5 useful tools to understand your client’s needs

Easier collaboration

Being a freelancer is a frightening job for anybody. Be it a designer, author, developer or UXer, freelancing is a full-time (and generally 24-hour) job. You will want to anticipate, plan and assure your shopper’s needs and needs, and ship with restricted time and belongings.

Sometimes, you want to accomplish duties with restricted info as correctly, a state of affairs nobody likes.

But hey, the rewards are generally successfully effectively well worth the hazard (and ache!).

When onboarding purchasers, you will have methods to know and understand them. You can use the same old channels, comparable to an interview or voice determine. However, these typical strategies would possibly truly actually really feel missing, relying on what you need to accomplish. First-timers are furthermore inclined to lose themselves in a sea of knowledge, and likewise you’ll want methods to navigate it.

Fortunately, there are tools that you just need to use to assist streamline your workflow in getting to know and in understanding your shopper.

These tools ought to current you the way in which to elevated seize concepts, ideas and needs so that you simply presumably can ship on time with few if any revisions. Here are a few of the tools that I’ve been utilizing and why I contemplate they’re value your time.


Miro is: Perfect for grabbing your shopper’s likes, dislikes, design pegs and concepts. Very atmosphere pleasant when used along with a video conferencing instrument (i.e. Zoom). I normally use these in UX durations with each purchasers and staff members, considerably the tip prospects.

I’ve used Miro for a while now, considerably with design actions and workshops.

Miro’s greatest selections are its:

  • Clean UI
  • Intuitive actions
  • Responsive interactions

Editing in Miro is a pleasure to expertise. This, coupled with a real-time modifying perform for your work, is a extraordinarily conducive ambiance to get inventive.

Miro has collaboration constructed appropriate in. It has a chat, a real-time modifying carry out, and a reside cursor view. These selections point out added interactivity, making conversations livelier than prior to. This makes folks additional open to talk about, which is your purpose when gathering info.

What else can I say?

Miro is certainly a sandbox the place you, your staff and purchasers can fiddle with concepts, notes and additional. Project administration can also be accomplished inside Miro, and with its real-time updates to the dashboard and to the workspace, it would truly actually really feel like that you just merely’re working contained in the workplace as shortly as as quickly as further.

Overall, Miro is a gradual instrument for you to use when collaborating with folks. The draw once more is that if contributors aren’t motivated to take part in these sorts of workouts, Miro’s selections will fall flat.

Milanote is: A structured technique of capturing concepts, organizing your duties and accumulating belongings. Folders and duties is maybe nested infinitely, so that you simply presumably can drill down deeper into an thought as wished. Best for visually organizing design pegs, art work work, and drafts. Collaboration is nice since you presumably can edit and remark in real-time, share with teammates, and invite purchasers as collaborators into your workspace.

Milanote has all the time been a darling for lots of who love good visuals and selections in an app.

Milanote’s power is in its group: You can create duties inside duties, and even folders inside a endeavor. You can nest quite a few these inside duties or actions.

This permits you to organize info or duties from large, strategic, overarching plans down to loads of subtasks nested inside one another. Like Miro, you presumably can collaborate with fully totally different staff members — nonetheless it completely focuses on visually organizing your duties, notes and recommendations.

As Milanote is akin to a planner (albeit an extra collaborative and visible one), you presumably can create duties utilizing built-in templates that can merely data you in ending them.

Milanote furthermore has quite a few collaborative selections comparable to tagging, commenting and additional. And since the entire points is organized visually, it’s easy to navigate and work with it will not matter what place you’re in — be it developer, designer, author or endeavor supervisor.

Another power to think about is that Milanote has a web-based clipper — one issue that Evernote and Microsoft OneUncover even have. This internet clipper saves your clips in your unsorted pile in Milanote, the place you presumably can categorize it later. Perfect for temper boards!

Looking to combine Milanote? Integrations is maybe discovered here.

Notion screenshot

What it’s: Another express contender for being a extreme knowledge assortment instrument for onboarding purchasers. You can set it to have databases, folders, nested duties, info bases and additional. Notion has workspaces and shared notes and docs. It’s very useful for groups and in corporations.

I’ve seen Notion in motion largely by fully totally different groups comparable to system integrators, engineering and selling. Notion is an all-in-one platform for collaboration. You can assemble inside tools comparable to tables, databases, wikis, notes, notes, endeavor 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 all of the bells and whistles for a staff collaboration software program program program, comparable to reside modifying, shared workspaces, shared docs and job administration. Like Milanote, Notion furthermore has a web-based clipper, so that you simply presumably can shortly retailer references and knowledge from the web in case you’re doing analysis.

Capturing knowledge from purchasers utilizing Notion is comparable with fully totally different collaboration tools: create a web-based internet web page/wiki to share with a client, grant entry, after which give consideration to contained within the app.

Another key carry out is that Notion is maybe built-in with suppliers by Zapier and Automate, so if you have already got an current internet internet web page or internet type that captures shopper requests or necessities, you presumably can merely redirect the circulation into from there correct proper right into a database in Notion.

(*5*) from the Notion staff furthermore particulars the way you’re in a position to do it.

Notion shines the perfect if in case you have a paid account, nonetheless has a free tier that’s restricted with what you are in a position to do for your enterprise (although you is maybe actually intelligent and might nonetheless use Notion regardless of the restrictions on free). You obtained’t have the prospect to run your enterprise on that platform, nonetheless you presumably can collaborate with your purchasers and staff members (or relations) with Notion.

