It’s always exciting to start a new custom application project, especially one that will impact your business in so many ways. Once contracts are signed and the work begins in earnest, you can expect to answer a lot of questions as the user experience designer and development team get to know your company and users. Here’s 7 questions you can expect to be asked, and some tips for giving them useful information.

1. What information and documentation do you currently have?

Here your UX designer is looking for all documentation you might have on the application, users/target market, and usage data. Look back through meeting notes you had to decide on custom software. Ask your marketing team if they have documentation on user profiles or market segmentation. If you are replacing existing software, ask your customer support or IT teams if they have documented any complaints related to the software. Everything related to your “wish list” for the new application, your users, or your frustrations and problems with the current system can be helpful.

2. What’s the purpose for this software?

Your UX designer knows that your eCommerce site is supposed to sell product. Think more specifically than that. Are you creating it because your last site couldn’t effectively show customers their order history and tracking information? Are you focused on pushing visitors to create an account? Are you planning on launching a new product line that will draw lots of traffic? What problem drove you to build this software?

3. Who uses this software?

For public facing web applications and mobile apps, the UX designer will conduct user research, but if you plan to use it internally, be prepared to answer lots of questions about the employees who will be using the software, including number of employees, their job descriptions, why they will use it, and how much time they should spend using it.

4. What kind of device do they use?

Devices affect screen size, operating systems, and native features (in the case of mobile apps).

5. What’s your number 1 priority task?

If you had to pick one task to do on this software what would it be? Here the designer is getting at which task to prioritize when thinking about navigation and cognitive load.

6. What’s your biggest frustration with your current system?

Even if it’s related to something hardcopy and not part of any existing software, let your UX designer know what stresses you out. Whether it’s recording numbers on a paper form and entering them into multiple places on the computer, or sites timing out on you, spill everything that makes your job harder than it should be.

7. What do you like the most about your current system?

Is there something that you use all the time because it just works? Is it easy? What makes it easy? Why do you like it?

Of course, this is only a few of the questions you’ll be asked in the course of a custom web application or mobile app. But knowing what’s coming will help you have materials ready and give great answers.

If you want to know why you should NEVER skip the first step of any project, click here.

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