The Needs Assessment section helps you understand your users needs, motivations, and behaviors — what they do, how they do it, and why. Rather than a linear process where you move predictably from one conversation or tool to another, it is more of an iterative one defined by loops. For example, what you learn from observing your users will inform what you ask them about in an interview, which may then lead you to see things differently in future observations and lead to activities within a focus group to validate your findings. So, it is a process of connecting the dots across tools and one that requires cultivating a sense of empathy for your users so you can put yourself in their shoes.
Though needs assessment is an iterative process, we can think of in terms of two kinds of
activities: gathering data and working with
data. The toolkit highlights a variety of tools and methods you can use to
gather data, including: compiling and analyzing data on trends, usage, and satisfaction;
interviews, observational studies,
surveys, and focus groups. The
toolkit also provides information and tools to work with and synthesize these data into
user personas as well
as create stories of where, when, why, and how those people will use spaces, services,
and technology — use cases. Guiding
and tips for
success serve as helpful resources along the way.