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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??.

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We're going to need a lot more information than this. Currently the only answer is "gather the user requirements", but that's a broad answer because your question is so broad. If you can tighten up what it is you are having trouble with, what you have tried so far and why you're having difficulty then we may be able to help you out better. –  JonW Sep 25 '12 at 12:47
    
Closing this question as you've not been able to provide more information as was requested. If you're able to do so then we'll be able to re-open this question for you. –  JonW Sep 26 '12 at 8:44
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closed as not a real question by JonW Sep 26 '12 at 8:44

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

2 Answers

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:

  • if the site was up and running right now, how do you imagine your daily routine would look like?
  • in lieu of the site, how is your daily routine today (regarding to the site's planned functionality)?
  • who gets in contact with the site?
  • what are the primary reasons people get in contact with the site? What's the problem they're facing?
  • how does the offline version of the task on the site (be specific, eg. selling well-chosen flowers) look like?
  • what similar things are on the market today?
  • what apps you use nowadays?

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.

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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.
The portal owners have to state their purpose, like for example "Sell flowers and related products wholesale to florists of the area, and allow the suppliers to do their offerings through us".
This has to be explicitly stated, and it's important that all the stakeholders agree.
If it wasn't a new site then this would be already done and taken for granted.
This is the product offering.

From the user's side, you have to find out what are their goals against the site.
But, you can't reach a florist and ask her "Hey, what are your goals against the site?" for many reasons. One is that the portal does not exist yet, other is that people can't tell such things that easy.
To overcome both issues you are better off with "antropologic interviews", a kind of interview that excludes a script and a questionaire. The interviewed subject talks freely, you only provide guidance so the subject remains within your area of interest instead of derailing.
Ideally the subjects would communicate experiences they had in the past or are experiencing now: their goals and frustrations in each case.
Those goals and frustrations are what you need.
After a (rather small) number of interviews you will start to find patterns like goals and frustrations that repeat over and over.
BTW; these are scenarios.
With sets of like scenarios you can build use cases, a UC encompasses all the scenarios of a class.
The UC is the proposed solution for the user's journey expressed in the scenarios set.

Also, you might be able to sort the users according to their behaviour pertaining the scenarios or UCs.
If you find behavioural patterns then you are identifying personas.
The personas are synthetic users to be used in the furure to validate the designs against them.
Choose a primary persona and design for this kind of user, validate your design against the other personas.
In the example mentioned above, you might have personas representing florists, and suppliers. The primary one will be, by sure, a florist, but you might have noticed differences between big and small florists, or city and countryside florists, etc.

I'm cramming a lot into an already rather long text. All this is explained in Alan Cooper's About Face book, among others.
You should also become quite acquainted with the personas thing.
Call me for further help, and good luck!

More recommendations:

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.
What you want to learn is what would they like to do, not how.
This is so even if the interviewed subject was Albert Einstein, or Sheldon Cooper whatsoever.

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.

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