How to Validate User Needs and Create Need-based Content

The term ‘user needs’ has become a key concept for anyone interested in digital transformation over the last few years. We need a way to make sure every content request is valid from a user-needs perspective before adding, removing or changing anything on website.

Make sure every content request is valid from a user-needs perspective.

Needs-based content

A better way to do it is to have a rule that you won’t publish anything that doesn’t have a user need.

Have a rule that you won’t publish anything that doesn’t have a user need.

There are 4 reasons why no one come:

  • There is a user need, but no one wants you to meet it.
  • There is a user need, but you didn’t meet it.
  • There is a user need, but that need is being met elsewhere already.
  • Even though it looks like a user need, no users actually need it.

The first of these is why you need a proposition document – a clear, written statement of the kind of thing that does and doesn’t go on your site. For the other possibilities, you need to do some detective work. That means data.

Create a proposition document for your content to ensure it’s purposeful.

Using data to validate user needs

When you work in an organisation where the entire content strategy is based on user needs, people who want to get something on the website learn ‘the old user story trick’ pretty quickly. After all, it’s not hard to write a user story. “As a blah, I want to blah blah, so I can blah blah blah.” Easy. But, just because something looks like a user need, it doesn’t mean any users actually need it. It doesn’t mean your site needs it. It doesn’t mean what you write will meet the need in a way users can relate to. This is why you need to ‘validate’ user needs before acting on requests to meet them.

You have to validate user needs before acting on requests to meet them

You do this by looking at the data and doing a bit of research. Before agreeing to do anything, you should:

  • Have a look at tools like Google Trends, Google Adwords and SEMRush to see what kind of demand there is and what kind of language your audience is using to articulate their need
  • Have a look at relevant online forums to see what users’ interests are around this need (if any)
  • Find out what people are asking your call centre or helpdesk about that relates to this need (if your organisation has call centres or customer support of any kind)
  • Search on your own website to see if there’s anything there that meets the need (or could with a bit of a tweak)
  • Search on Google or similar to see if other sites are already meeting the need, and if so are there any gaps so you can think about whether you should address them
  • Find out if your organisation has done any user research in this area, and if not, consider whether that would be appropriate
  • Look at your own website’s analytics to see if people are searching for this kind of content – and if they are, what pages they’re currently visiting and what happens next

You’ll soon see if there’s any interest and what that interest looks like. You’ll start to realise the boundaries of the user need and which other needs relate to it. You’ll work out what language your user uses.

Source from GaherContent: How to Validate User Needs

Thomas Apel Published by Thomas Apel

, a dynamic and self-motivated information technology architect, with a thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to system and network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. I enjoy the technical writing process and answering readers' comments included.