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When conducting user interviews for a existing website redesign, do you ask them questions regarding their pain points of using the current site or do ask questions regarding the sector itself? So for example, if the site was a charity, would you focus on the difficulties of using the site and donating using their system or would you focus on the thoughts and feelings of donating on a charity website generally? Or would you approach the interview using both specific and general questions? Thanks.

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This largely depends on the aims of your user interview. Also what are the aims or scope of your website redesign. is it an aesthetic facelift or you aim to fix UX issues too?

If you want to find and fix UX issues you could gear towards user testing. and give them a task to complete on your major flows and observe how they complete it or struggle.

You could ask questions regarding the sector as well. maybe also ask what other websites do they use.

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User interviews are a great way of research, you can use them on multiple occasions in a design process.

When can you use them

  • Gather information before you have a design / use them to make artifacts.
  • Use them to fill gaps in other artifacts like persona's.
  • At the end of a user test to have a verbal response related to observations.

In your case, I would use them to collect information / data regarding the sector itself. You can use this information for your future reference / artifacts. For instance: the user test (regarding the tasks the user needs to do), persona's, Storyboards, User Journey mapping. You can even use them to develop more use cases regarding the service.

However if you already have a lot of information of how users behave in a certain sector, you can use the Critical Incident Technique to uncover part of the pain points on the website. The pain points they mention will probably only be a small part of the issues. You can use other methods to uncover more pain points (for instance: user tests )

Example

Say you hold interviews regarding the sector itself. A large part of the users say/hint they find it important how the money they donate is used. You can use this information to make a task during the user test.

After the user test (with a different user) itself you can interview the user again and ask questions regarding pain points you noticed in the user test.

It all depends on what information you are missing.

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    Agreed. The point of research is to start with a 'clean sheet of paper': you want to understand your users, not just tinker with an existing website. The biggest issue with an existing site can be something which doesn't exist on it.
    – PhillipW
    May 27 '20 at 8:44
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This is a redesign job (a customer portal) for a big Australian company which I recently worked on.

My initial interviews were focused on below three things

  1. What the portal does.
  2. How it does it.
  3. What are necessary and redundant things needed to be redesigned.

This will help you get started with overview of the problem/approach the client has on why it needs to be redesigned. Next comes your part. Now you know the process, considering various design principles and laws of UX, you can identify the pain points of the site and correct them and test them with the user. In the process of doing so, you will ask questions to the client on why is it necessary to have elements/components and this will give you clear thoughts on what do to next.

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