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How to ask the right questions confidently to get the right answer- UX research [Step-by-Step]

How to ask the right questions confidently to get the right answer- UX research [Step-by-Step]

My students as well as my UX/ UI team often ask me this question so what’s the purpose of asking the right questions we struggle we really struggle to ask the right question we don’t know what to ask when we are doing an interview so here in this particular video I am going to give you an exact way an exact pattern or exact process how you can ask the right question to your interviewee and these specific types of questions will reveal a lot about that person as well as it will really aid in your goal setting for your particular app or service or the website that you are going to create even asking the right questions can help you create the right product for your target group so first let us understand why asking the right question or asking the question is essential.

First, the most important thing is why we ask the right question. It helps us understand what people need, and what are their motivations rather than what we think they might be needing. Many times before even asking the questions we are biased that they might be asking for this, they might need this particular thing but in actual case, you will see they might need something else so asking the right question or asking questions is very important to understand what your end customer needs rather than what you think that they might be needing. 

Second, to get rid of all the biases that we have. We have a lot of biases we have cognitive biases like self-serving biases and there are various biases I have covered the biases in a sec separate video altogether sunk cost fallacy bias, primacy bias and there are so many of them. You can go and check my previous video on biases where I have clearly explained what are the different types of biases that cloud our decision-making process so asking the right questions also actually minimizes the bias that we have in our mind.

Third,  a particular part of the why we need to ask the right question or why we need to ask questions.  Many times there are situations or information that we know that we don’t know but asking the right question or asking question helps you understand that you don’t even know that you don’t know a particular thing. It is very strange, right? Sometimes we know that we don’t know particular stuff but sometimes we don’t even know that we don’t need or we don’t know particular stuff questions help you in solving that thing questions helps you in understanding that okay you don’t know that you don’t know this very strange right but it is extremely important also many times we have seen that asking questions actually helps in understanding a pattern of usage of a particular user what are the different types of step-by-step things that this particular user does,  what a particular user does from the morning till the end of the day a pattern your regular work and life asking questions helps us to unravel that it’s very important which all of us know if you ask more and more questions we can generate more and more ideas. So the first point is, we need to understand users need what they need rather than what we think they need.  The second was very important we have to get rid of the biases that we have.  The third one is that the unknown information the thing that we know that we don’t know but also those things that we don’t know, that we don’t know.

The fourth one is basically understanding a pattern of behavior of the user throughout their packets of work that they do throughout the day or throughout the months of the year and also the last one to generate multiple ideas so asking questions is important in that way.

Next comes, why we should ask the right question, and what helps in asking the right question. Number one we should be asking neutral and non-leading questions in the sense there are many times,  for example, say we are creating a wallet for your client where they can store their different types of currencies they have different types of money we sometimes ask the leading question – “Definitely we will be requiring a chain in the wallet right? and you will also be requiring a small pouch to keep your coins?” those are the leading questions you are pushing your mindset, your understanding, your already known answers which are there in your mind to ask the question to your end client questions should be absolutely neutral without leading questions. The second is that questions have to be absolutely pretty precise. Asking precise questions solves a lot of unnecessary burns and is a waste of time money or effort. Sometimes if you ask unnecessary questions and questions which are not precise then you might lead to something else somewhere else where you don’t want to go so basically you have to be precise if you really want the right answer from your client for your end user ask precise question precision is terrific.

