5 useful tools to understand your client’s needs

Easier collaboration

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

Sometimes, you need to accomplish duties with restricted information as correctly, a state of affairs that no person would ever want to be. But hey, the rewards are sometimes properly definitely worth the hazard (and ache!).

When onboarding buyers, you’ve got to strategies to know and understand your them. You can use the usual channels, corresponding to an interview or voice title. However, these widespread methods may actually really feel lacking, counting on what you want to accomplish. First-timers are moreover inclined to lose themselves in a sea of information, and likewise you’ll need strategies to navigate it.

Fortunately, there are tools that you just want 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 for you to provide the possibility to ship on time with little to no revisions. Here are a variety of the tools that I’ve been using and why I imagine they’re worth your time. Though these slot in my non-public workflow I take into account it is attainable you will uncover one factor might be simply best for you.


Miro is: Perfect for grabbing your client’s likes, dislikes, design pegs and ideas. Very environment friendly when used along with a video conferencing machine (i.e. Zoom). I usually use these in UX durations with every buyers and group members, significantly the tip clients.

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

Miro’s most interesting attribute is its clear UI, intuitive actions, and responsive interactions. Editing in Miro is a pleasure to experience. This, coupled with a real-time enhancing function for your work, is a very conducive environment to get creative.

Miro has collaboration built-into its DNA. It has a chat, a real-time enhancing attribute, and a reside cursor view. These choices indicate added interactivity, making conversations livelier than sooner than. This makes people further open to discuss, which is your purpose when gathering information.

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

All in all, Miro is a steady machine for you to attempt to use when collaborating with people. The draw again is that if contributors aren’t exactly motivated to participate in these types of exercises, Miro’s choices will fall flat.

Milanote is: A structured method of capturing ideas, organizing your initiatives and gathering property. Folders and initiatives might be nested infinitely, so that you probably can drill down deeper into an thought as needed. Best for visually organizing design pegs, work, and drafts. Collaboration is good because you probably can edit and comment in real-time, share with teammates, and invite buyers as collaborators into your workspace.

Milanote’s vitality is in its group: You can create initiatives inside initiatives, and even folders inside a enterprise. You can nest a variety of these inside initiatives or actions.

This permits you to organise information or initiatives from large, strategic, overarching plans down to a variety of subtasks nested inside each other. Like Miro, you probably can collaborate with totally different group members — however it absolutely focuses on visually organising your initiatives, notes and suggestions.

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

Milanote moreover has a variety of collaborative choices corresponding to tagging, commenting and further. And since each factor is organized visually, it is easy to navigate and work with it does not matter what place you’re in — be it developer, designer, writer or enterprise supervisor.

Another vitality to keep in mind is that Milanote has a web-based clipper — one factor that Evernote and Microsoft OneDiscover even have. This internet clipper saves your clips in your Unsorted pile in Milanote, the place you probably can categorize it later. Perfect for mood boards!

Looking to mix Milanote? Integrations might be found here.

What it is: Another specific contender for being a chief data assortment machine for onboarding buyers. You can 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 corporations.

I’ve seen Notion in movement principally by totally different teams corresponding to system integrators, engineering and promoting and advertising and marketing. Notion is an all-in-one platform for collaboration. You can assemble inside tools corresponding to tables, databases, wikis, notes, notes, enterprise supervisor and a purchaser relationship supervisor (CRM).

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

You have the entire bells and whistles for a gaggle collaboration software program program, corresponding to reside enhancing, shared workspaces, shared docs and course of administration. Like Milanote, Notion moreover has a web-based clipper, so that you probably can quickly retailer references and information from the web if you happen to occur to’re doing evaluation.

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

Another key attribute is that Notion might be built-in with suppliers by means of Zapier and Automate, so if you already have an current net web page or internet sort that captures client requests or requirements, you probably can merely redirect the transfer from there proper right into a database in Notion.

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

Notion shines the best in case you’ve got a paid account, however it absolutely has a free tier that is restricted with what you’re able to do for your enterprise. You gained’t provide the possibility to run your enterprise on that platform, nonetheless you probably can collaborate with your buyers and group members (or relations) with Notion.

What it is: I exploit Evernote to seize information and client requirements. I moreover purchase data, samples and sources from the online using Evernote with its browser add-ons (primarily Chrome). Also, creating new notes in Evernote permits you to use one among their built-in templates — the place you’ll be able to start a enterprise, weekly plan or a plain pointers. One further extremely efficient performance is for you to make templates for model new notes — wonderful in case you’ve got a format you want over the default ones.

