The Complete Guide to Crafting Effective Usability Interview Questions

Asking the right questions in usability testing is vital. This chapter gives you examples of questions you can ask during, before, and after a usability test, as well as tips on how to get the best results.

With a usability test, you can get information in two ways: by watching people do pre-defined tasks and by asking them usability testing questions.

Questions are a great way to get feedback on specific parts of your design and trouble spots. The former is what your usability test is based on. When you do user testing, there are usually one or two things about a test prototype that you as a designer really want to make sure are correct. Users may think about and give feedback on certain parts of the user experience when they are asked questions.

And outside the test itself, usability survey questions allow you to know the person behind the user. What kind of person they are, how tech-savvy they are, and what they think about your product in general are all useful details that give your results more context and depth.

This is the type of research question you should ask during usability testing if you can’t wait to get to them:

Conducting usability interviews is a crucial step in the user research process. Asking the right questions in the right way unlocks key insights into your users’ needs, pain points, and desires.

But coming up with an effective interview script is both an art and a science. You need to carefully craft each question to gather actionable data while keeping your test participants engaged.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know to develop a rock-solid set of usability interview questions.

What Are Usability Interviews?

Usability interviews involve one-on-one conversations between a researcher and a test participant. The goal is to understand the user’s thoughts feelings, and opinions about a product.

Unlike focus groups, usability interviews spotlight the individual. And unlike surveys, they allow for follow-up questions and discussions.

During a usability interview, the researcher asks open-ended questions and observes how the participant interacts with the product.

Key areas explored include:

  • User journeys – How does the user navigate the product? Where do they struggle?

  • Language – Is the terminology clear? Does it match the user’s mental model?

  • Design – How do visuals, layout, and UX patterns affect the user experience?

  • Feature prioritization – Which functionality does the user find most useful? Which is frustrating or unnecessary?

  • Subjective feedback – How does the product make the user feel? What excites or delights them?

With this qualitative data, product teams can iteratively refine the product until it intuitively fits the user’s needs.

Creating an Interview Script: 10 Key Tips

Developing an effective interview script takes time and iteration. You’ll likely go through several rounds of piloting and refining your questions.

Here are 10 tips to craft questions that unlock deep user insights:

1. Start by defining your research goals

First, get very clear on what you want to learn. Your interview questions should directly address your research objectives.

Common goals include:

  • Evaluating new features or flows
  • Understanding pain points in the user journey
  • Exploring perceptions of the brand
  • Discovering needs for future products

2. Use a framework like SCOPE

The SCOPE framework helps develop a complete interview script covering all research objectives. It stands for:

  • Schedule – Background questions about the user
  • Context – Questions about the user’s environment
  • Objectives – Questions tied to research goals
  • Process – Questions about how the user interacts with the product
  • Evaluation – Questions about the user’s perceptions

3. Ask mostly open-ended questions

Closed-ended questions with simple yes/no answers won’t provide rich qualitative data.

Instead, use phrases like “Tell me about…” or “Walk me through…” to allow for expansive responses.

4. Avoid leading questions

Leading questions influence the user’s response in a particular direction. For example:

“The app is really intuitive, right?”

Instead, ask neutral questions:

“What was your experience with the app’s user interface?”

5. Watch the question length

Long multi-part questions can confuse participants. Keep your questions concise and focused on a single topic.

6. Use language the user understands

Avoid technical jargon and industry buzzwords unless you’re certain your users will understand them.

7. Prioritize key questions

Determine which questions are critical for your research goals. Make sure you have time to ask these, even if you have to skip over others.

8. Use follow-up questions

Prepare follow-up questions to ask if you need the user to expand or clarify their response.

9. Test out your questions in advance

Pilot your interview guide with a colleague or friend. Refine any unclear or ineffective questions.

10. Customize for each participant

Review background info on the user and customize questions to their experience level. You can use branching logic, with additional questions for more advanced users.

Formulating Questions for Each Stage of the Interview

Usability interviews generally have three stages, each with a different question focus:

  • Build rapport with simple icebreaker questions
  • Confirm user background
  • Set expectations for the session

Core section

  • Ask about processes, pain points, and perceptions related to research goals
  • Focus on open-ended questions
  • Use follow-up questions to dig deeper into insights


  • Inquire about overall experience and impressions
  • Provide opportunity for other feedback
  • Thank user and clarify next steps

15 Example Usability Interview Questions

Here are some sample questions for inspiration:


  • How was your experience signing up for this session? Any issues?
  • Tell me a little about your background and experience with [product type/category].

