Many design teams are caught in the crossroads between user needs and client requirements during product design—the failure to fit into the sweet spot between the two impacts both quality & designer credibility. Exclusively suiting client needs in your design can result in a product that is simply cost-centric; an effective design aims to improve the target user experience as well.

This blog will supply you with some key recommendations to find the balance between the client and user needs to create a winning product design.

Recommendation 1: Involving the Client and the User

Conventional software design wisdom dictates that you can’t cater to every stakeholder during the design process. However, it can be extremely beneficial to involve them in the beginning stages.

Here’s why stakeholders need to participate in the design actively:

  • The client/user has first-hand knowledge about the expected product performance, as they represent the single-point-of-contact for domain expertise. Their input is precious during the early portion.
  • Actively involving clients and users in the design process quickly captures realistic ideas and addresses practical problems.

The best ways for client-user-designer collaboration are:

Workshops & Joint Research

Workshops held during discovery, planning, design/redesign, implementation, and post-implementation of a software design helps designers:

  • Discuss concerns and ideas carefully while analyzing clients’ past/present experiences relating to the product features.
  • Perform joint research on the different design aspects affecting customer experience and UX based on the data in-hand.
  • Discuss the probabilities and possibilities of certain events.
  • Save a lot of time & effort spent in corrections and design revisits.
  • Plan agendas for new product design or enhancement/bug fixing of existing products.
  • Gather people with different perspectives and goals to throw light on some of the hidden concepts/issues/topics that might not appear in individual interviews.

Suggested techniques: Branding cards, stakeholders map, MOSCOW technique.

Knowledge Sharing

Clients and users can collaborate with the designer to share their best and worst experiences.

  • The client’s knowledge can draw information about the target group, typical user paths, pain points, or other things that will add value at a later stage of the project.
  • Similarly, functionality-wise, users can help the designer enhance the design and apply better techniques by sharing timely information.
  • Working together on a persona, a customer journey, or just mapping the most common user paths lets you design a product that addresses the target group’s problems.

Suggested techniques: Personas, scenario mapping, empathy map, Customer Journey Map, user stories, etc.

Recommendation 2: Prioritization Matrix

Weighing the cost against value and efforts against time can be challenging when designers need to cater to multiple users/clients.

A Prioritization Matrix offers clarity and determines value based on the execution time when lining up the task by organizing all user and client needs into four well-defined categories:

  • High Impact & High Urgency
  • High Impact & Low Urgency
  • Low Impact & High Urgency
  • Low Impact & Low Urgency

Designers can focus on immediate requirements to reap the most value with lesser risks. The scope ranges from simple design-driven tasks and complex design issues to requests from single-user/client and collective groups or organizations.

Four Common Types of Prioritization Matrices

Matrix Name
Description Example
Eisenhower’s Divide tasks based on
importance & urgency
Value and Effort This matrix divides the
group of tasks based on 
task-related efforts and 
their value to the
Value and Risk With this type, designers
can divide tasks into four
categories based on
workflow value and the
real risk of a particular
activity. Risk scoring is
done based on these three

Schedule risk – The risk
determined by the time the task starts. 

Cost risk – The risk is based on rather expensive and irrelevant task execution.
Functionality risk– The 
risk affects technological 
possibility to do the task.
Value and Complexity Based on direct business
value and complexity, the
designer can represent the
low level with tasks
holding minimum priority & complexity, and the
highest level with a more
complicated degree of
execution that offers
maximum business value.

Recommendation 3: Setting a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

An MVP is the first usable version of a product that follows a lean concept. It defines what to expect during your first round of designing and iteration; nothing more, nothing less.

Setting expectations during each iteration helps designers avoid conflicts and work in tandem with the approved design steps.

An MVP is different from a prototype. Here’s how.

Why Designers need an MVP?

According to CB Insights, 42% of companies fail because there was no market need for the product designed/developed.

