We say A. We do B.

Numeral scientists (e.g. Freud) believe 95% of our daily decisions are made by our subconscious mind and the remaining 5% by our conscious, extrinsic motivational system. That makes sense, because if we didn’t have an autopilot for our daily actions life would be hard and painful.

For example: if I would ask you in what order you would brush your teeth, or tie your laces, could you verbalize the answer? Probably not. That’s because we don’t perform these actions with our minds being present. We’ve learned to trust our instincts and go with the flow. Acquired skills don’t need thinking, that’s why the best professionals in the world often state they don’t ‘know’ what they’re doing different than the other 99%: it’s just a ‘feeling’.

What this means for UX research, is that doing interviews alone won’t suffice. If we assume a lot the actions we perform are carried out in ‘automatic pilot mode’ then trying to verbalize those or expressing the thought process often results in answers the interviewer wants to hear. Doing observations, organizing context mapping sessions, undertaking a customer safari or doing a brainstorm together, are often more valuable, as these methods allow you to ‘dig deeper’ and scratch the surface of what’s really going on inside people’s minds.

If you want to research what people say, use interviews . If you are interested in what they do and feel, revert to other methods such as the ones mentioned before. Alternatively, you can too use these methods as probing techniques to discover the user’s daily context, after which an interview can still be useful to jointly reflect on the results of the probing phase (such as a diary study or a collection of daily photos). Confronting people with their behavior and actions can be very powerful to gather insights!

Because people can be irrational and non-predictable. If I would ask you: “who would you put on a leash when you go for a walk with your kid and the dog? The dog, right?

Well.. To be frank with you….