User Journey

  • Walk me through how you would [complete a key task].
  • Tell me about a time when you felt really frustrated while using [product]. What happened?


  • As you were going through the tasks, what terms or phrases did you find confusing? Why?
  • How would you describe [key feature] to a friend?


  • What did you think about the visual design and layout?
  • If you could change one thing to improve your experience, what would it be?

Feature Evaluation

  • Which features did you find most useful? Why?
  • On a scale of 1-5, how important is [feature X] to your workflow?


  • How likely are you to recommend [product] to a colleague?
  • Do you have any other feedback about your overall experience today?

Making the Most of Usability Interviews

Crafting the perfect interview script takes work, but pays huge dividends in unlocking user insights. Here are some key tips to maximize their value:

  • Take detailed notes – Capture everything from key quotes to body language and emotions.

  • Record sessions – Review recordings to catch any missed details.

  • Leave time between interviews – Give yourself time to review each one and refine your script.

  • Analyze results – Identify trends across interviews and translate insights into recommendations.

  • Share findings – Present top-line takeaways to stakeholders and the broader team.

Usability interviews provide a wealth of qualitative data to guide your product in the right direction. By mastering the art of asking the right questions, you’ll unlock a direct line to your users’ needs and perspectives.

So take the time to craft an interview script that dives deep into their world. The insights you’ll gain are guaranteed to pay dividends for the product experience and customer satisfaction.

Questions to ask after the usability test

When the participant has finished, it’s a good idea to ask them more general questions about the whole thing. Since you already asked about specific design details as they came up, these questions can be more general, and the user may even be able to suggest ways to make the design better.

Here’s a few examples:

  • What did you think of the app/website overall?
  • What did you like the most/least about this product? Why?
  • How would you describe your experience with this product?
  • In real life, would you use that kind of product to do [X]?
  • What about this product would make you want to use it more?

Depending on the type of testing you’re doing, you may also want to do a more formal UX survey after the test. A standard format with rating scale questions is a good way to get quantitative information on how usable your designs are overall. This is especially important when you’re doing the final testing stage.

Standard scoring systems in the industry, such as the System Usability Scale (SUS), make things easy because you can use a survey template that has already been made. Using the SUS to base a post-test survey on lets you compare scores with other similar products or even earlier versions of your own design. This is because the SUS is used to rate the usability of many products.

Finally, after thanking the user for taking part, give them a chance to say anything else they might want to say. You never know—they might say something that sparks an idea for the next big feature.

Ask effective usability questions with Maze

Maze is a platform for remote user research that lets you test your prototypes, run surveys, and make sure your design ideas are good.

usability interview questions

All this is vital for getting the most out of each testing session. Since finding participants is always a challenge, every test counts.

To get the information you need, ask good questions, even if you can’t test as early and often as you’d like to. We’ll talk about what to ask, when to ask it, and most importantly, how to ask questions for usability testing that will give you correct answers.

Let’s start with pre-test questions.

Usability Specialist interview questions


What is the rule of 5 usability?

The logic behind their ‘5-user’ suggestion is that as you test more and more people, you uncover fewer new insights at a higher cost. After testing up to 5 people, the same usability issues would continue to be mentioned by additional participants with very little significant change.

What questions should you ask in a usability test interview?

Usability test interview questions might focus on testing features, types of data or other parts of the process. Here are nine questions about usability testing that you might get in a software development or UX interview, with example answers to help you prepare your own: 1.

Do you know how to write usability testing questions?

Usability testing is a great way to understand how real users interact with your product or service and get real user feedback. But you only get accurate and actionable insights from usability tests if you ask the right questions. Learning how to write usability testing questions is both an art and a science.

What are usability questions & why do you need them?

Like with all research and testing, usability questions help you understand the what, why, and how of your product—and its user. Some of the ways usability questions can help are: Maze is a remote user research platform that enables you to run surveys, validate design ideas, and test your prototypes.

How do you gather information on a usability test?

There are two ways to gather info with a usability test: observing participants completing pre-defined tasks, and asking participants usability testing questions. While the former serves as the core of your usability test, questions are a great way to get feedback on specific elements and pain points of your design.

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