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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Many customer requests are complicated, involving complete end-to-end solutions. In many cases adding to the complexity is that these solutions must be integrated into an existing system. This article focuses on complex requests and the value of use of experience design tools to support the BA in meeting customer goals.

For the BA to demonstrate understanding of a request, work at speed, and gain consensus, the BA approach to elicitation matters.

The BA approach should support continuous communications, speedy responses, common understanding, risk mitigation and collaboration across distance and time. In the case of complex requests where the analyst writes detailed requirements up front, this may in fact result in miscommunications, reduced speed, and restrained collaboration. Most customers are business managers where an approach that generates upfront details may overwhelm the customer and obscure the view of the end-to-end solution putting the customer and BA in a “can’t see the forest from the tree’s” scenario.

Approach selection typically determines how efficiently and effectively the BA meets the customers’ need which in most cases is to demonstrate to the customer “you heard me”, “show me what I requested”, and “prove progress toward a solution, a road map”. IIBA’s BABOK defines knowledge areas containing strategies, guidelines, and techniques that provide an array of approaches to elicitation.

One efficient technique is the use of a prototype. It is said, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Prototyping is a proven method for product design and helps a great deal in providing an early model of the final result.

Prototyping, in this case, will highlight the use of experience design tools for web and mobile apps in support of elicitation activities for complex requests. Complex requests are an indicator for the use of prototypes.




The use of an experience design tool is typically cloud-based supporting collaboration and communications. These types of tools as well support a big picture view giving the customer the ability to experience what the solution might be without the time and development expense.

Users do not experience database, integrations, or technical details. They are impacted by them, however, the user experiences UI’s, workflows, processes, features, and functions. Prototypes encourage common understanding by supporting the ability of the customer to walk through the solution model that incorporates UI’s, processes, workflows and features and functions.


There are several industry leading experience design tools that support solution prototyping. This article will not detail specific tools, rather it is to focus on the value of the use of these tools in satisfying complex business requests. Experience Design tools provide the ability for the business analyst to document requirements in the form of a prototype as described by the customer. The value of an experience design tool is that it supports the BA’s ability to create a simulated solution that,

  • The customers may walk through, make comments, suggest changes, discover the unexpected, use for demonstration purposes and more…
  • The technical team as well may walk through the proposed solution asking questions, making suggestions, prioritizing work, planning technical details, and coming to a common agreement using the additional documented requirements.
  • The BA can plan and write the requirements from the customer-approved prototype without leaving out any details. The prototype assets (i.e., UI’s, processes etc.) can be reused in the documented requirements to provide the needed details.

In conclusion, experience design tools can reduce misunderstanding, encourage communications and collaboration, support progress, and more. Consider adding experience design tool skills to your BA toolbox. A picture is undoubtedly worth a thousand words!