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I am assigned to design a new product (existing in market but with more added features). Requirements are provided by the stakeholder. I currently have no users in touch to understand their needs and pain-points. I did a competitive analysis to understand how the other products work and where the new product can stand out.

Is it correct to go forward with just the inputs from the stakeholder?

If the project is new how to go about testing it in the market?

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Suggestions:

  1. Try to convince the stakeholder of the importance of user input to the process. While they may not be convinced to let this shape the requirements, perhaps at least you can gain access to some users for testing.
  2. Do some testing (with actual users if possible, or stand-ins). You can use this to shape the project beyond the higher level requirements set by the stakeholder. And perhaps providing evidence to the stakeholder of results from the testing can help convince them to get more user input in the process.

In other words, do as much as you can. But that may be limited, depending on who is paying the bills and how much they are willing to budge.

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It's okay to go only with the requirements from the stakeholder but the risk of the project to fail is much higher when no prior user research is done. Users will often bring to light situations that you never considered and that you don't account for in your design. Lots of projects fail due to incomplete user requirements, so it's your stakeholders choice.

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Is it correct to go forward with just the inputs from the stakeholder?

It's correct to start the project with just the inputs from the stakeholder but you need to expand from there.

If the project is new how to go about testing it in the market?

Create user personas: Who is using the product? Why are they using it? Flesh out who these individuals are and then go ask people. (Hopefully including those that match your personas - but don't limit it to them. You'll be surprised by the wealth of feedback you'll receive.)

Create low level wireframes. Show them to people. The more people you show, the more questions you will get; the more you will have to think (and rethink) the design.

And, just in case it's not clear - the design in this case is not the colors, not the wording in the CTAs, you're not doing A/B testing -- you're developing requirements; and that means creating user stories.

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