To get the answers to these questions I usually need to reach out to many different people and may get several different answers back to the same questions. Part of my job is resolving those discrepancies in a way everyone can more or less agree on.

What are the plans for the information going in and out for this system?

  • How is the user accomplishing this task today, without this system? 
  • What do we know about these users? How can we get in touch with them?
  • Why do we think users will want to use this system over competitors? 
  • How does this system contribute to the company's larger strategies and initiatives? How does the company profit from this system? How can the UX support that?

What information does the system need from the user? How should the system ask for it? 

  • Why does the system need this information? 
  • Are we sure the system can't get this information any other way? 
  • How are we going to use this information once we have it? 
  • How does it benefit the user to provide this information? 
  • How is the information structured? How do we represent that visually? What expectations will users have about this?
  • What are the steps or sequence of events that the user needs to go through to provide the information? How do we represent those steps visually? What expectations will users have about this?
  • Is that sequence of events based on the user's requirements, or the system's requirements? 
  • If it's based on the system's requirements, how do we explain that to the user? How do we make it smoother (or smooth enough) if the system's requirements aren't naturally smooth? And how are we definining "smooth enough"? What information do we have that supported that decision?
  • Which controls are needed to provide the information, and where do they live on each screen? 
  • How does the user navigate between screens? How do they know how to navigate between screens?
  • When we show users our plans, can they get on board? Can they complete the tasks we designed? Do they understand what they're looking at? Do they get hung up on anything in particular? 
  • Does our company already ask for similar information in our other products? Does our design system provide any guidance for this?

What information does the user need to get back from the system? 

  • How do we make sure the user can understand the information? 
  • How do we make sure the user can find it easily, and that it's relevant and actionable? 
  • What actions does the user need to take on this information? How do they know? How do they take those actions?
  • How do we make sure we're right about that? 
  • Does our company present the same information already in our other products? Does our design system provide any guidance for this?