Method Overview

Expert Interview

The specialist perspective: Birds-eye view laying out the industry, potential competitors and common user challenges for you to further explore in user interviews or field observation.

Image by Storyset from Freepik

Exploratory – Explanatory Phase
Suggested Time

30min-1hr per interview (plus time for preparation), at least 3 interviews per question​

Level of UX Expertise

Low to medium


Interview guideline or script, note taking and/or recording tools, data analysis tools​


Interviewer, interviewer and notetaker ​

Nice to have
This method can be applied to all types of innovations.


Expert interviews are one-on-one questioning sessions with a few selected domain experts about a topic of interest to the user research.​

How much time

Although the interview itself is one hour maximum, you should count with some days for developing the interview guide and organizing the results.​


Usually, the expert interview requires some more intimate space than the User Interview, so you would not take a whole team. As the interviewer you probably also assume notetaking.​


In contrast to User Interviews, expert interviews can give you a birds-eye perspective on the industry, existing services or common user challenges. They are an intense source of knowledge for your design process.​


You use expert interviews when you work on complex problems and need context knowledge. The interview should take place as early as possible in your research phase (discovery phase/ exploratory research) or to summarize and confirm research results.​

Why it’s useful

Important tool to gather context knowledge and an overview on questions to deepen in user interviews​
Quick and easy way to gather user data​

Potential challenges

Beware of biases in your data: human memory and issues of class, gender or other social structures are determining the accuracy and scope of the information you can collect​

Is this for you?

Get step-by-step guidance, expert tips and best practice examples for planning and conducting insightful Expert Interviews.

Emmanuel Zapata - Digital Agriculture and HCD, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

“We're conducting interviews with farmers, technicians, and government officials in Guatemala and Honduras to identify agroclimatic information needs for agricultural decision-making. Through this process, we'll create user personas and determine the best information channels for each group.”
Image by Emmanuel Zapata
Stories From The Field

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