The Subtle Art of Capturing The Right UX Requirements

Gathering the requirements for UX or user experience has become the cornerstone of any development project in the digital world. The user or customer has become the most important driving force behind a website’s or company’s success, and gathering the right UX requirements simply means catering to the digital wants and needs of the type of user or site visitor who will be most likely to interact with the web app, buy a product or try a service.

Still, when we talk about requirement gathering for UX, what do your teams need to look for to get on the right track? In this article, we delve into the basics of user experience and talk about the delicate art of creating the right UX in web design and about capturing the right parameters to create a website that will successfully play its role: cater to the needs of its visitors and help realize the business objectives of its owner.

Understanding UX Design Requirements: What Are They?

Before we go into the details, it’s important to know that there are three major components when we talk about requirement gathering for UX projects. These are:

  • Technical
  • Business
  • User

Understanding each of these is vital to capturing essential data and for comprehending the business objectives and project scope correctly.

On that note, UX requirements, or gathering said requirements is the process of discovering what the designers need from the project and, more importantly, why they need it.  The UX requirements aren’t just for designers. Requirement gathering for UX purposes is also essential for the teams responsible for product design, engineering, and even business.

The Purpose of Requirement Gathering for UX Projects

Gathering the requirements will usually take place before the design team begins working on the project, ensuring that they set up the right expectations and goals. With professional UI and UX services, the gathering process is quite intricate, as they need to find the perfect balance between business goals, user needs, and technical limitations and specifications before getting started.

Needless to say, the most important aspect of gathering UX requirements is understanding the user, their likes, and needs. When capturing the right UX factors, designers need a foundational understanding of the products, services, or websites’ basic user experience so they know where to start.

Apart from this, researching the right UX requirements will also help with the following:

  • Setting up fundamental goals and objectives.
  • Understanding the stakeholder’s business goals, and aligning those objectives with the overall user experience.
  • Eliminating any misunderstandings and ambiguity.
  • Learning and understanding the potential technical constraints of the project and their impact on the final product.

UX Design Requirements: Navigating Through Different Types

As we’ve mentioned before, capturing the right requirements for UX will typically fall into the following categories:

  • User
  • Technical
  • Business

Addressing Business Requirements

What is the company’s main goal with the project? This is the main question UX designers should answer when looking at this factor. For example, they may want to improve sales conversions and the number of service subscriptions while improving brand image.

To get a better understanding of what the business requirements are, team members can conduct interviews with stakeholders, but they can use other documentation types as well.

Typically, these business requirements include the following:

  • Determining the project’s scope
  • Project timeline
  • Branding basics
  • Stakeholder expectations
  • Understanding the competition
  • Addressing various business goals across all departments such as sales, marketing, customer services, and so on.

Addressing Technical Requirements

Usually, technical requirements will consist of the following two categories:

  • Non-functional: These factors describe product performance, like usability, data integrity, maintenance, and more.
  • Functional: These factors address particular specifications, such as the product’s technical capacity and capabilities, limitations, and other tech-related specifications.

Essentially, researching these tech requirements will enable teams to answer the following questions:

  • What will be the main operating system of the product (Android, iOS, Windows, and so on)?
  • Will the product operate on a tablet, mobile, smart device, or the web?
  • Which front-end framework will suit the product’s needs best? Angular? React? Vue? Or something else?
  • What are the technical limits of the product?

Addressing User Requirements

Who will be using the product, and what do they need from it? Are there any peculiar accessibility or usability issues that the designers should solve for the users?

These are the main questions pertaining to user requirements, and designers usually use the following methods to gather the necessary data:

  • Conducting interviews
  • Surveys
  • Conducting studies#

When it comes to the people in charge of gathering these requirements, there is no specific team responsible, rather, representatives of different departments are tasked out to collect the necessary data. For instance, UX researchers or designers will be in charge of gathering user requirements; business requirements will be tasked out to business consultants or analysts, while tech-related parameters will be the responsibility of tech leads and data analysts.

Requirement Gathering for UX: How To

The process of gathering UX requirements lacks a standardized step-by-step structure. The specific steps, methods, and responsibilities involved vary depending on the organization and project in question.

Various methods exist for collecting UX design requirements, all aimed at acquiring pertinent data for the project and consolidating it into a comprehensive document accessible to everyone involved. This document may also include links to other resources, such as a design system’s branding guidelines. For instance, Stack Overflow’s design system, Stacks, features an extensive brand principles section for teams to consult.

