Open user interviews


This is an interview with a user which is done in an open and transparent manner, where the user can see what you are writing down.

Also known as

  • Cheerful chats (Service Design Academy)

The tool

Maybe Cheerful chats gives a warm, cuddly, informal feeling, but open user interview gives more of a sense of what you are doing. It is possible asking someone if you can interview them rather than asking if you can have a ‘cheerful chat’, it may help to set a more serious tone for what you want to achieve.

It is open in the sense of transparency, comfort, and honesty. Any notes that are taken are recorded in front of the interviewee, so they can see what you are writing down.

Types of questions to use

Use open-ended questions. These are questions that are broad enough to enable the interviewee to answer them in a range of ways. This type of questioning strategy can be used in conjunction with the Five Ws and H.

Note, because this type of interview is usually carried out on a 1:1 basis, be aware of issues around ethics and the need to obtain informed consent.

Why use it

When to use it

How to use it



Similar to

Use in conjunction with

Complemented by


Additional information