5 useful tools to understand your client’s needs

Less complicated collaboration

Being a freelancer is a daunting course of for anyone. Be it a designer, creator, developer or UXer, freelancing is a full-time (and usually 24-hour) job. You will have to anticipate, plan and ensure your client’s needs and needs, and ship with restricted time and sources.

Usually, you need to accomplish duties with restricted information as properly, a state of affairs no one likes.

Nevertheless hey, the rewards are typically effectively well worth the menace (and ache!).

When onboarding buyers, you should have strategies to know and understand them. You need to make the most of the identical outdated channels, harking back to an interview or voice identify. Nonetheless, these regular methods might actually really feel lacking, counting on what you want to accomplish. First-timers are moreover vulnerable to lose themselves in a sea of knowledge, and likewise you’ll need strategies to navigate it.

Fortunately, there are tools that you need to use to help streamline your workflow in getting to know and in understanding your client.

These tools ought to help you larger seize ideas, concepts and needs so you might ship on time with few if any revisions. Listed beneath are a variety of the tools that I have been using and why I consider they’re worth your time.


Miro is: Good for grabbing your client’s likes, dislikes, design pegs and ideas. Very environment friendly when used alongside aspect a video conferencing software program (i.e. Zoom). I typically use these in UX durations with every buyers and workforce members, notably the highest prospects.

I’ve used Miro for some time now, notably with design actions and workshops.

Miro’s best choices are its:

  • Clear UI
  • Intuitive actions
  • Responsive interactions

Modifying in Miro is a pleasure to experience. This, coupled with a real-time modifying carry out for your work, is a very conducive environment to get creative.

Miro has collaboration constructed correct in. It has a chat, a real-time modifying operate, and a dwell cursor view. These choices indicate added interactivity, making conversations livelier than sooner than. This makes people further open to discuss, which is your intention when gathering information.

What else can I say?

Miro is definitely a sandbox the place you, your workforce and buyers can fiddle with ideas, notes and further. Mission administration may be carried out inside Miro, and with its real-time updates to the dashboard and to the workspace, it might actually really feel like that you simply simply’re working throughout the office as quickly as as soon as extra.

Common, Miro is a robust software program for you to use when collaborating with people. The draw again is that if members aren’t motivated to participate in these kinds of exercise routines, Miro’s choices will fall flat.

Milanote is: A structured strategy of capturing ideas, organizing your initiatives and gathering property. Folders and initiatives shall be nested infinitely, so you might drill down deeper into an concept as wished. Best for visually organizing design pegs, work, and drafts. Collaboration is nice since you might edit and comment in real-time, share with teammates, and invite buyers as collaborators into your workspace.

Milanote has always been a darling for people who love good visuals and choices in an app.

Milanote’s energy is in its group: You could create initiatives inside initiatives, and even folders inside a mission. You could nest numerous these inside initiatives or actions.

This allows you to handle information or initiatives from huge, strategic, overarching plans down to a variety of subtasks nested inside each other. Like Miro, you might collaborate with totally different workforce members — nonetheless it focuses on visually organizing your initiatives, notes and suggestions.

As Milanote is akin to a planner (albeit a further collaborative and visual one), you might create initiatives using built-in templates that will merely data you in ending them.

Milanote moreover has numerous collaborative choices harking back to tagging, commenting and further. And since each little factor is organized visually, it is easy to navigate and work with it does not matter what operate you’re in — be it developer, designer, creator or mission supervisor.

One different energy to take into consideration is that Milanote has an web clipper — one factor that Evernote and Microsoft OneNote even have. This internet clipper saves your clips in your unsorted pile in Milanote, the place you might categorize it later. Good for mood boards!

Making an attempt to mix Milanote? Integrations shall be found here.

Notion screenshot

What it is: One different specific contender for being a main data assortment software program for onboarding buyers. You could set it to have databases, folders, nested initiatives, information bases and further. Notion has workspaces and shared notes and docs. It’s very useful for teams and in companies.

