User Needs Assessments

Why User Needs Assessments are Beneficial

They are used to:

  • Determine the scope and significance of users' needs
  • Investigate the ways in which differences in user characteristics might affect their ability to successfully use a web site or software product
  • Design curriculum and technology that enable intended users to achieve educational standards and goals
  • Answer such questions as:
    • Who are the target users in terms of demographics?
    • How will the product or site be used? How often? Under what conditions?
    • What do users need to know to use the product or site effectively? What are the prerequisite skills, knowledge, and preparation?
    • How will the product or site be integrated into the environment for which it is intended?
    • What are the barriers, if any, to using the product or site?

When User Needs Assessments are Conducted

User Needs Assessments are conducted primarily in:

Phase 1 (Concept Exploration) of the product development life cycle.

How User Needs Assessments are Performed

They involve using:

  • Surveys and focus groups to determine what users want, need, expect.
  • Task analyses to determine how users accomplish actual tasks (e.g., task frequency, task importance, and workflow).
  • Requirements definitions to determine what the product needs to do.

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