Building a bespoke web application solution doesn’t have to be stressful. Follow part of our project research plan to make life simpler. At NXT Digital Solutions, we regularly create (from scratch) bespoke web applications (.NET) for our clients. These range across various sectors from event registration systems, to database driven eCommerce tools and member based Intranet systems. The requirements and outcomes of these tools are very different but all of them have user requirement functionalities which must be addressed and the method for collating these requirements is usually the same.
We always undertake this research stage before we complete projects design concepts and the results from this research helps formulate our technical specifications, which we use with clients to agree site goals and create really intuitive ideas. As part of the project planning requirement for any website application, an integral part of this process is the mapping out of goals from stakeholders and users.
What is Stakeholder Analysis?
Stakeholder analysis tools are used to identify and understand those that have an interest or stake in an issue. Stakeholder analysis can be especially useful in the context of collaborative and participatory processes where all stakeholders in an issue are convened to discuss issues or make decisions.
When building technical web applications or any other software tool, this understanding is critical. Web apps are tools used to articulate means of communication between end users and stakeholders who conceive the site. In order to be successful, a web app has to be stakeholder centred. On one hand it has to offer content and interaction capabilities which best meet the goals of end users. On the other hand it must also satisfy the business and communications objectives for the client who pays the bill.
We have in the past gone down several routes/methods for collating feedback from stakeholders.
- Focus Groups
- Content Analysis
- Secondary Data Analysis
- Crowdsourcing polls
If we are revising legacy systems, we do like to research sticking points of usability to get under the skin of a user. There are many tools available to help support this sampling work. We have used Silverback 2.0 to help gauge screen activity in testing a developed application.
So what do you do with this data?
This is where we either pull our hair out or smile! At this point in any project it’s time to develop a design and development strategy and start creating practical and usable ideas. 9/10 times this is done in conjunction with the client team. We usually have our concepts ready to present and be discussed. At this point we would be referencing our overall technical specification (and revising the original version) as well as creating sample information architecture and wireframes.
There is plenty more to discuss within the initial usability research, evaluation and planning phases of any project but time is running out. Stay posted on Twitter (@NXTDS) or Facebook for more Blog updates.