UX-expert and Founder of company Measuring Usability Jeff Sauro has published in his blog material in which he has listed 7 methods of defining priority for customer requirements.

Sauro says that almost any product developer has a long list of things he/she wants to change, correct or realize from scratch. In order to cover all the points, many resources are needed so that’s why it’s necessary to have priorities. Measuring Usability Founder offers 7 methods to define the most important tasks.

Defining main tasks of product users

As a rule, it’s possible to solve various tasks with the help of a website or an app. But not all of them are the reason why a person decides to use this or that soft, considers Sauro. Before defining the most priority tasks, it’s necessary to determine which needs do users want to satisfy with the help of the product.

In order to do this, you should carry out field testing with some experienced users involved. Usually, these people are offered a list including a great many of various tasks which can be solved with the help of a product and then they’re asked to choose the most important ones. You can understand the main needs of users by such a method and get down to the corresponding functions.

This technique is described in the book ‘Customer Analytics For Dummies‘.

Importance and satisfaction analysis

After you’ve defined the most important tasks for a user with the help of the 1st method, you still have a list of some requirements. 2 tasks occur. Firstly, we should decide how important for users is each demanded function. Secondly, we should understand to what extent will users be satisfied after carrying out their demands. According to Sauro, you should strive for fulfilling the tasks which are important and will bring the maximum positive emotions to the users.

This scheme works like that: while testing, users get a list of previously chosen demands on innovations. Then they’re asked to rank them according to the importance and satisfaction which this function will bring. Then a formula is used: «importance» + («importance» – «satisfaction»). It’ll help to define the most prospective innovations for realization in the project.

You can read more about it in other Jeff Sauro’s article.

Detection of wow-functions

With the help of the Kano model, product developers can find out which functions users expect to see, which ones they don’t want to see and which ones will make them ecstatic.

In order to carry out modeling, it’s necessary to have user selection who will tell about their emotional state when they see the presence/absence of a definite function in a product. With such a method you’ll be able to understand which functions users can’t live without and which ones aren’t important. Also modeling by Kano method will help to find out which innovations clients would like. Today an example of such a function is Wi-Fi in airplanes, in 1980 it was a glass-holder in a car.

Kano tells more about it in UX Magazine and Userfocus materials.

Comparison of clients’ and company needs

Quality Function Deployment, QFD, is a method that product developers use. Its essence is building a special matrix, including user needs placed according to its priorities, rating of consumer characteristics of these functions and information about competing products characteristics.

With the help of the matrix, developers can understand the realization expediency of other requirements. If a demanded function is present in a competing product and is an advantage, so there is a sense to realize it.

Jeff Sauro has published material on QFD.

Pareto analysis: revealing important and easy to realize functions

Famous Pareto rule (80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes) is used for choosing the most perspective tasks. With the help of this technique, the decisions are made on the basis of task sorting according to various features.

Usually, tasks are sorted by criteria like user demands, a number of phone calls to the support on similar questions and the most generated income. And then tasks are which will bring the most of the result by minimal efforts are defined. Sauro says that while testing he usually asks users to list several things they would change in the product. In the process of analysis, they find out that 50% of all the comments are devoted to 2 points and 75% of comments are devoted to the rest of them.

More about Pareto rule.

Сause-effect diagrams: defining reasons of main problems

Сause-effect diagrams (Ishikawa diagram or “Fishbone Diagram”) help to find out possible reasons for the origin of these or that problems. While developing products, every problem has several reasons, Sauro says. Ishikawa diagram method helps to define the most essential connections among various system elements.

The method works like this: at first, all problems you want to avoid are written out. Then you define possible reasons for these problems (“users should register for making a purchase”, “the price is too high”, “no advertisements”). Group them according to some criteria. Then with the help of the “Why?” question search for the root of the problem (“Why few users visit the page with a product description”).

More about Ishikawa diagrams.

Defining frequency, scale and effect of occurring problems

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis, FMEA, helps developers to understand what’s the negative effect of these or that actions. It’s possible to find out in which cases it’s more effective to fix existing bugs than add new functionality to the product with the help of this method.

While carrying out the analysis, all the possible problems are written out and then each gets a maximum level of danger. Besides, developers find out how often suchlike problems arise and how many users do they affect. Also, the complexity of the problem revealing is taken into account. In the end Risk Priority Number is calculated, which depends on frequency, scale and complexity of revealing a problem.

More about FMEA.