How to come up with ideas for building digital interfaces that really bring solutions

Identify, with a simple Briefing, the emotional issues that are behind your customers' problems and become a master at solving them


Yeah! Td bele?

Today I will talk about something fundamental to building any digital interface. And this something is listening to your clients to the point of understanding their anxieties.

 "What?? What do you mean, David??"

Know that this "understanding your anguish" does not mean following the stripe and agreeing with everything he speaks.

"If you don't know where you want to go, then it doesn't matter which way to go."

Gato Chesire for Alice in Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

And did you know that most of the time they don't even know what they want?

Yes, that's right! Most of them don't know!!!

But one thing they want... Oh, how you want it! And that's called RESULTS.

To get to the results, you must have the sensitivity to interpret everything your client says he wants, addressing issues that can extract the root causes of their anxieties. And from there identify the real problems that prevent your customers from getting results.

But maybe some people question me:

"David, what is this thing about understanding customer anxieties? It is not better to ask the colors he wants on the site, what he wants to put in the interface and develop as soon as possible?".

Well, if you want to please him in a first instant, yes! That might be a good way. But you can and he must go further.

and you want to offer lasting results that will delight your customers and prevent you from being just another one of many who think the same way, I invite you to continue reading. Mr. Blz?

So relax and come with me.

In this article we will deal with:

The big problem of looking only at your navel

There is a way that I consider efficient for beginners without employment ties to develop their first web pages. This way is to build websites for friends, merchants from your neighborhood, or a personal project.

After all, the most important thing in the beginning is to create and show what is created. You need to create a portfolio appreciated by the agencies.

banner06 Why you should have your Portfolio ready for yesterday!!

But the big problem, in most cases, lies in the eagerity to show off your newly acquired skills in internet tutorials. This anxiety causes your finger to flie to turn on the computer, to click the Photoshop icon or to open an HTML editor and develop the first thing that comes to mind.

They want anyway to apply that fantastic photoshop effect (uhu! What a cool 20px chamfer!) seen in the last video lesson that will leave the site like this or roast. They want to implement the fashion of the moment that makes the layout rotate and give other countless movements capable of making a visitor carrier of labyrinth enter into vomiting crisis in a moment.

Galucho, if you fit the profile mentioned above, slow down. calm... Relax!

Stop looking only at what you are able to do and focus on how your amazing skills can be helpful in solving the problems of your customers and your customers' customers.

It is very important that you master these amazing tools for building interfaces, but there must be a purpose for such an application. And the first purpose before you start a project is to understand it: understand the objectives and identify the problems to thus enter the field already with the game won only leaving to bring results.

Look at the customer → Understand your anxieties → Deliver results.

And a good way to start understanding him is by asking the right questions. That's right, questions! And in case you don't know, there is a widely used tool that can help you with this task. Are we going to meet her?

The importance of briefing

Briefing is a tool to collect the data provided by your client. Through this data it is possible to obtain information that helps in identifying problems and consequently develop actions that bring solutions effectively.

It is important to apply it because it determines what can be done, what is prohibited and every concept that the interface of the site should transmit to visitors.

Of course you, my dear Galucho, who wants to show independently what he came to the world, will have to build on his own a broad briefing that aims to cover the different aspects for building the project. Unlike an agency that doesn't always work alone on a project.

There (in the agencies) there is usually a multidisciplinary team to meet the demand. And to understand the project, in addition to the main Briefing, additional briefings may be required for each sector involved.

Then you ask me:

"David, am I going to have to set up a briefing for that little bakery owner's website?"

And the answer is SIM !!!

If you want to grow, go on applying your knowledge right now. Make it a habit, regardless of the size of the project and even if you don't have a name to charge too much. Imagine the bright side:
You will be increasingly prepared for the market and your portfolio will have more quality projects.

Now that you know the importance of the briefing it is time to know what the main elements to consider when preparing a briefing for the construction of a website. Let's go, shall we?

Identify the real problems going beyond the ordinary method of preparing Briefing

There is no general rule for preparing a briefing. So much so that it is used by different areas of human knowledge, such as Advertising, Design, Marketing, among others.

Generally for building websites the most common topics that can be raised are:

  • History related to the performance in the customer market brand or company;
  • Communication objectives of the company;
  • If the company already has a website. If so, try to know which url, which hosting and what bothers , for the client of course, on the current site;
  • Purpose of the website (sell, inform, entertain, etc.);
  • Identify what are the products or services, the advantages and weaknesses of them;
  • Identify who your customers' competitors are, what are the advantages and weaknesses of your products or services;
  • Ask about visual aspects for the site: if there is already logo or a pattern of visual identity, colors, something admired on other sites, something to be avoided, among others;
  • Who will provide textual content, images, videos, etc.;
  • The geographic area that the site will reach. This is important for SEO actions and marketing actions for local searches.;
  • Also check the budget and time allocated for the project.

