I'm aware that I can't mention specific software brands or platforms, or even discuss software bugs, so I'm going to try to frame my question from a methodological perspective.

I used a well-known platform, owned by a popular search engine, to conduct online user interviews. Everything ran smoothly until I needed to transcribe the data to generate insights and identify problems.

Indeed, when I exported the file to a spreadsheet, I ended up with a document that was tough to read. I also attempted a PDF export, but it proved a real headache to copy-paste text into a table and redo everything. I also considered importing the data to another well-known note-taking, database, and Kanban board application, but that solution failed.

So, I'm interested in understanding how you go about planning your interviews in advance to avoid such inconveniences that are currently causing me significant time losses. Do you compose your questions in a text file or a spreadsheet before? And once you've received responses, how do you retrieve the user data? What best practices have you established to prevent such situations that I'm currently facing?

To put it simply, how do you anticipate and prevent potential technical issues or recurrent bugs when working across various platforms and software?

Thank you for your assistance.

1 Answer 1


You have discovered the reason musicians do soundchecks :)

In the context of software procurement this means that you should try your workflows in the software(s) in question in a setting that is close enough to what you'll actually be doing that you can find flaws in the process you're thinking to implement.

As for user interviews, I found that one of the most helpful things is to have someone write down notes during the thing. There are few things as soulcrushing as rewatching an interview, or reading through a transcript of one. Taking notes during the interview just frees you up to work off your notes going forward, rather than having to go through the recordings over and over. This typically means that you'll conduct your interviews with 3 people, ie the user, the interviewer and the note-taker.

As for preparing questions and putting the answers in a spreadsheet immediately - that depends on what kind of research you're conducting. Sometimes it's helpful, sometimes a more free-flowing conversation in which you can observe the user "in their natural habitat" is more helpful.

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