Why it’s important
The contexts and needs of actual users—including students, staff, and technical users—must be included in the design process from the beginning to inform design, technical, and support decisions. Design and test solutions with users to make sure you’re solving the right problems in the right ways.
What to consider
- Who are your primary users?
- What needs will be met with your solution?
- Which tasks are most complex or challenging for users?
- In what contexts will your solution be used (e.g. as part of a longer task flow across multiple systems; across several devices or primarily on mobile devices; in their office or out in the field)?
- How often are you testing with real people? Which user research methods would be most effective?
- What are key observations or findings? How are they documented and communicated?
Put this principle into action
- In the early stages, understand users and their goals, needs, behaviors and contexts, and preferences. Synthesize and document the findings, and share them with the team (and leadership if needed).
- As you progress, create a prioritized list of tasks the user is trying to accomplish via user stories
- As the development of the service evolves, regularly test it with current and potential users to make sure it meets their needs.