Evernote has been my go-to machine when it comes to taking notes, capturing ideas, and sometimes merely jotting in drafts and sketches. When writing meeting minutes, Evernote may also be a extraordinarily good machine as a result of it has a library of templates to choose from: GTD, meeting minutes, enterprise planning, promoting and advertising and marketing, 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 recommendations and suggestions for using Evernote for a particular 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.

Another favourite 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 study on tablets and cell devices.

Another sturdy stage for Evernote is its integrations with completely totally different suppliers, offering you with the potential to automate your data capturing workflow. As an occasion, in case you’ve got your buyers over at MS Teams, or in Slack, you probably can merely push your conversations into an archive in Evernote for easy trying and entry.

Capturing client requirements using Evernote would actually have a significantly straightforward workflow: create a observe with sorts in it, share the observe to a client for enhancing — though this could require the buyer to have an account in Evernote, so your mileage may fluctuate.

It works most interesting along with current conferencing or collaboration tools, corresponding to(*5*) or WebEx.

One ache stage for me in Evernote is you might’t draw over your current typed textual content material. It might not be a dealbreaker 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.

What it is: My fallback machine. If one thing, OneDiscover affords a clear canvas — every a vitality and a weak spot — the place you probably can write ideas, draw them and further. The single most crucial attribute OneDiscover has over the rest is the potential to type in textual content material, after which write over the typed textual content material. This stage of flexibility has been very useful for me when capturing ideas, significantly when meeting face to face with buyers which may be chatterboxes.

OneDiscover comes free and usually preinstalled in most Windows devices, so it’s easy to get into the OneDiscover recreation. It is principally a one, large, clear pocket ebook the place you probably can add practically one thing: pictures, textual content material, hyperlinks, articles, sketches, and even embed films.

You can mix OneDiscover with positive suppliers, too, by means of Zapier.

OneDiscover moreover carries with it your Sticky Notes, which can be accessed normally by means of the Windows desktop app. On cell, these Sticky Notes are accessible and searchable. If you might have a pen you probably may even draw on them. What’s most interesting is you might draw on current pictures and textual content material!

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

It’s very environment friendly when used along with 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 OneDiscover. But on the same time, it isn’t a tool to be used alone. You use it with conferencing tools, corresponding to Zoom, WebEx and even MS Teams. If you and your group are in Office 365 or Microsoft 365, it actually works correctly and is tightly built-in with all Office Apps (Word, Excel, Outlook, Power Point, and so forth.).

My workflow

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

Step 1

For a design enterprise, I title and chat with a client whereas sharing screens on Milanote. Afterwards, I create a list of movement devices inside the app, then share it with the buyer. I may create a enterprise Mood Board for setting seen pegs and design ideas to set the final route and tone. Clients and group members contact upon the mood boards and design pegs, after which might be utilized as a basis for the work inside the subsequent step.

Step 2

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

This differs though for technical writing initiatives, the place there is a set customary of writing sort and building. What I do as an alternative choice to these is to work out the final tone of the docs, whether or not or not or not it is conversational, or perky, or vigorous, or neutral. After which I share the observe with the buyer finalizing the sort, after which I start work on the outline and drafts.

Step 3

For enchancment initiatives, it runs practically the similar as a result of the design enterprise. I add a further observe the place we itemizing your entire requirements needed for the app, as well as to design pegs that the buyer has in ideas for the UI and UX of the attribute. We run these workshops with the buyer and its stakeholders to make it possible for what we seize is full enough to assemble a viable product that they’re going to be every proud of and experience.

Step 4

For enterprise administration duties, I primarily use Milanote to collaboratively share and annotate duties with the group and the buyer. If there’s an accessible code repository and design asset library, I hyperlink it inside Milanote for them to work with. If I’m collaborating with large teams, Miro and Notion will get the bigger slice of the pie, however it absolutely largely depends upon if the group is already on board the platform or not.


To summarize, use tools that be simply best for you and your group. Tools work most interesting solely when their clients know and work with the system to its capabilities. Any one among these tools can (and might) shine by means of the darkness of uncertainty, significantly when working with new initiatives, buyers, and ideas.

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

Go ahead and experiment with these and see what works and what doesn’t. And lastly, no machine is used alone — there’ll always be gaps in a product, even with in all probability probably the most well-thought strategies. Keep in ideas to save a backup of your work someplace as an archive, so that you might be sure to have entry even when the strategies go down or flip into inaccessible.