About Steve Portigal

Steve Portigal is the founder of Portigal Consulting, a firm that helps clients to discover and act on new insights about themselves and their customers. Over the course of his career, Steve has interviewed hundreds of people, from all walks of life  including families eating breakfast, hotel maintenance staff, architects, rock musicians, credit-default swap traders, and radiologists, you name it. His work has informed the development of mobile devices, med- ical information systems, music gear, wine packaging, financial services, corporate intranets, videoconferencing systems, and iPod accessories.

Steve’s book: 


Show Notes:

  • Steve, please tell us your story briefly. How did you become the expert on this subject of interviewing users?
  • How did the idea of the book come about?
  • How has the reception been? Was it a crying need?
  • User research as a field is still not taken very seriously in small or mid-level companies. It’s only in large product companies where user research is pursued. What do you think is the reason? Is it because in smaller organisations they can’t afford to have a user research team or they don’t see value or is it a lack of awareness?
  • interviewing is also referred to by other names: user research, site visits, contextual research, design research, and ethnography. Is there really no difference?
  • I am making a couple of site visits this week. And I would like to do a very generic interview to understand what do these users do as part of their daily job and how they bring to use our products in their work. I guess the term for it is ethography or contextual enquiry. Could you for the benefit of our audience explain what it means and how should one conduct such an interview?
  • In Chapter 2, A Framework for Interviewing,  you said Check Your Worldview at the Door. What did you mean?
  • In your framework for interviewing you also mentioned about “Working towards the tipping point” which is the visceral point in the interview where Q & A moves to stories.Stories are where the richest insights lie, and your objective is to get to this point in every interview. Why do you say that?
  • Let’s talk about the most important document for conducting interviews. As I told you I am making 2 customer visits this week, I am preparing a field guide for the first time. Please run us through what a field guide is all about?
  • In your website, you share a template called  a screener. What is a screener?
  • By the way Steve’s  website offers a ton of resources for user research like free templates like sample screener, interviewing guide, I will share the links with you all in the show notes. 
  • In chapter 4, You mentioned about about applying participatory design method in interviewing users. How do you mean by that?
  • How do you decide if you are overdoing research? What is that sweet spot that optimum user research effort?
  • War stories: This is a segment where I ask for case studies to my guests where they share with me their biggest career challenge as professionals. Do you have a story to share?
  • I know you have written an entire book on interviewing users, but I were to ask you to name three important aspects of user interviews, what would they be?
  • What are some of the books that you would recommend product managers should read to help them in their profession?

Books Steve Recommends:

Discount Code for Purchase of Steve’s Book

For all our listeners, there is a 20% discount on purchasing a copy of Steve’s book if you purchase through Rosenfeldmedia.com.

Discount code:  YOURSPRODUCTLY

Here’s the link: