It is fairly well known that capturing a customers requirements is one of the hardest things to do. It needs in-depth understanding of customers business, extraordinary listening skills, technology depth, and ability to synthesize information. This is true with any product development. In this blog we focus on the mobile product design in terms of the user interface and thereby the product features.
A lot of customers would like to design mobile applications and they have very limited budgets. And many a times they do not understand a mobile application could be of enterprise calls for it needs web services and hosting. One of the first goals is to determine the complexity during the initial phase where the customer specifies the product features. In this phase the complexity of the project can be determined. Since the initial product requirements involves product managers and architects, the approximate cost of the project is determine. This has to be clearly articulated to the customer. Since cost is a major factor for smaller companies and entrepreneurs, the cost assessment is critical. Based on the costs, the project is a go or no-go.
In this essay we present the product requirement from the client and the process of how we articulated the product. The client want to build an application on mobile where they wanted a “dress me” application. The idea was:
The can take a picture of themselves and play dress up. This implies that they can take picture of their entire wardrobe and then drag and drop on their picture. The user can then view how they look. The application can be used by any user. And they can drag and drop clothes from an online store before they purchase anything.
At the very outset, it is critical to understand clients depth of understanding of market, technology, and product. Market understanding is helpful so that we can do better research. If the Client does not have an in-depth knowledge of the product, the onus is on us to determine the market. It is imperative that we understand the market so that we have an understanding of competition and from that we can understand similar products to help our customers compete effectively. It is clear that a simple design and product feature requirements gathering is much more than it seems.
With regard to clients technology understanding, it is not critical, but helpful to understand their depth. If they have great depth, they can work closely with us to define the technology stack that they are interested in including architecture, algorithms, and systems. If they lack this expertise, it is fine for we are hired to help out our customers to make decisions that help them scale.
Client’s product understanding is super-critical and this has to be assessed very fast. Some clients have in-depth understanding of the product that they need. But some may not have the depth, but they definitely have an idea what they need. This is where expertise in listening skills are critical. Since many of them can not visualize, it is our responsibility to make sure that we spend time thinking through their requirements and offer solutions in terms of visual design. Any visual design will take a few revisions, and customers generally have enormous input for they can now see their ideas take form. The first visual elements of a product are critical and this needs deep insight into the market, product, technology, and being open to customers thinking and insight. A deeper appreciation of customer input however incoherent is absolutely critical.
In a following blog we will discuss with a case study of how we arrived at the right design and application features.