Alright, so let’s say your team is building an app for a client. The client asks for two requirements, and leaves the rest to your team. Now, your team holds excellent programmers and designers that utilize the latest tools of their trade to come up with ideas of what this app will do and look like. Your team begins with making sure the basic features asked for by the client are included, then begin adding feature after feature that may help the end user and looks awesome. As your team builds the product more and more, you all begin to really fall in love with the product.
The end product is a latest-featured aesthetically-pleasing design that does what the client does and more.
Key point on more.
Six months pass and you receive a rather heated email from your client saying the app is performing far below expectations. He details out that the target demographic does not buy the app. You investigate into the issue and find that the extra features were far misaligned with what the target audience’s goals were.
This is why research and requirements are important.
You find that if you had done some research into the target audience then a few key features that were tacked on would be avoided like the plague. You would’ve known why some features were important and why were definitely not. You would’ve had a direction of where your ideas should go. Some things that could help your team in understanding why UX Research and requirements are important:
1. The product is not for you, it’s for the user. Using your “gut” and going with what you think is good are very wrong driving factors in creating a user centered product. Understanding your users is absolutely fundamental in creating this product. What do the users prefer? What type of things drive a user for the topic of this product? What sort of problems are users having in order for them to want this type of product? These are all questions you can extract valuable information from and apply to the creation of the product.
2. The interface is magic, but wandering aimlessly accomplishes nothing. The requirements are designed to help you define a “road map” to what direction your product design should go. Without these a designer or programmer is left with creating indiscriminately, meaning there is no set way on where their designs are heading. These requirements are to help drive your ideas in the direction your users would prefer based on educated conclusions, rather than aimlessly wandering in a direction.
So next time you and your team are commissioned in doing a product, try to understand your target audience and define a path first. Don’t throw features at an interface and hope or think something good will come out of it.
——User First, Designer Second——