Drutopia interview guide user research questions

[These have been on a pad for a year; did a couple interviews based on them, would love to do more]

Acknowledging that no one knows better what they need to solve a problem, than the user experiencing the problem, is what human-centered design stands for. —Majo Juárez‏ @Majojuarez https://twitter.com/Majojuarez/status/1063136377464897536

How to conduct interviews - https://www.slideshare.net/johannakollmann/how-to-get-more-than-opinions-interview-techniques-and-advice

Overall design research goals: * Describe the goals of potential Drutopia members * Describe the approaches and tools used by potential Drutopia members to meet their goals * Evaluate how Drutopia fits with the goals and needs of potential Drutopia members

Hope to find out

Types of grassroots orgs

Need to observe


All questions below are optional; to be used as prompts to try to reach the goals above. As needed, follow up questions with “Tell me more about that” or “Why?” or “Why not?”



(Smile) My name is / my role is . Thank you very much for making yourself available.

This information will be recorded for analysis by the Drutopia leadership team. We intend to use what we learn to build a platform. We may publish our learnings.

May i record this conversation?

Demographic info

Make brief but relevant small talk.



What specific goals are you trying to accomplish by building platform? / What is your goal?

How did you get the idea?

Have you ever tried to build a platform in the past? Ever thought about how it will work in detail?


How do you plan to reach your goal (what is your theory of change)?


Does your organization collaborate with other organizations?

How does your organization collaborate with other organizations?

Is there someone on the team to lead this project and go forward to maintain it? If not - would you hire someone or do you have a plan.


Who is it important that your organization reach for you to achieve your goals?

Are volunteers important to your organization meeting its goals?


What is the hardest part of your day?

Tell me about a situation at work where you had to deal with something unexpected.

What’s the biggest barrier to engaging your supporters?


Walk me through a typical day in your current role. Walk me through the last time you posted to your website and/or social media.


What are the internal groups you work with? How do you communicate with each group?

Tell me about a misunderstanding you had with a coworker.

Who are the most important people you communicate with?


What role does technology play in helping you accomplish these goals? What role does technology play in hindering you from accomplishing your goals?



That’s it for my questions. Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?

Thank you again for your time.

Next steps


Is anything taking you or others in your organization more time than you think it should?

What is your organizations web site budget?  CRM budget?  Overall 'tech' budget?

Talk about the last time you ran a campaign with an online component.  What went wrong?  What went right?

How does your marketing business work now?

How do you find clients?

How do clients find you?

How do you find collaborators?

How do collaborators find you?

How do you stay in touch with clients?

How do you use calendars, e-mail, project management software or other tools to collaborate?

Have you ever missed a deadline or project goal because of miscommunication?

How would you like your marketing business to work with this cooperative?

What tech tools have you used in other settings?   What have you dropped?

If your web site could have a superpower, what would it be?

Imagine that all of your organization's currently unmet tech needs are all met.  What does that look like?

How do you maintain continuity of operations and institutional knowledge when staff or volunteers change?

Lastly, can you think of anyone else you know who might be a good person for me to talk to?

For the most structured approach Drutopia has yet taken including some results: https://gitlab.com/drutopia/documentation/blob/master/research.md (click edit to get less-messed-up formatting)

categorize responses based on how Drutopia has to follow up

Specific interviews prep/notes (not linked publicly)


* Erika Hall's Just Enough Research
* #MoreThanCode Tech for Social Justice Interview Guide, https://t4sj.co/uploads/interview-guide-II.pdf
* https://mfishbein.com/the-ultimate-list-of-customer-development-questions/
* http://docs.drutopia.org/en/latest/research.html#interview

On Drutopia helping run a survey/interview process like this: https://gitlab.com/drutopia-platform/general/outreach/issues/4

For Drutopia’s member development interview script, see: https://gitlab.com/drutopia-platform/general/outreach/wikis/potential-member-call-script

Validate (find out if) people care about libre software:

Do you know what Free/libre software is?

How important is it to you that tools you rely on be libre software?

Validate (find out if) people care about cooperative structure