A Day in the Life of a UX Designer: Part II – Develop a Design Brief

The next step is to formalize these thoughts into a document that brings together the answers of who, what, when, where and why we are creating, the key problems to be solved AND a few other things like:

  • Strategic Business Goals - Why are we doing this in the first place, and what does “success” mean for the business – this is usually centered around time and money earned….or burned?
  • Target Users - Who are we creating this for? How web or computer savvy are they? And why is this website or application going to help our user becooler, smarter, faster, more productive…you get the idea. Learning as much as possible about who will be using the end product will help us be that much more successful in meeting their needs. Often as business owners/leaders, we forget that we are not the end user. We just know too much about the product and how it works, and thus we need to focus on understand the real users and their user experience.
  • Purpose of the End Product (website or application) – What do our users need to be able to accomplish on the site? To delve even deeper, what do our users need to do to “feel” confident that they were successful (cooler, smarter, faster, more productive) by using the site? This all helps to build loyalty, trust and raving fans.
  • Technical Constraints - What kind of technologies do we need to work within or, in the case of a next-generation idea, work towards? These constraints can include anything from preferred browsers, screen dimensions for layout, connection & download speeds, database requirements, to the users’ environment or working conditions. If we’re looking to the future and developing a next-generation concept, we can be a bit freer and less constrained by technology, but it’s always good to think about any potential issues in this early stage.
  • Marketing & Branding Goals - How should it “look”, “feel” and “sound” so that it is in line with the business’s or organization’s current message, personality and tone. Or, if the idea is to re-brand and re-vamp to freshen up the company’s identity, then what is the look and feel that we want to project to our audience? I affectionately coin this the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question.
  • Priorities and Reasons to Celebrate - What is the order of importance and what are the key milestones that must be met in order to show progress and success. If we imagine the project to be a longer and gradual change, then we can also break it down into smaller more manageable bite-sized phases, and create a roadmap for the bigger picture we’re trying to paint.

Once created, reviewed, and discussed, this Design Brief becomes the guideline for everyone on the entire project team, not only the user experience designer but also key stakeholders within the client company, technical & development partners, writers and other creative partners.

Read Part III

Karen Fojas Lee is the owner and creative director at Nomad Chique - a boutique visual design consultancy that specializes in both consumer and B-to-B websites, information portals, transaction-based portals, and Web applications. It offers businesses high-end, custom Web designs and solutions using the latest technology and usability design practices that user experience design has to offer.