Chapter 10 Language: Did They Just Say That

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Language: Did They Just Say That?

In this chapter, I’ll give you recommendations on how to record and analyze interviews, paying special attention to the words people utter, their sentence construction, and what this tells us about their level of sophistication in a subject area.

Remember, when it comes to language (Figure 10-1), we’re considering these questions:

  • What are the words your customers use the most?
  • What meaning are they associating with those words?
  • How sophisticated are the words they are using? What level of expertise in the subject matter does that imply?
  • Are they using the same lexicon that we (as the internal product designers) use? Are we using any jargon that they might find difficult to understand?

Figure 10-1

Language and language processing

Recording Interviews

As I’ve mentioned, when conducting contextual inquiries, I recommend recording interviews. This does not have to be fancy. Sure, wireless mics can come in handy, but in truth, a two hundred dollar camcorder can actually give you quite decent audio. It’s compact and unobtrusive, making it a great way to record interviews, both audio and video. Try to keep your setup as simple as possible so it’s as unobtrusive to the participant as possible and minimally affects their performance. With a little creativity, you can play back the video ...

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