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7 ways to use AI to improve user interviews in 2023
Balancing artificial intelligence (AI) technology with the human touch during user interviews is more than just a best practice; it's essential for capturing qualitative and quantitative insights that help you develop successful products and continuously delight users.
In an era increasingly shaped by data automation and machine learning, however, product teams face a complex challenge: how do you maintain the integrity of the interview experience, while also harnessing the depth and efficiency of AI?
Last updated29 Sep 2023
Reading time7 min
In this article, we evaluate seven ways to effectively incorporate AI into your user interview strategy—without losing the human element. We also cover how AI
Enhances understanding and connection during interviews
Improves interview inclusivity and accessibility
Streamlines administrative interviewing tasks
Take your user interviews to the next level with Hotjar
Unlock user insights with cutting-edge AI technology and in-depth qualitative analysis tools.
User interviews are critical opportunities to nurture customer relationships and collect invaluable product and website insights.
Use these seven AI-powered strategies to enhance the interview process even further:
1. Craft targeted interview questions
Asking engaging interview questions demonstrates your genuine interest in understanding your users’ needs and challenges, while also helping you create a trusting environment that encourages them to disclose more information.
However, determining which questions are most relevant to the user can often feel like fumbling in the dark, leading to overlooked pain points or an unfocused interview.
Integrating AI into the interview preparation process transforms this dynamic, generating targeted questions that are most relevant to the individual’s experience and background, rooted in detailed historical user insights, known personas, and behavior patterns.
Tools and strategies for developing interview questions with AI
Personalize questions: use tools like Hotjar AI for Surveys, which builds insightful, targeted questions based on your interview scope, audience, and goals
💡 Pro tip: level up your interview question-building strategy with Hotjar AI.
No matter what your objectives are, Hotjar AI saves you hours of research by carefully crafting personalized interview questions that dig into what your users love—or don’t—about your product or website.
Maybe you’re wondering what would convince a customer in the awareness stage to convert. Or maybe you’re wondering how they perceive a newly implemented feature. Simply tell Hotjar AI what you want to achieve, and then watch the magic happen as it generates a list of tailored questions.
Hotjar AI generates interview questions based on the goal of your user interview
2. Increase interview accessibility
Accessibility in interviews isn't just about ensuring participants can access and engage with the process—it's about making your customers feel valued and understood.
A truly accessible interview acknowledges and accommodates the unique needs of each participant, whether it’s language barriers, visual impairments, or other specific requirements.
AI enhances interview accessibility by offering real-time adaptations and solutions that address individual needs, fostering a more inclusive environment.
Tools and strategies for increasing interview accessibility with AI
Translate the meeting: incorporate tools like Worldly to translate video calls (audio, text, and captions) in real time, in 30+ languages, ensuring customers can comfortably express themselves in their native language
Adopt AI-driven sign language tools: partner with companies like Signapse AI, which has developed real-time synthetic sign language translators for websites and videos
3. Understand customer sentiment
Evaluating and analyzing user sentiment—the thoughts and feelings customers associate with your product or brand—is vital for continuously delighting your current customers, while also attracting new ones.
Tools like Net Promoter Score® (NPS®), customer satisfaction (CSAT), and exit intent surveys provide a solid foundation for understanding your users’ baseline perception, but they miss nuances like sarcasm or the contextual reasoning behind inconsistent responses.
Implementing AI tools with advanced sentiment features—like analyzing verbal patterns or emotional undertones—helps bridge this gap, enabling you to discern not only what users are saying but how they’re saying it.
Tools and strategies for understanding user sentiment with AI
Survey large-scale focus groups: quickly analyze the overall sentiment of up to 1,000 participants within a few minutes with platforms like Remesh
Filters empower product teams and online businesses to narrow down the number of recordings and find the most relevant sessions based on specific criteria. You can then organize these user segments into targeted interview cohorts to dig even deeper into user pain points.
Filter user sessions based on feedback responses to hone in on negative user sentiment
4. Enhance user personas
A user persona is a fictionalized character based on your current (or ideal) customer, which helps uncover the different ways real users search for, buy, and use your product or services.
