Chapter 11: Discovering Requirements
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The main goals of the chapter are to accomplish the following:
- Describe different kinds of requirements.
- Allow you to identify different kinds of requirements from a simple description.
- Explain additional data gathering techniques and how they may be used to discover
- Enable you to develop a persona and a scenario from a simple description.
- Describe use cases as a way to capture interaction in detail.
Discovering requirements focuses on exploring the problem space and defining what will
be developed. In the case of interaction design, this includes: understanding the target users
and their capabilities; how a new product might support users in their daily lives; users’
current tasks, goals, and contexts; constraints on the product’s performance; and so on.
This understanding forms the basis of the product’s requirements and underpins design and
It may seem artificial to distinguish between requirements, design, and evaluation activities
because they are so closely related, especially in an iterative development cycle like the
one used for interaction design. In practice, they are all intertwined, with some design taking
place while requirements are being discovered and the design evolving through a series of
evaluation—redesign cycles. With short, iterative development cycles, it’s easy to confuse the purpose of different activities. However, each of them has a different emphasis and specific
goals, and each of them is necessary to produce a quality product.
This chapter describes the requirements activity in more detail, and it introduces some
techniques specifically used to explore the problem space, define what to build, and characterize
the target audience.