Evernote screenshot

What it’s: I profit from Evernote to seize info and shopper necessities. I furthermore acquire knowledge, samples and sources from the web utilizing Evernote with its browser add-ons (primarily Chrome). Also, creating new notes in Evernote permits you to use truly one among their built-in templates — the place you presumably can begin a endeavor, weekly plan or a plain pointers. One additional extraordinarily environment friendly efficiency is for you to make templates for mannequin spanking new notes — fantastic if in case you have a format you favor over the default ones.

Evernote has been my go-to instrument when it comes to taking notes, capturing concepts, and generally merely jotting in drafts and sketches. When writing assembly minutes, Evernote can also be a terribly good instrument because of it has a library of templates to select from: GTD, assembly minutes, endeavor planning, selling, product gross sales calls, agenda, and novel plotting!

Since Evernote has an enormous neighborhood of customers and advocates from all via industries, you’ll all the time uncover options and techniques for utilizing Evernote for a specific job.

With near-unlimited storage capabilities even on the free tier, it is also attainable to make use of Evernote with out breaking the financial institution.

Another favourite for me is the WebClipper, which I’ve used extensively ever since I’ve began utilizing 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 cell units.

Another sturdy diploma for Evernote is its integrations with fully fully totally different suppliers, supplying you with the potential to automate your knowledge capturing workflow. As an event, if in case you have your purchasers over at MS Teams, or in Slack, you presumably can merely push your conversations into an archive in Evernote for easy making an attempt and entry.

Capturing shopper necessities utilizing Evernote would even have a considerably easy workflow: create a keep in mind with types in it, share the keep in mind to a client for modifying — although it will require the patron to have an account in Evernote, so your mileage would possibly fluctuate.

It works greatest along with current conferencing or collaboration tools, comparable to(*5*) or WebEx.

One ache diploma for me in Evernote is which you may’t draw over your current typed textual content material materials. It won’t be a deal breaker for some, nonetheless for me it diminishes considerably little little bit of the consolation of use and the pliability of Evernote as an all-in-one keep in mind taking and collaboration app.

Onenote screenshot

What it’s: My fallback instrument. If one factor, OneUncover presents a transparent canvas — each an affect and a weak degree — the place you presumably can write concepts, draw them and additional. The single most important carry out OneUncover has over the remaining is the potential to kind in textual content material materials, after which write over the typed textual content material materials. This stage of flexibility has been very useful for me when capturing concepts, considerably when assembly face to face with purchasers which are chatterboxes.

OneUncover comes free and generally preinstalled in most Windows units, so it’s easy to get into the OneUncover recreation. It is principally one large, clear pocket e book the place you presumably can add practically one factor: photos, textual content material materials, hyperlinks, articles, sketches, and even embed movement photos.

You can combine OneUncover with sure suppliers, too, by Zapier.

OneUncover furthermore carries with it your Sticky Notes, which is perhaps accessed usually by the Windows desktop app. On cell, these Sticky Notes are accessible and searchable. If you have acquired a pen, you presumably could even draw on them. What’s greatest is which you may draw on current photos and textual content material materials!

As that is primarily a note-taking app, why would OneUncover be correct proper right here on this itemizing?

It’s very atmosphere pleasant when used along with fully totally different tools. Its clear canvas is as extraordinarily environment friendly as a result of it is daunting: you are in a position to do, write and draw one factor with OneUncover. But on the equal time, it isn’t a instrument to be used alone. You use it with conferencing tools, comparable to Zoom, WebEx and even MS Teams. If you and your staff are in Office 365 or Microsoft 365, it truly 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 profit from a mixture of all these tools, nonetheless not precisely all of them. I profit from largely two or three at a time. Some examples:

Step 1

For a design endeavor, I determine and chat with a client whereas sharing screens on Milanote. Afterwards, I create an inventory of motion units contained in the app, after which share it with the patron. I may also create a endeavor Mood Board for setting seen pegs and design concepts to set the general path and tone. Clients and staff members contact upon the temper boards and design pegs, after which can be utilized as a foundation for the work inside the next step.

Step 2

For a writing gig, I usually interview the patron with regards to the path and imaginative and prescient. I profit from Evernote’s built-in templates to interview and seize info. Some purchasers I’ve labored with beforehand (pre-COVID) would get interviewed face to face, paying consideration to what they give attention to when it comes to their primary path and imaginative and prescient of the final phrase product.

This differs although for technical writing duties, the place there’s a set common of writing development and growth. What I do as an alternative choice to these is to work out the general tone of the docs, whether or not or not or not it’s conversational, or perky, or energetic, or impartial. After which I share the keep in mind with the patron finalizing the model, after which I begin work on the define and drafts.

Step 3

For enchancment duties, it runs practically the equal because of the design endeavor. I add an additional keep in mind the place we itemizing the whole necessities wished for the app, in addition to to design pegs that the patron has in concepts for the UI and UX of the carry out. We run these workshops with the patron and its stakeholders to ensure that what we seize is full ample to assemble a viable product that they are going to be each proud of and luxuriate in.

Step 4

For endeavor administration duties, I primarily use Milanote to collaboratively share and annotate duties with the staff and the patron. 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 groups, Miro and Notion will get the larger slice of the pie, nonetheless it completely largely relies upon upon if the staff is already on board the platform or not.


To summarize, use tools that be merely greatest for you and your staff. Tools work greatest solely when their prospects know and work with the system to its capabilities. Any truly one among these tools can (and will) shine by the darkness of uncertainty, considerably when working with new duties, purchasers, and concepts.

Most of those tools have overlapping selections and capabilities, and it doesn’t damage to confirm them out!

Go forward, experiment with these, and see what works and what doesn’t. Finally, no instrument is used alone — there’ll all the time be gaps in a product, even with most likely in all probability essentially the most well-thought functions. Keep in concepts to save a backup of your work someplace as an archive, so that you would possibly ensure to have entry even when the functions go down or turn into inaccessible.

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