In addition to the topics mentioned above, an item that I consider of paramount importance is the investigation of the target audience. And here's my complaint.

I think you should avoid doing things in an ordinary way. When I say ordinary, I mean in the common sense, simpleton and without a more intense investigation that the target public deserves. After all, it is he who consumes and pays for our products directly or indirectly.

We should also be intense in investigating through the briefing what the pains, (remember the anxieties?) of our client, identify what makes the sleep of the one who responds to the briefing.

"And why all this, David?"

Because the topics for briefing elaborations mentioned above may even ensure usability and a good browsing experience, but cannot guarantee that users get emotional, interact, share, buy and return to the site.

The briefing should also identify the pains that must be reapersed through relationships that generate trust.

There is no more room for a functional interface, but too cold and formal. We're talking to people. We have to provide them with amazing and satisfying experiences.

Know that there are concepts of persuasion and trust that when applied to interfaces can make a site much more attractive. And a briefing that considers the emotional aspects of each problem can help in applying these concepts (Learn more in the block below as soon as you finish this article).

What can make a Briefing more efficient?

In addition to the items mentioned in the previous topic, we should make it easier for those who can even be yourself to interpret the data collected in the questionnaire so that it can develop something creative.

"But how to do that?"

Extracting through the briefing emotional issues hidden behind the reasons surrounding the problem.

For source studies first let's focus on your client. What can we address?

It is possible that your client may be full of problems arising from the current communication that the site transmits. Ask him things like that can send to emotional responses, for example, if he already has a website:

  • In relation to your business what is your biggest concern, what makes you lose sleep, what are your greatest anxieties?
  • What upsets you about your site and why?
  • What would you like people who visit your site to describe about it if it was the way you want it to?
  • How do you feel when your current site doesn't achieve your goals?
  • Can you identify why your site doesn't achieve its goals?
  • When you look at your site what negative adjective would you give it?
  • What are the things responsible for making you believe that your site doesn't achieve its goals?
  • How would you feel if your site achieved the proposed goals?
  • What is your company missing by not achieving its goals?
  • What benefits would your company have if your site achieved its goals?
  • If your site were a person like you would want it to be? Describe qualities.

All right, now we're going to focus on the target audience, which is the user of the site. The ideal is to ask questions that refer emotions directly to him. For companies that have email lists it can be quite effective to do searches with your audience. But in addition not to run away from our theme, we remember that the briefing is answered by customer.

Ideally, the company has a business plan that describes its audience well. In addition to the common questions that define your audience's profile, such as social position, gender, age, income level, among others, we may ask our client to give a name and describe their potential client as an ordinary person. John, for example.

Also ask to describe what he, John, does, how he has fun, likes, other things he consumes, etc. Do the exercise of giving life to your target audience through a representative.

This exercise is useful because people of common tastes often relate and walk together. Just look on social media. A person may have similar behaviors to members of a group they live with. And knowing that can be a differentiator.

But beware of the audience your client describes in your business plan . This should always be investigated. What can generate maintenance on the site.
Remember if: the site will never be ready. Changes will be necessary. Everyone involved should view this as an evolution of the project.

Imagine the following scenario:

You can build a slimming site to serve an audience of overweight people (your target audience) and be surprised to learn that those who actually "consume" the site's materials are skinny people worried about avoiding those "extra pounds" or with the health of people close to them who are obese. Therefore, always instruct your client to investigate your audience. Capisce?


We can conclude that a project that involves the creation of web interfaces to achieve results must be studied in advance before starting its production. And that briefing is an important tool to collect data for such a study.

Also that we should not fall into the temptation to develop on the basis of achismo believing that we know everything and that only with our skills will be enough to bring results.

Another point to consider is to investigate the "pains" of both your client and your client's client.

As COURTESY BONUS you can click on this link to download an example briefing to be used as a reference.

This is a standard briefing for building web sites (You can adapt it to other types of requested services). Check it out below:

In it you will find a traditional questionnaire. But if you want to extract hidden emotional issues in your customers' problems you should adapt it to the points raised in this article.

What about you? Do you also use the briefing in your projects? Do you care about the frustrations of your customers? Share it with us. Leave your comment.

See you next time!


The Weapons of Persuasion - How to Influence and Not Be Influenced - Robert B. Cialdini

David Arty

Hi I am David Arty, founder from the blog Chief of Design.
I am from São Paulo, Brazil. I work with design, mainly with web design, since 2009. I try to transform crazy and complex ideas into simple, attractive and functional pieces.