Sometimes questions are more important than answers

What is user requirements capture?

User requirements capture is a process used to understand what typical users will need from a service which is about to be designed. Users are observed using similar services and interviewed about the ways they go about planning and completing their goals. This information is used to identify a list of content, features and functionality the new service must have in order to satisfy the needs of its users.

Tailored User Tests

Capturing user requirements is essential to good UX

A user requirements capture is a research exercise that is undertaken early in a project life-cycle to establish and qualify the scope of the project. The aim of the research is to understand the service from a user’s perspective, and to establish users’ common needs and expectations. The user requirements capture is useful for projects that have a lack of focus or to validate the existing project scope. The research provides an independent user perspective when a project has been created purely to fulfil a business need. The requirements capture findings are then used to balance the business goals with the user needs to ensure the project is a success.

The user requirement capture project can include many different usability research methodologies including: surveys, structured and unstructured interviews, usability tests, and competitor analysis. Typically, the research is undertaken on a one-to-one basis between a usability consultant and an end user, with an average user requirements capture project including up to 15 one-to-one interviews.

Advantages of user requirements capture

The main advantages of a user requirements capture is the saving of time and money by validating the scope of a project against its users’ needs and expectations before any work begins. This in turn mitigates the risk of the project launching and failing to meet its objectives (increased online conversion, registrations, visits, etc.). The research will also uncover critical information to improve the end result by answering questions such as; Is the current target audience realistic? Can the project be more successful with a different focus? And is the project worth investing in? There is also an important intangible benefit where the project team gains a deep insight into users and their needs at the very beginning, allowing them to remain focused on serving users throughout the duration of the project.

Disadvantages

A user requirements capture will increase the time of the planning phase, which can be a frustration if the project team is keen to get cracking. However, this time is easily saved later in the project due to making quicker, more informed decisions based on user needs. The research can also highlight a conflict in different users’ needs and expectations, which may require a user experience consultant to work with the team on making sense of the conflict and isolating a solution. As this method requires experienced user research professionals to ensure they capture true user requirements rather than unfocused conjecture and opinion, it can add an unexpected cost to the start of a project.

Conclusion

Despite the potential costs incurred early in the project life-cycle, a user requirements capture is an essential tool for any project which interfaces between the business and its users. Understanding user needs and requirements at the beginning of the project helps ensure the product is fully adopted by its users, leading to business success, and in more extreme cases a user requirements capture can save a business from investing time and money in a product which is not required by the target audience.

 

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Natural User Journeys

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Competitor Evaluation

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UX insight into each of your core platforms.

More UX Methods Questions

What is usability testing?
What is user centred design?
What is wireframing?
What is a website prototype?
What is user requirements capture?
What is customer profiling?
What is card sorting?
What is usability testing?

Usability testing is a way to see how easy to use something is by testing it with real users. Users are asked to complete tasks, typically while they are being observed by a researcher, to see where they encounter problems and experience confusion. If more people encounter similar problems, recommendations will be made to overcome these usability issues.

What is user centred design?

User-centred design is a process or set of tools used to design a service which focuses on what users need at the very beginning and continues throughout development until launch. Typically services are designed from a technical and business perspective, with consideration for users added in later. Instead, User-centred design ensures the service focuses on what users need before balancing this with the technical and business requirements.

What is wireframing?

Wireframing is a way to design a website service at the structural level. A wireframe is commonly used to lay out content and functionality on a page which takes into account user needs and user journeys. Wireframes are used early in the development process to establish the basic structure of a page before visual design and content is added.

What is a website prototype?

Website prototypes are interactive demos of a website. These are often used to gather feedback from project stakeholders early in the project lifecycle, before the project goes into final development

What is user requirements capture?

User requirements capture is a process used to understand what typical users will need from a service which is about to be designed. Users are observed using similar services and interviewed about the ways they go about planning and completing their goals. This information is used to identify a list of content, features and functionality the new service must have in order to satisfy the needs of its users.

What is customer profiling?

Customer profiling is a way to create a portrait of your customers to help you make design decisions concerning your service. Your customers are broken down into groups of customers sharing similar goals and characteristics and each group is given a representative with a photo, a name, and a description.

What is card sorting?

Card sorting is a technique that involves asking users to organise information into logical groups. Users are given a series of labelled cards and asked to organise and sort them into groups that they think are appropriate. Card sorting helps you to design an information architecture, workflow, menu structure or website navigation paths.

What are user journeys?
What are focus groups?
What is remote usability testing?
What is an expert review?
What is service design?
What is ethnography research?
What is tree testing?
What are user journeys?

A user journey is a path a user may take to reach their goal when using a particular website. User journeys are used in designing websites to identify the different ways to enable the user to achieve their goal as quickly and easily as possible.

What are focus groups?

Focus groups are a research method used to gather feedback and opinions from customers. Each person in the group is encouraged to participate in a discussion which is pre-planned by a researcher and is guided by a facilitator. Focus groups are typically used to gauge opinion and gather information from users about products, services, and features before they have been developed.

What is remote usability testing?

Remote usability testing is a way to test how easy to use a website is with users who are in a different geographical location. Traditional usability testing brings users and researchers together in one place to conduct the test, whereas remote usability testing allows the researcher and user to be in different locations while the test is completed.

What is an expert review?

An expert review is where a usability expert uses his/her knowledge and experience of testing websites with users to walk through a website in the shoes of a typical user. The expert will spot problems and recommend changes to improve usability when budgets and timescales don’t allow for user research.

What is service design?

Service design makes a service easier to use, more useful and more desirable for the customers who need to use it: the service user. Whether creating an entirely new service or improving an existing one, service design focuses on what customers really need at each stage of their interaction with an organisation.

What is ethnography research?

Ethnography is a study through direct observation of users in their natural environment rather than in a lab. The objective of this type of research is to gain insights into how users interact with things in their natural environment.

What is tree testing?

Tree testing is a way of evaluating a proposed site structure by asking users to find items based on the sites organisation and terminology. This online test only displays the navigation links and removes any additional clutter.

Neil - Experience UX

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We’re passionate about UX and are happy to help, whether you’re a client or not. If you’ve got a challenging UX issue or simply want a friendly steer in the right direction, get in touch with Neil and make his day:

01202 293652 neilyoung@experienceux.co.uk

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