A semi-structured or structured interview that is conducted over a phone or Internet audio line. Phone interviews can supplement other HCI methods and allow HCI specialists to follow users over an extended time.
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Outcomes and Deliverables
The deliverables for a phone interview would be:
Benefits, Advantages and Disadvantages
The phone interview is a benefit for management and HCI personnel since it reduces travel costs while permitting interaction with remote participants. With the advances in remote conference tools the interviewer has the possibility of observing what the participants are doing with software. Phone interviews can supplement site visits, face-to-face interviews, and other methods. For example, after a site visit or a survey you could gather additional data by conducting a phone interview.
Phone interviews are useful when you have participants or stakeholders in widely distributed geographical areas.
Phone interviews can be used as part of a longitudinal research effort (for example, you might want to interview beta users once a week during a beta tests, but can't go to the sites because of travel costs).
Phone interviews can be used in combination with prototype evaluations (Ratner, 2003) and other HCI methods like field visits, diary studies, and online surveys.
Participants and Other Stakeholders
The main participants will be remote interviewees who meet the recruiting profile.
The product team should be involved in the design and pilot testing of the survey.
Large scale phone interviews require significant recruiting support, so you may need a dedicated recruiter.
You need a quiet place where you can conduct the interview without background noise or interruptions. You can set up a system for audio recording which is relatively simple. If you are planning a large scale phone interview, you might want to contact a dedicated phone survey company with enhanced phone equipment that tracks calls, allows automated data logging, and summarization.
Who Can Facilitate
Conducting phone interviews may sound simple, however, the interviewer must be trained to deal with the specific issues of phone interviews which include:
Data Analysis Approach
The data analysis approach is the same as it would be for semi-structured or structured interviews.
Costs and Scalability
Phone interviews are relatively inexpensive since they save on travel costs and don't involve much special equipment.
Phone interviews in different countries should be conducted by interviewers who speak the languages of the participants.
Ethical and Legal Considerations
The laws regarding the recording of phone calls vary from state to state in the USA and they also vary from country to country. Interviews should review the legal requirements for recording phone conversations. Participants should be informed in writing about any recordings and also be reminded at the beginning and/or end of the phone interview and asked to provide verbal consent.