Last modified on Mon 03 Jan 2022

The first step in each project is to understand the challenges we are facing as designers and precise expectations of our work.

To get there, we must understand:

Whatever you find out in the research phase is an excellent ground for future ideas and decision making.

Happy researching!

Analyzing requirements

At the beginning of a project, there is always a set of requirements. It is usually in the form of a Word document or e-mail, sometimes a flowchart and sometimes even wireframe sketches.

Most of the time, these "briefs" will provide enough information about the project, but almost certainly there will be many unknowns in these instructions. It mostly happens because the clients have a lot of background information and knowledge these text documents and charts are not able to communicate.

That is why we usually organize discovery workshops to kick off a project and analyze the requirements together with clients. If the workshop is not an option, you can always hop on a call with the clients and ask them similar questions.

Here is what you need to find out:

Once you get the answers from the clients, spend some extra time researching and collecting insights about the area, context, users and competitors yourself.

Deliver all of your findings to the project team (colleagues and clients) in the form of a research report.

Here are some useful research resources:

Current state analysis

If you are starting with a redesign project, ask for Google Analytics or Firebase account access to get an audience and usage overview, as well as to analyse any current pain points and dead ends.

If you're working on a mobile app redesign project, also dig through App Store and Play Store ratings and reviews. If possible, do a round of usability testing with current app users, to catch all the issues they are experiencing.

Competition analysis

To get the big picture of the market where the future digital product will grow, find as many similar products, companies and startups.

You can rank them by relevance to this project and then analyze the UX and UI of these products. Compare the results to the project requirements. In the new project, you can improve on the best practices these products use or avoid bad practices you come across.

Browse the app stores for similar apps, but also browse for concepts and design examples on Behance or Dribbble. Often, design companies and agencies have great case studies on their websites, and it's worth finding insights on similar products there as well.

Learning about users

There are many methods you can use to get close to the target audience. It is essential to do this if you are aiming for the success of a digital product. Depending on the project type and requirements, you can use:

You can find more details about each method in this presentation.

Stakeholder interviews

If there are many stakeholders in the company, equally relevant to the project (i.e. in a telco corporation or a bank), it would be great to get a chance to talk to them about project requirements, goals and their vision of the final product.

Usually, these companies have different specialized departments, so it's crucial to get input from all of them.

We usually do this in form or live or remote interview session which takes no longer than 45-60 minutes per person.

These interviews help us see the general attitude and vision of the future product.

Affinity diagramming

If you got yourself in any of the research methods, the affinity diagram information sorting would help clear your head and pull out the most valuable facts for the project. This NNGroup's article will help you to grasp the concept of affinity diagramming.

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