GEOG 583
Geospatial System Analysis and Design

Term Project: Needs Assessment and User Analysis

A needs assessment is a systematic evaluation of the "gap" between the current and desired capabilities. Quite simply, the “gap” defines the needs. By clearly identifying the needs, resources can be directed towards a solution. Any needs assessment is only effective when it is ends-focused and yields concrete evidence that can be used to determine the most effective and efficient means for achieving the desired results.

User analysis focuses, as the name implies, on improving the user’s experience. The outcomes help to understand how users engage with the system and identify user profiles. User analysis involves collecting and evaluating data about how the user interacts with the system. A deep understanding of your users’ needs and goals allows the designer to address user wants, needs, and goals. This understanding also helps to inform decision-making.

This week you will be working on the background section and the needs assessment/user analysis. The background section sets the stage for your GISystem Design and appeals to the stakeholder who needs to fund the development and implementation. You need to weave an appealing narrative about the current problem, the solution to that problem, and the importance of investing significant time and money in developing and implementing the solution. The background section should appeal to your readers to engage their interests and persuade them to read the rest of the proposal, and hopefully, fund your project. 

The needs assessment and user analysis section will outline and describe the different individuals that will use your system from the development to the front-end users of the system. This is the stage of design work where you take stock of what already exists, what your users need, and in what context your system will operate. You will want to explore the different options for considering the requirements of your users and "putting yourself in their shoes". Many GISystem Designers are experts in the field, so considering the needs and requirements of a novice GIS user is a difficult task. You will use the scenario or persona-based user analysis method to identify the needs requirements of your users.

In this assignment, you will have to:

  1. Provide a background of your design project including the background of the problem, the current situation, the proposed solution to the problem, and the overall objectives of the design project.
  2. Provide a User Analysis description that includes the different users of your design and the different needs assessment options you will need to implement to meet the needs of your users and why. 

Once you are ready, you can move on to the Lesson 2 Term Project: Needs Assessment and User Analysis.