With an MVP or Minimum Viable Product, project goals and tasks can be reasonably set.

Here are other reasons why agile environments need an MVP:

Need Description
Build the Core of Your
The focus lies on building the core product 
version that meets business viability
Enables Market Validation Designers can understand if the users
will accept the product, what makes it
unique, and gather feedback to make the product viable.
Reduces Rework Building extended features for an
unreleased product is time-consuming.
Incremental feedback helps zero-in on
the reusable components of the 
working product needing minimal 
Enables Faster Release A ready and functional product can be
pre-launched or quickly released to
increase the customer base early on. This will help you distinguish between the
early adopters, late adopters, and
Validates Business Functions Business functions like sales, marketing
and business model assumptions can
be evaluated in advance.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MVP-Advantages.png
Image Source:

An MVP allows designers to gain the maximum amount of validated learning with the least amount of effort. Based on the information gained from this experiment, the team continues, modifies, or cancels work on the product.

Designers can fail by making common mistakes while developing an MVP.

Here’s an example of the wrong and right ways:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MVP-Pyramid.png
Image Source:

An ideal MVP should deliver a minimum yet viable & valuable product design, and it must:

  • Be useful to at least one specific audience.
  • Address at least one fundamental problem.
  • Have a well-designed UX.
  • Be easy to build and launch quickly.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is MVP-Graph.png
Image Source: Net Solutions

Having helped multiple companies with our expertise,  Radiant Digital  can help you build a viable MVP faster and cost-efficiently. Our goals are focused on:

  • Testing a product’s design viability at low costs.
  • Spending less money on product design & development.
  • Faster delivery of a product that solves at least one significant problem of a user.

We implement proven concepts to establish user-client requirement balance, address the pain points, and help your product deliver the best customer experience.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to planning an MVP. It would be best if you approached an expert to build an MVP efficiently.

Want this for your business? Talk to us. We’ll help you get there. Contact us.

Recommendation 4 – Usability Heuristics

It’s not worth designing a good-looking product that cannot derive ROI in a competition-driven market. Heuristics are broad rules of thumb for UI design that give designers a peek into how their design works.

The Heuristic Evaluation Method, introduced by Jakob Nielsen, helps compare a digital product’s compliance with a set of established usability principles (Heuristics) for human-computer interaction.

Advocating for usability can help calm tough situations, and speaking to clients and users on the heuristics of usability display your credibility as a UX Designer.

Usability Heuristics Help:

  • Identify common usability issues with a product and resolve them earlier.
  • Improve user satisfaction and experience with empirical rules of thumb, best practices, conventions, standards, and observation rules.
  • Increase the chance of a product’s overall success.

This usability inspection method is usually performed by 5 to 8 evaluators who have expertise in product-relevant heuristics, interaction design, human-computer interaction, and/or UX design, among other subjects.

Usability Heuristics Analysis Process

  • Individual evaluators assign a “severity rating” to each of the usability issues identified.
  • As a rule, UX designers work their way down from the most critical issues on the backlog to the least critical ones.
  • The design team typically gives issues with the highest severity rating the most attention.

What does ‘Usability’ entail?

Quality components like,

  • Learnability
  • Discoverability
  • User Satisfaction
  • Flexibility
  • Memorability
  • Error handling

When to do it?

New Products Existing Products
Usually, later in the design phase after
wire-framing and prototyping, and
before visual design and UI development
Usually, before redesigning begins.

Usability Heuristics Report 

Though a Usability Heuristics Report for each product may look different, a specimen is shown below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Ten-Usability-Heuristics.png

Designers need to understand usability heuristics well to apply them relevantly in the design process.


We hope that the four recommendations made in this article will help you bridge the gap between user and client needs to resolve inconsistencies, ensure you’re all on the same page, and develop a high-performing product design.

To learn how Radiant Digital strategizes and implements proven guidelines for Exceptional Web Design, Usability, and User Experience to your products, call us today!