As customer preferences, behaviors, and pain points shift, however, there’s a risk of these personas becoming outdated, leading to misguided interview strategies and missed business opportunities.
AI helps shape and inform user persona development by quickly processing vast amounts of up-to-date user data, so you can capture a more timely picture of your customers, ensuring your product is reflective of the current user landscape.
Tools and strategies for improving user personas with AI
Harness data aggregation: use tools like Databox or Salesforce to consolidate and process multi-source user behavior data—CRM, web, social media analytics—to keep personas continuously informed by the latest insights
Expand behavioral segmentation: deploy machine learning algorithms like k-means or hierarchical clustering to identify new audience segments based on online behavior, purchase history, or content preferences
5. Optimize interview documentation
Documenting user interviews is essential for transforming lengthy conversations into shareable, actionable insights. Taking notes in real time, however, detracts from your ability to fully engage in the conversation, and manually reviewing them post-interview is time-consuming and susceptible to errors.
AI improves the interview documentation process by managing administrative-intensive responsibilities—like transcribing, timestamping, note-taking, and highlighting—enabling you to concentrate on the most important task: connecting with the customer.
Tools and strategies for improving interview documentation with AI
Enhance audio quality: filter out background noise with platforms like Krisp, ensuring clearer recordings and accurate transcription
Summarize key takeaways: use AI-based summary tools like AssemblyAI to distill lengthy transcriptions into key learnings
💡 Pro tip: supercharge your user interviews with Hotjar Engage.
Hotjar Engage is your one-stop shop for optimizing your user interview process. With its suite of user-friendly features, you can
✅ Streamline your workflow: manage everything from participant recruitment to interview scheduling and hosting, all within a single platform
✅ Instantly capture conversations: automatically record and transcribe your video interviews, available in 20+ languages, so that no insight is lost
✅ Promote team collaboration: share post-interview recordings with your team to guide product roadmaps and secure stakeholder buy-in
✅ Highlight key learnings: use timestamped notes and clips to hone in on transformative ‘a-ha’ moments
Hotjar Engage lightens the user interview workload by managing everything from recruitment and scheduling to hosting and transcribing
6. Reduce bias
Bias in user research, whether conscious or unconscious, skews results and limits the inclusivity of diverse user groups. For example, an interviewer’s personal beliefs might shape how interviewees are chosen, leading to confirmation bias, where data reflects the interviewer's opinion more than the genuine perspective of the interviewee.
AI helps counteract these tendencies by identifying bias patterns in data collection, paving the way for a more equitable representation of user feedback.
Tools and strategies for reducing interview bias with AI
Detect and monitor implicit biases: integrate bias detection algorithms like Fairness Indicators or IBM's AI Fairness 360 to continuously assess machine learning data for potential biases or skewed feedback
7. Improve the post-interview follow-up process
Following up after an interview strengthens your relationship with users, making them feel acknowledged for their contributions and time. Crafting timely and thoughtful follow-up responses can be challenging, however, especially when managing large interview cohorts.
AI tools streamline this process by enabling you to personalize your post-interview communication with precision and relevance, ensuring users feel valued and understood—and not just like another data point.
Tools and strategies for improving post-interview communication with AI
Customize your messaging: use AI writing tools like Phrasee or Jasper to craft personalized emails that highlight key takeaways from the interview and demonstrate a genuine understanding of your customer’s feedback
Automate follow-up scheduling: implement AI-driven scheduling tools like Motion or Clara to seamlessly coordinate future interviews based on user availability, ensuring a continuous and smooth customer journey
Leverage AI to inform—but not replace—the human element of user conversations
Strategically incorporating AI into your user interviews doesn't just streamline the process—it enhances it, enabling you to have more targeted, relevant, and insightful conversations.
By adopting a balanced approach that uses AI to inform (but not replace) the human element, you simultaneously improve user satisfaction while unlocking invaluable insights that drive business success.
Use Hotjar to elevate your user interview strategy
Understand what your users actually want with Hotjar’s compelling behavior analytics and AI tools.
FAQs about incorporating AI into user interviews
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