Requirement analysis

  • business requirements; These requirements have their basis in strategic business goals for your product. Defining the business requirements for your product is primarily the responsibility of your organization’s business leaders and/or the product manager on your product team. Business requirements should answer these questions:
    • What is the product vision?
    • Are we solving the right problem?
    • What business goals must the product satisfy?
    • What is the product’s revenue model?
    • What is the timeline for the product’s release?
    • What are the time and budgetary constraints for the overall product development effort and, in particular, for your design effort?
  • market requirements; Your organization’s product strategy and business goals and your product’s place in the competitive marketplace dictate what capabilities, features, and qualities your product must have. Defining the market requirements for your product is primarily the responsibility of the product manager for your product. Market requirements should answer these questions:
    • What is the product’s essential functionality? What features must it include to compete in the marketplace?
    • What other possible features might the product include? What are their priorities?
    • What differentiates the product from other similar products in the marketplace?
    • For an existing product, what features have customers requested?
    • What information does your organization want to communicate to users?
    • What information does your organization want to obtain from users?
    • What technologies must the product employ? With what other products must it be compatible?
    • What standards of performance must the product achieve?
    • If the product is a software product, for what platforms is the product to be developed?
    • Is the product a standalone product or part of a product suite?
    • What user assistance or documentation does the product require?
    • What training and technical support will the product require?
    • For what international markets is the product to be developed?
  • user requirements; These requirements have their basis in your user research, data analysis, user modeling, and task analysis. If your primary responsibility is the interaction design for your product, you should work collaboratively with the product manager on your product team to define user requirements for your product, basing them on a deep understanding of your primary and secondary target users; goals, desires, needs, and tasks; and for an existing product, your awareness of the pain points users are experiencing with your product. Satisfying these requirements is essential to developing a product that can succeed in the marketplace. Ensure that your product manager always states user requirements in terms of capabilities, not design solutions. User requirements should answer these questions:
    • What capabilities and features must your product provide to satisfy your target users?
    • What must your target users be able to do using your product? What workflows and tasks must your product support for your target users to be able to accomplish their goals efficiently?
    • What needs, desires, and preferences must your product satisfy for your target users? What qualities must your product have?
    • What information needs do your target users have? When do they need information? How should your product provide the information they need, when they need it?
    • What data must your product enable your target users to provide or create and save?
    • What kinds of data objects should your product let your target users manipulate?
    • Are there different user roles your product must accommodate?
    • Do your target users require your product to be customizable and/or personalizable?
    • What standard of usability must your product achieve?
    • For an existing product, what pain points does your product redesign need to address?
  • technical constraints; Because your design solutions must satisfy technical constraints, they limit the possible design solutions for your product. The product manager and/or system architect on your product team are responsible for defining these technical constraints. Be sure to find out what technical constraints you must consider when designing your product. These technical constraints may cover the following:
    • database constraints
    • technology constraints and requirements
    • performance requirements
    • operational requirements
    • maintainability requirements
    • reliability requirements
    • safety requirements

From Pabini Gabriel-Petit: Design Is a Process, Not a Methodology

BBC News global nav

Lots has been changed on the BBC News site. I wonder about stuff that hasn’t been touched. Despite its recent major revamp, BBC news has a visually inconsistent global nav and site search. Even the logo is smaller than on all other sites of the family. Any design rationale?

Social intranets

“The social intranet is not just about adding a layer of social collaboration tools; it is a platform that combines the powers of push with the powers of pull to supply anyone who participates and contributes within an extended enterprise with the information, knowledge and connections they need to make the right decisions and act to fulfill their objectives. It equips everyone with the tools that allows them to participate, contribute, attract, discover, find and connect with each other to exchange information and knowledge and/or collaborate. It connects information demand with information supply in knowledge-intensive businesses, something which can only be done by involving all employees in the information supply, removing bottle-necks created by the production model (such as approval workflows and that everything must fit in a central taxonomy) and enabling employee-to-employee information exchange.”


“The social intranet also has an important part to play when it comes to supporting serendipity; enabling people to find both information and people they didn’t know they were looking for. To do so it must have mechanisms that allow information and people that might be useful to us to be pulled to us. Spending time and effort searching for relevant information and people where there is information abundance just won’t pay off. We must have ways that “automagically” attract useful information and connections to us. We just need to implicitly and explicitly share what do and know to other people in our networks, to people who share our interests, or to people who happen to pass us by at any other kind of cross-road.”

Oscar Berg: Why traditional intranets fail today’s knowledge workers

Edward Tufte: administrative debris and tight words

In 1994-1995 I designed (while consulting for IBM) screen mock-ups for navigating through the National Gallery via information kiosks. (The National Gallery had the
good sense not to adopt the proposal.) For several years these screen designs were handouts in the one-day course in my discussion of interface design, and were then published in my book Visual Explanations (1997).

The design ideas here include high-resolution touch-screens; minimizing computer admin debris; spatial distribution of information rather than temporal stacking; complete integration of text, images, and live video; a flat non-hierarchical interface; and replacing spacious icons with tight words. The metaphor for the interface is the information. Thus the iPhone got it mostly right.

Edward Tufte: iPhone interface design

Future online experience

Forrester Research has identified four attributes that will define the future of the online customer experience—a framework Forrester has termed CARS. From the end user’s perspective, online experiences will be:

  • Customized by the end user. Consumers will not only control what they get online, they’ll control the form that they get it in to a much greater degree than they do today.
  • Aggregated at the point of use. Content, function and data will be pulled from different sources and combined at a common destination to create a unique experience.
  • Relevant to the moment. This customized, aggregated content will appear on the device that’s best suited to the customer’s context at a given point in time.
  • Social as a rule, not an exception. Social content will be integrated into most online experiences, not segregated into today’s blogs, micro-blogs and wikis.

From M. Dorsey: What’s next for the online experience?

BBC News site redesign

Mother BBC has launched its redesigned News site a few days ago. I want to actually use the site on a day-to-day basis before I express my user opinion. So no comment yet.

I’m however interested in ‘The-making-of’. Paul Sissons, the creative director of this project, explains. His view on the site’s redesign appears rather presumptuous to me. It sounds a biit like ‘You may not realise or not even appreciate it, but rest assured: we spent your money doing the right thing’. And indeed, there are some interesting design considerations, like the new homepage template that allows controlling the ‘volume’ of a topic or story. In other instances, the BBC appears to adapt standards that other news sites already have put into practice a while ago, such as horizontal top navigation, bold typo, and vertical depth (prime example for this site style is the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter).

Some nuggets:

‘The gradients and textures of “Web 2.0” are gone, and everything is pared down to the minimum required for delivering news.’

‘With an incentive, users will scroll. If that proves a positive interaction, it’s something that could become habitual. So rather than design our indexes and front page with everything at the top of the page, we are encouraging scrolling by putting richer content within stories and towards the bottom.’

‘With Top Stories prominently visible to every user, we allow for more sideways navigation. People won’t have to click back and forth from Front Page to story in order to read the stories of the day.’