The most efficient way to get any job done is through clear communication between the client and the designers. In UX designs, the stakeholder interview helps establish clear guidelines to work on. When planned and executed systematically, they can act as one of the best research tools.
What is a Stakeholder Interview?
A stakeholder interview in UX designs is a conversation between people invested in the company's success, aka the stakeholders, and the designers responsible for designing a seamless user experience for them. It's a conversation wherein the team familiarise themselves with the organization's goals, visions, and missions on a one on one basis.
A stakeholder Interview helps bridge the gap between expectations and reality. A stakeholder is anyone within an organization capable of helpful advice and concrete answers about the product/company.
Suppose you're a company that has opted to undertake this task in-house. In that case, we have a DIY exercise that can be done to ensure a free flow of communication and absolute clarity for everybody involved.
In this, you as a company gather all the stakeholders and the people who'll be responsible for the design and discuss based on a pre-prepared questionnaire. The handshake exercise clarifies the direction they want their UX design to go towards. It is one of the best research tools and acts as the basis of the work to be done.
Defining Goals - In a collaborative working environment, all parties must understand the desired result that they're working towards. With this question-answer session, all parties involved can come to concrete goals that are being worked towards for more harmonious and effective working.
Get Design Directions - Since the UX design is done in-house, there is no separate team to brainstorm, and hence the people working on it must get a clear design direction.
The Process - This exercise aims to have a discussion that allows previously drafted questions to be answered. It is extremely important to do some preliminary research and draft the questions.
Your questions can be mainly divided into three subheadings -
The first segment your questions should cover is the business goals. Your questions should try and gauge the company's main goals. These will help you establish a broad framework and an endpoint as to what your UX designs are meant to achieve in the long run. It is no secret that sometimes, a company might have unrealistic goals. This also helps in futuristic planning, making designs that will enable the company to fulfil them.
Questions can include -
What is the vision and mission of the company?
In what direction is your business heading?
What is your main target market?
What are the short term and the long term goals?
Who are the major competitors?
The prominent judges of your UX designs are your users. Hence there must be a precise definition of who the users would be. This will help you modify the design according to the user's preference. When you all have specific user needs to be written down to cater to, you can design in a manner to accommodate them. Since they're your end consumers, your understanding of them dictates how the design would be. If your user base is a more elderly demographic, you might go with a simple layout. At the same time, if your product is targeted toward a younger, more tech-friendly audience, you might be able to experiment with a few extra features.
Questions you can ask -
Who are your users?
What is the demographic that you're targeting?
Sometimes, a company's expectations of what has to happen to exceed the limits of what can happen. This is where your questions about technical limitations help, and they help anchor the design ideas and tie them with do-ability.
What are the technical tools available?
What are the technical skillsets available?
How important is a particular feature?
What are the technical limitations?
Make sure your set of questions covers these three topics to get the most out of your exercise. If you need a guide on how to proceed, find below a sample step-by-step you can refer to.
Gather your team and ideate - First, identify who all are beneficial to the success of the exercise and can be a source of information. Take all the top tier management and the people who will handle all the design. These people are who will be needed to make the final decisions. Sit down and ideate, go through the pre-prepared questions anybody might have prepared, and as a team, come up with a defined structure for this website to follow.
Group answers - Compile all the solutions under different subheadings for ease of understanding. Your categories can be based on different design aspects like checkout, navigation, homepage, etc.
Gauge priority and feasibility - It is important to draw a line between feasibility and importance. How important a feature is and how feasible these questions help set realistic expectations about the UX design.
Get to work!
Regardless of the size of the company you work in, whether a small startup or a big corporation, conducting this exercise can smoothen the flow of the UX design process and produce better results. If you're still looking for some assistance in UX designing, you can always reach out to us!