How to manage user interviews in real time with a virtual whiteboard

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Historically, many companies staunchly believed that user interviews needed to be completed in person. But that changed when COVID-19 hit and product team members, like Julia Fabiszewski, a product owner in commercial fleet financing, had to figure out how to interview users remotely for the first time. To smooth the transition, Julia and her team took to Freehand, InVision’s virtual whiteboard, to organize her notes and identify themes among interviewees. In the past year, her team went from never having conducted a remote interview to completing 50.

In a one-hour talk with InVision, Julia shared the ways Freehand brings people together for creative, inclusive collaboration—from remote retrospectives to day-to-day product management. She also detailed her three best practices for interviewing users remotely. Here, how to manage real-time user interviews using a virtual whiteboard:

Limit the number of people on a call and define the roles

For virtual interviews, Julia found it best to have one lead interviewer asking questions and two additional people taking real-time notes on the Freehand board. That way, the interviewee won’t be overwhelmed by multiple people on a call.

The notetakers can generate follow-up questions for any interview gaps, and one can take over if the lead interviewer experiences any technical malfunctions, Julia explains.

Organize your whiteboard

For user interviews, Julia organizes the whiteboard so each interviewee has their own section, with their name and title on top. Notetakers can use the sticky note function and pin their notes to the user’s profile.

Conduct a post-interview meeting with your team

After the user interview (and no later than the next morning), Julia’s team has a follow-up call to discuss important points that arose during the user interview. In the virtual whiteboard, they can color code notes and identify recurring themes across user interviews. These could be themes like “wanting to apply online” or “wanting to access their account on mobile devices.” Her team also relies on Freehand’s “version control” to review previous whiteboard versions if they want to revisit an idea.

To learn more about how Julia and her fellow product teammates transitioned to a remote environment, watch the full webinar here.

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