Finally, we've made it to the last element of your research plan: the script. Keep in mind that the script is sometimes also referred to as the discussion guide. Interviewing users isn't just chatting with people; it's about getting to the core of what a user is trying to do, how they think and feel, and what their problems are. Your interview questions should be well thought out, consistent between the participants, and purposeful to get the data you need for useful insights. Even though it might feel a little robotic to read from a script during a usability study, there are a couple of good reasons to do it. Two of the main reasons we use scripts is so we don't forget any instructions and so we keep language consistent for each participant. Have you ever gone to the doctor's intending to ask a bunch of questions, only to realize when you get home that you forgot to ask the most important one? Me too. It's frustrating in our personal lives, but it can create errors in a usability study. Prepare ahead of time to avoid having to redo the study. With this in mind, here are some tips for writing interview questions. First and foremost, use the same set of questions for each interview. Usually, usability studies focus on one person at a time, and you want your conversations with each person to be about the same product features. For your user interviews to be consistent, you need to use the same base set of questions every time. Don't improvise or ask random questions to different participants. Second, ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions like, "How did you feel about...?" and "What bothered you about...?" are key to finding out what people are trying to do and what their problems are. Avoid yes or no questions, because they can shut down detailed answers. Third, encourage elaboration. Sometimes in an interview, users answer a question briefly. For example, "I didn't like that search page." If the user stopped there, you wouldn't know what part of the search page they didn't like or why they didn't like it. A good interviewer will then say, "Tell me more about that" to encourage elaboration. This is when you get the best information from your participant. Fourth, ask the same question from different angles. Interviewees often need a little time to get comfortable and used to the interview format. It may take a while before you get to the core of what they really think. With that in mind, consider asking the same general question from multiple angles over the course of the interview. For example, you might ask, "How often do you walk your dog?" at the start of the interview, then, "How many times a week does your dog need a walk?" in the middle of the interview. You'll probably get more detailed useful data this way. Next, don't mention other users. Mentioning other users sets up possible privacy violations, and discussing how other users felt about the product being tested could bias the answers from your current participant. Finally, don't ask leading questions. Leading questions are questions designed to elicit a specific response. If you're a fan of courtroom dramas, you may have heard this sentence coming out of a lawyer's mouth, "Objection, leading the witness." You may not actively be trying to trick a study participant into giving a certain answer, but if you provide a possible response like, "Was it easy to find the checkout cart?" You're leading the person answering the question toward an answer. That will provide bad data. How do you actually write a script for a usability study in the real world? There are a few different parts of a script, which we'll go through in order. To get started, welcome participants to the study and thank them for their time. All usability studies should be recorded, so that your team can rewatch them later. You need to let the participant know that you will record the study and you need to ask the participant for consent to record. Then, learn the participant's basic information like name, age, and occupation. It's most common to do this by asking simple questions like, "What is your name?" In addition, it's important to remind participants before the study begins that they are not being tested. The goal is to provide honest feedback about the prototype or product they are testing. There are no right or wrong answers. And before you jump into the study itself, give participants the opportunity to ask questions. Now that you have the introduction out of the way, you're ready to provide usability tasks. These are the assignments given to participants that allow you to observe what they do. One way to make them sound less intimidating to participants is to call them activities during the usability study. How do you come up with the tasks? Usability tasks should be based on the research goals written in your research plan. Tasks should also be specific, make participants take action, and avoid providing any clues on how to complete the task. Let's try to write a task together for the study we're conducting on the dog walking app. Our research goal was to determine if the app we designed is easy or difficult to use. Based on this goal, one task we could ask participants to do is book a dog walker on Friday at 2:00 p.m. Lastly, after the participant completes the usability tasks, you're ready to wrap things up. Ask any clarifying questions you might End the video recording, and then thank them for participating. That's it. You now know the seven elements of a UX research plan: the project background, research goals, research questions, key performance indicators, methodology, participants, and script. You're ready to create your own plan. And you've completed the first of the four steps in a UX research study: plan the study. Congratulations. Next, we'll discuss respecting privacy and user data when conducting research. These are important considerations to keep in mind, as you develop your plan and conduct the study. See you then.