100 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT DESIGN  |  JULY 10, 2020

100 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT DESIGN
JULY 10, 2020

5. Stakeholder interviews

5. Stakeholder Interviews

In a recent post about What UX Design Isn’t, I talk about the UX Design Sweet Spot and how it’s a balancing act between what the user wants and what the business wants. In this post we’ll look how to discover what the business wants through Stakeholder Interviews. 

In a recent post about What UX Design Isn’t, I talk about the UX Design Sweet Spot and how it’s a balancing act between what the user wants and what the business wants. In this post we’ll look how to discover what the business wants through Stakeholder Interviews. 

Stakeholder Interview

/ˈstākˌhōlder/

In order to understand what a Stakeholder Interview is, you first need to understand what a stakeholder is. A stakeholder is anyone involved on the project, specifically on the business side. When you work at an agency or design studio, stakeholders are also referred to as your clients. They represent the business you’re creating the product for. And they’re super important in UX Design because they’re your point of contact throughout the entire project.

Stakeholders provide you with the business requirements you need to design the product. That’s why it’s important to sit down and chat with these stakeholders and ask them a ton of questions. Which is also known as the Stakeholder Interview. 

The format of Stakeholder Interviews is typically Q&A. Meaning you—the UX Designer—come prepared with a list of questions and the stakeholders provide answers to those questions. 

What do these questions look like? I provide a template with these questions in my Online UX Design Course.

When thinking through your questions, it’s important that they’re relevant to the product you’re designing and the person you’re interviewing. 

For instance, if you’re designing an e-commerce website that sells shoes you should include questions about inventory, payments and returns. 

Similarly if you’re interviewing someone like a CTO (Chief Technology Officer), you should include questions that are relevant to that person’s title. In other words, ask a lot of questions about the technology behind the product. 

A few additional tips that will help you when conducting your stakeholder interviews include:

Record (with permission)
Recording your interviews helps you shift your attention from taking notes to the interviewee. This makes the conversation feel more natural and less like a deposition. Be sure to ask if you can record, though. Most stakeholders will be fine with it. And if they’re not, you can reassure that it’s for note-taking purposes only and that you won’t share the recording with anyone. 

Improvise
Not all of your interviews will follow a script, and that’s OK. Sometimes the most valuable insights come from when the stakeholder goes off on a tangent about something. Just recognize when the conversation is no longer productive and politely bring it back to your questions.

Send questions beforehand
Put simply, sending your questions to the stakeholder before the interview gives them time to prepare, which means better answers for you. 

 

Reporting your findings

Now let’s talk about how you can present the findings you gather from stakeholder interviews. An important principle here is: less is more. A 200-page report with transcripts of each interview doesn’t offer much value because no one will read it. Instead you want to sum up your findings into a couple of pages.

What I like to do is distill the most important findings into 3 to 5 high-level business requirements. If you have less than this, it means you need to talk to more stakeholders. If you have too many, it means you need to get more focused. 

Once I’ve defined the business requirements, I support each requirement with a few quotes from the stakeholder interviews. The quotes are powerful because it shows that the requirements aren't something that I pulled out of thin air. They're based on real conversations. Plus, I include the name, title and even a picture of the stakeholder, which makes them feel like they are involved (because they are). If you don’t include a quote from everyone you interviewed, it’s always good to include a list of all of the stakeholders so that they feel like they’re part of the project. 

If you’re interested in seeing how I present business requirements, I provide a template for students in my Online UX Design Course. You can learn more about the course here

Once you’ve completed this document, the next step is to share it with the stakeholders to make sure they’re aligned with the requirements.

You can then share these requirements with the broader team, including designers, developers, marketing, accessibility etc. Now everyone involved on the project has a clear list of objective that they can work towards.

/ˈstākˌhōlder/

In order to understand what a Stakeholder Interview is, you first need to understand what a stakeholder is. A stakeholder is anyone involved on the project, specifically on the business side. When you work at an agency or design studio, stakeholders are also referred to as your clients. They represent the business you’re creating the product for. And they’re super important in UX Design because they’re your point of contact throughout the entire project.

Stakeholders provide you with the business requirements you need to design the product. That’s why it’s important to sit down and chat with these stakeholders and ask them a ton of questions. Which is also known as the Stakeholder Interview. 

The format of Stakeholder Interviews is typically Q&A. Meaning you—the UX Designer—come prepared with a list of questions and the stakeholders provide answers to those questions. 

What do these questions look like? I provide a template with these questions in my Online UX Design Course.

When thinking through your questions, it’s important that they’re relevant to the product you’re designing and the person you’re interviewing. 

For instance, if you’re designing an e-commerce website that sells shoes you should include questions about inventory, payments and returns.

Similarly if you're interving someone like a CTO (Chief Technology Officer), you should include questions that are relevant to that person’s title. In other words, ask a lot of questions about the technology behind the product.

A few additional tips that will help you when conducting your stakeholder interviews include:

Record (with permission)
Recording your interviews helps you shift your attention from taking notes to the interviewee. This makes the conversation feel more natural and less like a deposition. Be sure to ask if you can record, though. Most stakeholders will be fine with it. And if they’re not, you can reassure that it’s for note-taking purposes only and that you won’t share the recording with anyone. 

Improvise
Not all of your interviews will follow a script, and that’s OK. Sometimes the most valuable insights come from when the stakeholder goes off on a tangent about something. Just recognize when the conversation is no longer productive and politely bring it back to your questions.

Send questions beforehand
Put simply, sending your questions to the stakeholder before the interview gives them time to prepare, which means better answers for you. 


Reporting your findings

Now let’s talk about how you can present the findings you gather from stakeholder interviews. An important principle here is: less is more. A 200-page report with transcripts of each interview doesn’t offer much value because no one will read it. Instead you want to sum up your findings into a couple of pages.

What I like to do is distill the most important findings into 3 to 5 high-level business requirements. If you have less than this, it means you need to talk to more stakeholders. If you have too many, it means you need to get more focused. 

Once I’ve defined the business requirements, I support each requirement with a few quotes from the stakeholder interviews. The quotes are powerful because it shows that the requirements aren't something that I pulled out of thin air. They're based on real conversations.

Plus, I include the name, title and even a picture of the stakeholder, which makes them feel like they are involved (because they are). If you don’t include a quote from everyone you interviewed, it’s always good to include a list of all of the stakeholders so that they feel like they’re part of the project. 

If you’re interested in seeing how I present business requirements, I provide a template for students in my Online UX Design Course. You can learn more about the course here.

Once you’ve completed this document, the next step is to share it with the stakeholders to make sure they’re aligned with the requirements.

You can then share these requirements with the broader team, including designers, developers, marketing, accessibility etc. Now everyone involved on the project has a clear list of objective that they can work towards.

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UX Design?

Ready to learn
UX Design?

Get started with our online UX course.
 

Get started with our online
UX Design course.

 

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© 2020 BUTTER DIGITAL INC.

PRIVACY POLICY  |  ACCEPTABLE USE  |  TERMS & CONDITIONS

© 2020 BUTTER DIGITAL INC.

PRIVACY POLICY  |  AUP  |  TERMS & CONDITIONS