Also, ask people about their habits, and about recent events. If you ask people about historical events what they did say, for example, I will give you one small example if you ask them what they did in the morning they might be able to tell you, if you ask them, “what did you have for breakfast today morning” they might give you the right answer but if you ask them what you usually do or what have you eaten three weeks back in the breakfast in the morning they won’t be able to give you the right answer so recency of events is very important don’t ask for historical data from people where they have to go down the memory lane to understand or to actually recollect what they did and it is not humanly possible also okay be very sensitive about personal matters so when you are asking questions to your interviewee or you are asking questions to respondents or you are asking questions to the clients or anybody be very very sensitive about their personal happenings over their personal life I’ve seen many people have lost their jobs because they have asked extremely insensitive question to their colleagues or to their respondents another thing is that you have to be very clear about the detail that you want in your answer okay the question should be also appropriate to get that detail that you have to acquire with experience so as you ask more and more questions your experience will give you that idea of how much to ask to get the appropriate detail of an answer so this one is very important now we always come to know that there are two types of asking questions one is open-ended questions and the other one is close-ended questions so what is open-ended question and what is close ended equation open-ended equations are those where you expect an answer a detailed answer from the respondent from the interview whom you are asking the question on the other hand close-ended questions are those where you expect that they will either answering yes no or maybe so how to frame an open-ended question always remember this trick open-ended equation starts with what, how, when, why,  and close ended question do you know, did you know, have you done and all those things what kind of party do you enjoy? So what kind of party do you enjoy if a user needs to answer this question say for example you are planning an event or planning a party as such you might be asking them what type of party do you enjoy this cannot be answered with a “yes” “no” or maybe it has to be a detailed answer. Another question might be how do you decide what type of party you want to attend? Again the respondent has to give a proper defining answer say for example the same question we can ask what did you have for breakfast today morning they have to give an answer bacon sunny side up or poach whatever or serious you have to give an answer. It cannot be a “no” “yes” or “maybe”. You can also ask like this instead of asking did you like our website or not you can ask what you felt when you first saw our website or what did you feel when you first saw the website. They have to give an answer explanatory answer but if you are asked did you like our site you are actually leading them to say a yes or no that is again close-ended.

Right, so do you like a particular fruit or do you like bananas if you say those things there will be either yes or no so these are close-ended you are stopping the discussion over there. Open-ended discussion always leads to much more discussion even your next question might arrive from the question that you have open-ended question that you have given if you have asked you might ask this question how did you feel when you first see our e-commerce portal again they have to give an answer so you are understanding the dream so when it is how what when why so all these things has to be they have to give a proper answer either numeric or a textual answer but for questions like did you like the thing or did you go to this place did you drop off from an e-commerce site they will give the answer light like yes no or do you want to go to a party they might give you an answer maybe so this the entire discussion stops there so we have to understand when to ask open-ended questions when to ask close-ended questions many a times when you are doing qualitative questioning qualitative um we are looking for qualitative questioning we do open-ended questions when we want more and more information from the end user but when we are looking for quantitative we are much more focused we ask close ended questions where we might go and get some particular one worded or one numeric some percentage of data from the end user.

So that’s all folks. Hope you have liked this particular video and you are extremely clear about why questioning is important why asking the right question is important and how to do open-ended and close-ended questions if you really like this video kind of like share and comment on the video and if you’re new to this channel can you subscribe to the channel and hit the bell icon so that you can get all our upcoming notifications till we meet again with some fantastic and interesting stuff stay tuned stay blessed. God bless. Bye.

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How To Train Your Dragon The Viking Way…err.. The Design Thinking Way.

How To Train Your Dragon The Viking Way…err.. The Design Thinking Way.

First of all, I must admit that I am a movie buff. And though being in the mid-forties, I still enjoy catching up every Avengers series with my kid and also other animated cartoon movies. However, there are a few of them that left a deep mark in my thought process. One of them is undoubtedly this movie “How to Train Your Dragon”. I have at least seen this movie 7-8 times and its sequels.

To be honest, the movie has some very in-depth learning and particularly when you start imbibing Design Thinking in all that you do, the movie starts talking to you. I have watched the movie (as I have earlier mentioned) a number of times and each time it has thrown ample insights to me. 

The story revolves around our hero, a young Viking named Hiccup, who solves a huge problem not only for him but for the entire Viking clan, neither by weapons nor by any deep divine power but purely by methodical and correct approach. As the movie suggests, it’s not the goal but the process, the journey, that is important. A meticulous step-by-step guide to innovating something that is capable of changing the world. 