I’ve seen Notion in movement largely by totally different teams harking back to system integrators, engineering and promoting. Notion is an all-in-one platform for collaboration. You could assemble internal tools harking back to tables, databases, wikis, notes, notes, mission supervisor and a purchaser relationship supervisor (CRM).

It makes use of Blocks as a storage unit, and the paid versions offer you limitless blocks for importing to the workspace.

You have the entire bells and whistles for a workforce collaboration software program program, harking back to dwell modifying, shared workspaces, shared docs and course of administration. Like Milanote, Notion moreover has an web clipper, so you might shortly retailer references and information from the web do you have to’re doing evaluation.

Capturing data from buyers using Notion is analogous with totally different collaboration tools: create an internet web page/wiki to share with a client, grant entry, after which discuss all through the app.

One different key operate is that Notion shall be built-in with corporations by the use of Zapier and Automate, so if you already have an present net web page or internet sort that captures client requests or requirements, you might merely redirect the circulation from there proper right into a database in Notion.

This guide from the Notion workforce moreover particulars how you’re able to do it.

Notion shines among the best when you will have a paid account, nonetheless has a free tier that is restricted with what you’re able to do for your enterprise (though you may be truly suave and would possibly nonetheless use Notion whatever the restrictions on free). You gained’t have the choice to run your enterprise on that platform, nonetheless you might collaborate with your buyers and workforce members (or relations) with Notion.

Evernote screenshot

What it is: I exploit Evernote to seize information and client requirements. I moreover accumulate data, samples and sources from the net using Evernote with its browser add-ons (primarily Chrome). Moreover, creating new notes in Evernote permits you to use one in all their built-in templates — the place you’ll be able to start a mission, weekly plan or a plain pointers. One other extremely efficient performance is for you to make templates for model new notes — wonderful when you will have a format you prefer over the default ones.

Evernote has been my go-to software program when it comes to taking notes, capturing ideas, and usually merely jotting in drafts and sketches. When writing meeting minutes, Evernote is usually a excellent software program as a result of it has a library of templates to choose from: GTD, meeting minutes, mission planning, promoting, product sales calls, agenda, and novel plotting!

Since Evernote has a giant neighborhood of shoppers and advocates from all through industries, you will always uncover concepts and suggestions for using Evernote for a selected course of.

With near-unlimited storage capabilities even on the free tier, it’s also possible to make use of Evernote with out breaking the monetary establishment.

One different favorite for me is the WebClipper, which I’ve used extensively ever since I’ve started using Evernote (in 2012!). This internet clipper can simplify an article’s formatting for saving inside Evernote, making it easy to be taught on tablets and mobile devices.

One different sturdy degree for Evernote is its integrations with fully totally different corporations, offering you with the potential to automate your data capturing workflow. For instance, when you will have your buyers over at MS Teams, or in Slack, you might merely push your conversations into an archive in Evernote for easy trying and entry.

Capturing client requirements using Evernote would also have a significantly straightforward workflow: create a observe with sorts in it, share the observe to a client for modifying — though this may occasionally require the buyer to have an account in Evernote, so your mileage might differ.

It actually works best alongside aspect present conferencing or collaboration tools, harking back to(*5*) or WebEx.

One ache degree for me in Evernote is you’ll be able to’t draw over your present typed textual content material. It is probably not a deal breaker for some, nonetheless for me it diminishes a little bit little bit of the comfort of use and the pliability of Evernote as an all-in-one observe taking and collaboration app.

Onenote screenshot

What it is: My fallback software program. If one thing, OneNote presents a clear canvas — every an influence and a weak level — the place you might write ideas, draw them and further. The one most important operate OneNote has over the rest is the potential to kind in textual content material, after which write over the typed textual content material. This diploma of flexibility has been very useful for me when capturing ideas, notably when meeting face to face with buyers which may be chatterboxes.

