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What kind of workshop or method do you use when you need to collect all the information the user needs in its app ?

I am working on a predictive tool for a big industrial client. Basically, he needs to input a lot of parameters, and after some calculation the app will show as many output results.

Before working on the UI, i need to build a data map with:

  • Complete list of input and outputs
  • What does each one represents
  • What is the best way to adjust these inputs
  • How to group these logically

How would you do ?

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  • You've provided too little information so we can give valid answer. Is this an existing product or no? Do you have access to users? Jun 22 '16 at 13:50
  • Yes it is a brand new project, and there is no similar app. I am in contact with one future user who knows the subject very well
    – Renaud
    Jun 22 '16 at 13:58
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First, I would make a collaborative glossary with the client to make sure there is no ambiguity about the industrial jargon.

Then, I would identify high level entities, and list every attributes belonging to them. Each attribute should have a name, a business description and a data type. For the how-to, I suggest a simple XLS or Google Drive Spreadsheet.

Once everything is referenced, I'd start to work on relationships between the entities and figure out how and why they're connected (this could resemble an UML diagram). This step will also help to factorize, abstract and point out duplicates. It's really important the client review this document before going further. Only then, I could work on UI mockups and lay out form controls and groups.

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A "big industrial client" who "needs to input a lot of parameters" usually does not want to do that manually, at all. In my experience, they already have an Excel spreadsheet lying around somewhere.

During one such web based project, I started off with a large textarea where they could paste the data copied from their Excel sheets. That was 6 years ago and we still didn't get around to implementing a fancy input mask with tons of individual fields.

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