Let me analyze and take you through the process – The Design Thinking. Conceived by Tim Brown of Ideo in the year 2006, the method initially started as a 3-step process of Understand, Create & Deliver which later evolved as a 5-step process of Empathy, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. It should be understood that Design Thinking is not a miraculous cure. But it can certainly help. It is not a sure shot solution but a journey to a better solution. It is not the design that is important, but it captures the quality of the designers and can motivate and encourage the ecosystem. It is not a Quick fix and it takes time to implement. And yeah, it might not guarantee success but if done in the right intent and correct manner, it can be revolutionary. 

5 steps of design thinking

Allow me to take you through the journey keeping the movie as our central theme. So how was the situation for the Vikings? It was pretty bad. They had a grave problem, fire breathing dragons raiding their homes and destroying them, stealing their sheep. Clueless about what could be a better solution to solve this problem, they embraced strategy based on physical violence. The strategy was to kill the dragons whenever they were seen. The second generations were also brainwashed and forced to see the world through that key hole. This model is entrusted by the Viking chief, Stoic, who had enormous strength and huge build. His motto was very clear “Kill on Sight, Kill on Sight, Kill on Sight”.

Kill on sight, Kill on Sight, Kill on Sight

However, his son Hiccup neither had the build nor had the mental frame. He could at best become a mechanical engineer. He dreamt to become a “maker”. But he was the minority and always mocked at by peers. By a sheer chance he was able to capture the mysterious and most terrifying “Night Fury” dragon with his ballista (a catapult used in ancient warfare for hurling large stones). But he chose to keep it in secrecy.

He knew if he kills it, he will no longer be a minority, he will be a champion. But he chose to take a different path. He chose to free the dragon. The dragon also chose to reciprocate.  

Breaking the dominant model:

Hiccup took pity and chose to free the dragon. 


Next few days he deliberated that there can be another way other than confrontation. He tried to validate or confirm if it was only an instinct. In Design Thinking, it is important to make an equilibrium between what you know and what you see. While it is important to read the subject, it is equally important to go to the field to find new learnings.

Finding a gap between what society believes and what is the reality is a great start and is called insight. Hiccup quickly realized that what he had experienced in the form of an unspoken peace with a dragon, is the proof that the dominant process had major flaws.

By consulting some existing literatures, he realized that the Vikings do not know much about the dragons as they were so obsessed by their violent belief. All they knew is the dragon’s fighting abilities, they knew nothing about their way of life, how they felt.

Thus, started Hiccup’s journey of the first step of Design Thinking, i.e. Empathy.


Empathy corresponds to understanding. As he started visiting the dragon repeatedly, he started shadowing him, following his mannerism, characteristics, what he eats, how he behaves, his anatomy, movement, and making sketches time to time. He had been lucky as “Night Fury” got stuck on the edge of a lake surrounded by cliffs. This allowed him to conduct his research in ideal conditions. The luck factor should not be neglected in a design thinking approach as it sometimes influences the process. 

Hiccup’s approach was user-centric, and not entirely technique. He could have perfected the ballista that allowed him to catch more dragons, but he started studying the dragon and made the effort to understand the needs of the dragon. It was no longer seen as a target to conquer but as a thinking being with needs, constraints, and desires. 

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Design Thinking is a guide, it is not absolute and should not be followed blindly. However, it offers a set of recognized and articulated practices that will allow you to progress without losing sight of reality.


  1. The core idea of this article is influenced by a similar article by Maxim Nialiv of Stormz.
  2. Change by Design by Tim Brown, Ideo
  3. Design Thinking for Startups by Jimmy Jain
  4. I am thankful to the entire cast and crew of “How to Train your Dragon”. Knowingly/ Unknowingly they presented us with a movie that had deep learning.


This article needs to be consumed only for knowledge purpose. My intention is not to earn anything out of it. I just presented a wonderful analogy brought to us by Maxim Nialiv. I do not claim the core idea is mine. However, my analogies and understanding has been entirely mine. 

Way Forward:

There are number of movies that directly or indirectly brings in Design Thinking processes as part of their story partly or in totality. My humble request, if you find such stories, do share with us. 

#designthinking #empathy #define #ideate #prototype #test #thinkdifferent

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