A successful user-centered project naturally begins with a clear picture of the user. Understanding your audience not only gives the selected vendor a headstart; it also provides a vital foundation for system requirements, which influences every area of the system. Leverage the expertise of your organization to gather consumer demographics and psychographics. Understand the user’s domain knowledge, environment, background, and familiarity with the Internet and technology. If possible, conduct a user-needs analysis, which helps you develop a business case outlining user-centered requirements and measurable objectives.
A usability test of an existing system helps you better understand your current user base. It also identifies specific problems that must be rectified through the redesign, as well as provides a baseline for measuring the success of that redesign.
Develop a solid set of requirements
Whether you’re creating a new product or enhancing an existing one, there’s a reason to look for outside expertise. Maybe your site isn’t getting enough repeat visitors, or maybe your internal staff can be more productive if technology carries more burden. Your perceived need is the foundation for your system requirements.
These suggestions help you: (a) maximize the probability that your needs are met; and (b) establish an appropriate level of specificity to provide the greatest value to the usability group.
1. Go beyond the features list. Don’t let your requirements become simply a list of features the new system must contain. Such lists are built with…