Interviews can be a great way to empathize with your users because interviews can give you an in-depth understanding of the users’ values, perceptions, and experiences. They allow you to ask specific questions, while remaining open to exploring your participants’ points of view. They are also often combined with other user research methods, such as usability tests or surveys, so as to gain deeper insights into objective results by asking a user about them and to elicit the user’s subjective opinion on products or interactions.
We are aware of interviews from many different contexts, from magazines to job interviews, but the term ‘user interviews’ often refers to semi-structured qualitative interviews, which is a research method with roots in the social sciences. As the word implies, semi-structured interviews are somewhat structured in that you prepare a set of topics you would like to cover during the interview, but still open enough that you can follow leads in the conversation and change the order of topics.