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I'm a one man IA/IxD/UX team for a small applications development company and I also end up writing the requirements for projects.

I was wondering what tools, methods and questions are used to get from the initial kickoff ("I want an app") to actual wireframes.

I know generally Personas, Mental Models, Functional Requirements and Storyboards are used. Are there any other templates out there that detail this process?

PS When doing product development do you ever ask for a business plan/other documentation?

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There is a lot of good advice on this thread which asks a similar question. –  jonshariat Jun 6 '11 at 21:53
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Awesome thanks for the link, it seems like the answer in said thread is: 1. Understand your audience. 2. Write up user stories. 3. Identify Business Objectives. 4. Write down data requirements. I kind of mashed them together but figured a quick summary might save people from clicking the link. –  MatthewForr Jun 7 '11 at 19:01
    
We use the KJ method (affinity diagrams) sometimes as well: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affinity_diagram –  Rahul Jul 17 '11 at 20:56
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2 Answers

About the business plan piece. This is really important.

Big picture is a really important thing to consider when you start these initial requirements. Whoever you are designing for hopefully has specific goal in mind that your application will be geared towards.

Without this "big picture", its easy to miss the mark from the get-go.

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Thanks for validating this concern of mine. I've worked on projects (new product development) without a business plan and it makes it really difficult. –  MatthewForr Jun 7 '11 at 19:10
    
Thats for sure. I struggle with similar forces, such as incomplete requirements. For example, "This application should support user roles". What I have found is that questions are a crucial part of gathering solid requirements. The design should be your interpretation, but product direction and goals may or may not be. –  Tom R Jun 7 '11 at 19:17
    
Ha, I was recently told our system had to integrate with a "Robust User Management System", we had never heard of a UMS before but so the industry goes :) –  MatthewForr Jun 15 '11 at 19:54
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Undercover User Experience is a great way to understand some of the option available to you when starting a project with a kick off meeting that aims to get some initial direction from stakeholders.

It also offers helpful descriptions and insight into the motivations of the different types of stakeholder and partners you may have to collaborate with to deliver a project.

The cereal box design and mobile view workshop activities are quite suited to gain an understanding of client expectations.

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So I'm going to have to buy the book? I assume the Cereal Box activity is this one? Could you briefly describe the mobile view workshop? –  MatthewForr Jun 7 '11 at 19:12
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Its similar to design the box but this time the workshop participants draw a mobile view of the content so that they focus their thoughts on whats really important so avoiding content bloat and feature creep. –  Adam Fellowes Jun 8 '11 at 8:26
    
That sounds great, I'm just getting into projects that have me transfer full web capabilities to mobile apps. I'm looking forward to the challenge. –  MatthewForr Jun 15 '11 at 19:53
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