This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)
Needs analysis is the formal process that sits alongside Requirements analysis and focuses on the human elements of the requirements.
User-centered design, according to Katz-Haas, is really about defining who the users are, defining their tasks and goals, their experience levels, what functions they want and need from a system, what information they want and need and understanding how the users think the system should work. User-centered design has also been linked to the identification of required job performance skills, the assessment of prospective trainees’ skills and the development of objectives.
The first step in any user centered design process is to understand the user's needs.
Put simply, whereas requirements analysis focuses on the elements needed to be represented in the system, needs analysis focuses on the requirements related to the goals, aspirations and needs of the users and/or the user community and feeds them into the system requirement analysis process. The main purpose of needs analysis is the user's satisfaction.
As it focuses on the needs of the human, needs analysis is not limited to addressing the requirements of just software, but can be applied to any domain, such as automotive, consumer product or services such as banking. Although it is not a business development tool, it can be used to help in the development of a business case.
We can identify the customers needs in three ways:
The following list gives the principles of needs analysis as originally defined.
The objective of a user needs analysis is to define the audience, identify user goals, set usability objectives, identify design constraints and define functional specifications. Several methods of research inform a user needs analysis, including Task Analysis and Surveys.
User needs analysis is important because the interface design will be based on this information. Faulty assumptions or goals (about users) will lead to a faulty design that is difficult to fix once in place.