paid tools available for data analysis, PRI often leverages free resources like Google Sheets and Docs for organizing data and ideas, alongside FigJam for visual mapping.

Using These Insights to Deliver Successful UX Projects

Insights from stakeholder interviews serve as the compass for embarking on UX projects at PRI. We translate interview findings into actionable items such as user personas, journey maps, and feature requirements, and site look and feel. 

Gather Information, Make an Impact

Stakeholder interviews at PRI are more than just conversations; they are the bedrock of our UX projects and digital services. By thoroughly preparing, executing, and analyzing these stakeholder interviews, we establish a solid foundation for successful UX design and development. 

Looking for a team ready and able to uncover the secrets to a successful redesign with the skills to bring it to life? Reach out to us today, and stay tuned for the next part in our series where we delve into user interviews.

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