Intercept interviews

What it is

Intercept interviews are short interviews with users following a transaction.  The interview aims to capture the user’s thoughts on a service while the interaction is still fresh in their mind.

Intercept interviews take place in service settings, e.g. a police station, post-office. Researchers often ask a set of standard open-ended questions for all participants.

Why it’s useful

Intercept interviews are a useful way of surveying the opinions of a broad sample of users in a short time. They can help test initial findings (or ‘hunches’) that have emerged from other research (e.g. ethnographies, in-depth interviews or quantitative analysis).

When to do it

Intercept interviews are useful at the beginning of a project, in the prepare and understand phases, to gather existing feelings and experiences of a service.  They’re also useful later on to test ideas for prototypes.

How to do it

  1. As with other forms of user research (e.g. ethnography, in-depth interviews, focus groups) you need to think about sample size and ethics (consent forms, incentives, information sheets).
  2. Choose an appropriate location (or locations) to conduct your intercept interviews and talk to the managers who run them.
  3. For intercept interviews you’ll need a discussion guide. Keep this concise – on average you’re hoping for 5-10 minutes of a participant’s time, so you don't want too many questions.

Further resources