Identify Key Stakeholders
After finding as much information as you can on your own, it’s time to go straight to the source and research the problem from the perspective of the people it affects.
Step 1 of 2
You will ultimately want to define a specific target audience who will be the primary “users” of your mobile app. However, because some problems might affect multiple audiences, it is best not to limit your research to any one target group just yet. Instead, begin by brainstorming the categories of people who have a “stake” in your problem - in other words, your stakeholders. "Stakeholders" might include the people the problem hurts, the people who contribute to the problem, and other organizations, companies or government actors who are critical to either the problem or the solution.
Step 2 of 2
Under each stakeholder, note ways that they are related to the problem and ways they may be related to the solution. Keep this list as a reference during the steps that follow.
It would be very difficult to design one app that meets the unique needs of all of your stakeholders, so it will eventually be best to focus your solution to a specific target group. This will help you to explore their specific needs and perspective as early as possible, and help you to focus and refine the app when you get into the Create phase. While you may not have a specific target user identified before your stakeholder research, you should start to identify possible target groups now, so that you can begin to explore their behaviors, attitudes, education, location, and mobile habits. If it is already clear who will be the target “users” of your app, you can use the Research activities that follow to begin focusing in on them.
Your research methods in the HEAR stage should be generative rather than evaluative - meaning, they encourage people to help generate new knowledge and understanding, and surface new ideas or opportunities that you may not have expected - rather than simply evaluating your own ideas or assumptions with feedback or input.