This is my first project in Interaction design. I'm planning to design a portal for on-line florist. If I'm planning for a face to face interview with florists, What kind of information should I gather from them??.
closed as not a real question by JonW♦ Sep 26 '12 at 8:44
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You have the two sides of the equation: the portal and the users. Both areto be understood.
From the portal side, there are the business goals, whether its a for-profit portal or not.
From the user's side, you have to find out what are their goals against the site.
Also, you might be able to sort the users according to their behaviour pertaining the scenarios or UCs.
I'm cramming a lot into an already rather long text. All this is explained in Alan Cooper's About Face book, among others.
Don´t ask the users what to do, in the sense of how to do it. They will give you answers they are not entitled to provide, because they are not UX men. You are.
There is a design step between when you find out what the users want (the goals thing) and the production of the Use Cases or whatever docs you create in order to document interaction.
I don't really understand if the portal is for florists or from florists (eg. send-flower-online), perhaps that's because I'm not a native English speaker, I'm sorry.
Most of what Juan says stands, it's only that in case it's about ordinary people (not florists) buying flowers, your users are those people mainly and not the florists.
(The florists are so-called secondary users in case they're to upload content to the site, they provide services to the primary users)
Usually I ask people to tell stories. Usually the questions are like this:
When I understand enough of the goals and tasks in general, I usually start to draw the stories as mockups and flows, there, in front of the interviewed user (or at least try to re-tell the stories in my own words). "So, you said, you want to do this..., right? for that you need...." "and then you want to do that?" "okay, and then what happens?" "what else could happen?"
These are not necessarily the final flows (that comes after all of the interviews anyway, and after balancing alternatives), it's just to help people's imagination. I sometimes even do comic sketches, although I'm pretty far from an artist.
I usually say it's like creating a "facial composite" (their name in my language is much more to the point here: we call them "phantom pictures") of an imagined system. I try to be sparse of the details, but still it helps users foster their imagination.
So, I guess storytelling, and helping imagination with trying to do visual storytelling is a good technique.