OneNote comes free and sometimes preinstalled in most House home windows devices, so it’s easy to get into the OneNote sport. It is primarily one huge, clear pocket ebook the place you might add almost one thing: pictures, textual content material, hyperlinks, articles, sketches, and even embed films.

You could mix OneNote with positive corporations, too, by the use of Zapier.

OneNote moreover carries with it your Sticky Notes, which are accessed often by the use of the House home windows desktop app. On mobile, these Sticky Notes are accessible and searchable. You most likely have a pen, you might even draw on them. What’s best is you’ll be able to draw on present pictures and textual content material!

As that’s primarily a note-taking app, why would OneNote be proper right here on this itemizing?

It’s very environment friendly when used alongside aspect totally different tools. Its clear canvas is as extremely efficient because it’s daunting: you’re able to do, write and draw one thing with OneNote. Nevertheless on the equivalent time, it isn’t a software program to be used alone. You put it to use with conferencing tools, harking back to Zoom, WebEx and even MS Teams. In case you and your workforce are in Office 365 or Microsoft 365, it actually works properly and is tightly built-in with all Office Apps (Phrase, Excel, Outlook, Power Stage, and so forth.).

My workflow

In my workflow, I exploit a combination of all these tools, nonetheless not exactly all of them. I exploit largely two or three at a time. Some examples:

Step 1

For a design mission, I identify and chat with a client whereas sharing screens on Milanote. Afterwards, I create a listing of movement devices throughout the app, after which share it with the buyer. I might also create a mission Mood Board for setting seen pegs and design ideas to set the overall path and tone. Consumers and workforce members contact upon the mood boards and design pegs, after which may be utilized as a basis for the work throughout the subsequent step.

Step 2

For a writing gig, I generally interview the buyer with regards to the trail and imaginative and prescient. I exploit Evernote’s built-in templates to interview and seize information. Some buyers I’ve labored with beforehand (pre-COVID) would get interviewed face to face, paying consideration to what they talk about when it comes to their common path and imaginative and prescient of the last word product.

This differs though for technical writing initiatives, the place there is a set commonplace of writing trend and development. What I do in its place for these is to work out the overall tone of the docs, whether or not or not it is conversational, or perky, or vigorous, or neutral. After which I share the observe with the buyer finalizing the style, after which I begin work on the outline and drafts.

Step 3

For progress initiatives, it runs almost the equivalent as a result of the design mission. I add an extra observe the place we itemizing your complete requirements wished for the app, as well as to design pegs that the buyer has in ideas for the UI and UX of the operate. We run these workshops with the buyer and its stakeholders to ensure that what we seize is full enough to assemble a viable product that they’re going to be every proud of and enjoy.

Step 4

For mission administration duties, I primarily use Milanote to collaboratively share and annotate duties with the workforce and the buyer. If there could also be an accessible code repository and design asset library, I hyperlink it inside Milanote for them to work with. If I am collaborating with large teams, Miro and Notion will get the bigger slice of the pie, nonetheless it largely depends upon if the workforce is already on board the platform or not.


To summarize, use tools that be simply best for you and your workforce. Tools work best solely when their prospects know and work with the system to its capabilities. Any one in all these tools can (and might) shine by the use of the darkness of uncertainty, notably when working with new initiatives, buyers, and ideas.

Most of these tools have overlapping choices and capabilities, and it doesn’t harm to test them out!

Go ahead, experiment with these, and see what works and what doesn’t. Lastly, no software program is used alone — there’ll always be gaps in a product, even with basically essentially the most well-thought applications. Keep in mind to save a backup of your work someplace as an archive, so you might make certain to have entry even when the applications go down or turn into inaccessible.

Editor’s observe: Everytime you use GoDaddy Skilled, abruptly there’s further time in your day to take care of what points most. Overlook about juggling admin duties. Reclaim your time and use it to make buyers actually really feel like the center of your universe.

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