Requirements to relevancy: 4 steps to developing a needs-based site

We’ve all seen it – the great looking website that is fairly useless because it doesn’t meet a business need or help convert a user. Too many site designers skip over the critical Discovery session, a valuable method to uncover known AND unknown requirements.

Gathering requirements is a process. When done right, you get enough information to create a needs-based web site for actual people that functions great, addresses business needs, and looks awesome.

This user-friendly site works on desktop and mobile very well. Mobile has large buttons and the navigation is simple. In a few clicks, you can purchase a “deal”. The site remembers who you are if you have already purchased something. You do not have to re-enter any information. Their email has one click to purchase a “deal”. Very simple, straight forward and minimal interaction by the user to accomplish a task on the site.

In order to provide our clients with a great online experience, we hold Discovery sessions to uncover business, functional and technical requirements. The UX department at Brown Bag Marketing is actively involved in these Discovery sessions.

Here are some of the steps we always cover:

  1. Get background info, including all performance metrics, of the business/product
    • This helps us understand what our clients business is
    • We understand what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, and what the desired user conversion is
  2. Defining business objectives of the project
    • We keep these in mind so they can be used while making decisions during the project
  3. Identifying users from the business objective
    • Who are the users?
    • What are the user’s needs/wants/preferences?
    • How does the user currently fulfill their needs?
  4. Create use cases or story telling for each persona by using the following format:
    • I am a ________
    • I want to ___________
    • So that __________

After flushing out the above and digging into the content strategy, we can start creating site maps, user flows, and wireframes. This is a great formula to ensure we get the best user experience possible when creating web sites and applications.

Analysts and designers, have you applied these methods and how did it work? Have you come across any exceptional websites that do a great job meeting your needs, or conversely have you come across a site so poorly designed you never want to return?