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7. User Needs Statements

Turn your insights into user needs statements

What is it good for?

  • To distil what you've learnt from your research
  • To focus on the problem from your users' perspective
  • To help you stay away from thinking about solutions
  • To get you ready for idea generation

When to use it

Once you've made sense of your user research and desk research data (check out Making sense of your research if you've not done this yet).

How to use it

After you've done some research with your users, it's normal to end up with lots of different insights and it can be hard to work out what to do next.

User needs statements are a great tool to distil what you've learnt in your user research, and make sure you're still focussing on what your users' needs are. They also make it much easier to prioritise where you want to focus on for the remainder of your project. Ideally, you want to focus on 1-2 user needs statements at any time, otherwise it will make your project more complicated.

User needs statements are short, structured statements that follow a really simple format. They're written from the users' point of view and are always based on insight from your user research. Here's the format:

  • As a… [the person affected by the problem]
  • When I... [the situation in which the problem occurs]
  • I need/want/expect to…
  • So that… [outcome I need]

Taking the themes that you've identified from your research with your users, start to write some user need statements using the template in the links below. It's helpful to do this in pairs so that you're avoiding putting your own bias on the statements.

Remember that user need statements shouldn't specify how a problem should be solved - just what needs addressing. At this stage it's still important to steer away from solution-thinking.

In the next exercise you'll be using these user needs statements to start to think about solutions.


Get the tool

Make a copy of the following worksheet and write your own User Needs Statements there. You'll also find some examples of good and not so good statements to guide you.