Initiating the process involves the collection of pertinent business, user, and technical requirements. There may be some overlap in the tasks performed by team members to obtain this data; for instance, activities like surveys and interviews are relevant to both business and user requirements.

For business requirements, experts will generally use the following:

  • 101 interviews. These are meetings with experts and stakeholders where researchers discuss specific details and topics.
  • These files and documents should consist of different manuals, business guidelines, branding rules, and other relevant info to the project,
  • Competitor research
  • These meetings are great opportunities to discuss several topics or issues with several team members and stakeholders.
  • Storyboards and mood boards
  • Surveys

For user requirements, researchers will often use the following methods:

  • Conducting user interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Surveys
  • Testing existing products
  • UX research with user journeys and personas
  • Storyboards
  • Diary studies

Addressing Technical Requirements

Gathering technical requirements will more often than not include:

  • Conducting system reviews
  • Studying tech documentations and specifications
  • Conducting interviews with the stakeholder’s tech team
  • Data analysis

About Low-Fidelity Prototyping

Designers will often create simple paper prototypes which they present for stakeholders. The prototypes aim to help highlight specific product features or add more context.

Low-fidelity prototyping may also play a significant role in documenting UX requirements as it can add some context, demonstrate fundamental functionality, constraints, and more.



UX Documentation

It is essential to document the pertinent business, user, and technical requirements, serving as a vital starting point and reference for UX designers throughout the project.  Maintaining conciseness in your UX requirements document ensures ease of digestion for team members.

In simpler terms, documenting everything will help team members find the info they’re looking for. For example, you can use some of the following categories to introduce structure to your documentation:

  • Users: generated from generating user requirements
  • Style guides: These pertain more to branding elements and visual design, such as color schemes, and more. Still, it can also pertain to media content, components, and so on.
  • Task flows
  • Competitor research
  • Manuals: go-to guidelines for basic and more intricate processes alike.
  • Specifications: these can be definitions for functional and technical peculiarities, like interactions, frameworks, modes, states, operating systems, security protocols, and more.

UX Documentation


Requirement Gathering for UX: Best Practices

Learning From Stakeholders & Experts

In the dynamic landscape of UX design, engaging with stakeholders and experts through insightful interviews is pivotal for unraveling business needs and high-level strategies. To extract the most valuable insights from these interactions, it’s essential to establish clear goals for each stakeholder, conducting thorough research to understand their roles and aspirations.

By approaching these conversations with a beginner’s mindset—free from assumptions and biases—designers can pose questions that genuinely uncover the depths of stakeholders’ perspectives. Active listening, coupled with the art of leaving intentional gaps for thoughtful responses, contributes to a more profound understanding of their insights. Documenting these interviews through notes and recordings, with proper consent, serves as a valuable resource for future reference and collaboration.

Getting the Best Results From Surveys

Surveys stand out as powerful, cost-effective tools for swift feedback and sentiment analysis. Whether directed towards users or stakeholders, optimizing survey design is crucial. Keeping surveys concise by limiting questions to a maximum of five ensures higher completion rates, with prioritization placed on the most crucial inquiries at the forefront.

The brevity of questions, ideally condensed into one sentence each, facilitates quick and accurate participant responses. Employing closed-ended questions, such as yes/no or multiple-choice, streamlines both participant engagement and subsequent data analysis, fostering efficiency in the research process.

Conducting Meaningful User Interviews

User interviews play a pivotal role in the UX requirements-gathering process, offering insights that validate existing research or unveil new perspectives. To derive meaningful feedback, designers should employ open-ended questions, allowing users to express themselves without the constraints of preconceived answers. Leaving room for deliberate silences at the end of responses provides interviewees the opportunity to add nuance or expand on their thoughts.

Recording these interviews, with explicit participant consent, ensures a comprehensive resource for future analysis. While interviews offer valuable qualitative insights, cross-referencing them with quantitative data and analytics is essential to obtaining a holistic and accurate understanding of user experiences.

Finishing Thoughts

Conducting thorough and detailed UX research stands as a cornerstone in the landscape of contemporary digital projects. In an era where users occupy the center stage of web and product development, prioritizing their needs and desires is paramount.

By engaging in comprehensive research methodologies, including stakeholder interviews, surveys, and user interactions, designers gain the insights necessary to craft experiences that resonate with and elevate the user journey.

As technology evolves and user expectations continue to rise, the commitment to robust UX research not only ensures the success of the immediate project but also lays the foundation for innovation and adaptability in the ever-evolving digital realm.