A non-exhaustive list of forty questions (21 design and 19 business) that have helped me understand the business and users while starting on a new project. Some are broad and can have variations, some are specific. However, all of them apply to both product and service companies.
Psst.. I have them as print-ready cards that I shuffle through during meetings, not all apply for every scenario, but most do.
- What does the product do?
- What do you want it to do?
- What are your business goals?
- Do the business goals support the user goals?
- Who is the audience?
- How do they use the product / consume the service right now? (mobile / desktop / telephone / email / paper)
- What do the users like/dislike about the product?
- Where / When / How / Why /How often do they use it?
- Are there any special needs of the user I should be aware of when designing? (areas of limited connectivity / less tech-savvy / language / desktop-only etc.)
- Are there any special needs of the client I should be aware of when designing? (relationship with previous contractors / sensitive language / not easily available etc.)
- What does a typical day in the life of the user look like?
- What actions do users usually perform while using the product/service? (Usability)
- How many users does this product have? Where would you like to take it? (Analytics — more users, more impressions, more page views, more conversions)
- Are there areas where the users get lost right now? If I were to look glance through customer support tickets, what would they be about?
- Are they able to find what they want when they come here? (Information Architecture)
- What would be your elevator pitch for this product? (Client)
- How would you think a user would describe this product? (User)
- What have you already tried before and has worked / not worked for the company?
- Imagine the most ideal variation of this product/service, what would it look like?
- What research has been done till now? Which techniques were used? Were they helpful? How? What did you learn from them?
- What would an MVP look like?
- Why are you doing this?
- What’s the scope of this project? What’s the budget like?
- What are the client’s short-term and long-term goals and how much time we have to deliver them? (Project roadmap)
- What teams would we need to set up to achieve these goals?
- What client teams/contractors have worked on this before? What were the findings? What were the learnings? What was the approach?
- What metrics will help me evaluate success for this?
- Is there any domain-specific knowledge I should know/learn before starting on this?
- What User Experience mean for the client? How aware are they of the jargons in UX? (self-assess or ask team-member)
- Is getting buy-in for proposals easy? (self-assess or ask team-member)
- Is the client flexible / fastidious on the delivered solution? (self-assess or ask team-member)
- For doing research, what are the policies I should be concerned about?
- What techniques can I incorporate that would aid discovery (while keeping policy in mind) ?
- Where in the design process are we? (Initial discovery, Strategy, Design, Testing)
- What tools are the developers/other designers using?
- How can the issues identified be prioritized to align with the client’s project roadmap?
- What other contractor teams/client teams would we be working with? What do they do?
- What has been done until now? By whom?
- What have you/they found from it?
- What are the immediate next steps for us? Next meeting?
Have questions that are missing in this post? Let me know and we can get them here. Also, don’t forget to clap if you found this helpful. Thanks!