Researching users and their needs

The key to effective user needs identification and analysis is to continue researching and obtaining feedback throughout each phase of development. Ensuring users are engaged very early and regularly throughout the development process will ensure your product or service truly meets user needs and for some sectors, complies with regulatory requirements too. 

Why conduct user needs research and analysis?

Before committing to an expensive and time consuming new product or service development project, you should find out: 

  • Who your likely users are, what they may be looking to achieve or what benefit are they are seeking or what problem they need to overcome? 
  • What are they doing at the moment with existing technology or products in the areas identified above? 
  • What problems or frustrations are they experiencing with the current state of art? 
  • What do the users need from any new product, technology or service? By understanding these questions and then analysing feedback it is possible to generate a solid design brief or design input document which ensures the product or device being developed provides the benefits expected by the intended users, and that there is a firm basis to consider developing a new product or medical device. 

How understanding user needs will benefit your project

Obtaining user needs information and early feedback will: 

  • Improve understanding of your users and their specific needs. By presenting early stage alpha and beta prototypes to users it is possible to obtain crucial early insight which allows better design and development decisions to be made. 
  • Test new design ideas and novel features with a range of users with different abilities and thought processes. 
  • Assess users’ emotional and physical experience of your prototype, product or technology, to ensure it truly meets their needs. 
  • Ensure there are sensible reasons to proceed before major investments are made.