The Insight 360 Brief for UX

The creative brief has been a cornerstone of advertising and marketing for decades, emphasizing target definition, objective clarification, messaging, and brand positioning for alignment. However, traditional brief formats, centered on messaging, fall short in user experience design, where real-time understanding and influence of user behavior is the goal. This discrepancy implies that traditional briefing methods may not meet the needs of modern UX projects, which demand a deeper engagement with how users interact with and respond to designs.





Process Enhancement



5 Years of Refinement

The Backdrop

Creative briefs revolutionized advertising and marketing by serving as a strategic compass, aligning campaigns to brand objectives, audience insights, and desired outcomes with precision. This foundational tool elevated clarity, creativity, and cross-functional cohesion, ultimately enhancing advertising impact industry-wide.

However, in the digital era, traditional briefs often fall short for user experience design's focus on influencing user behavior versus straightforward communication. While seminal for messaging alignment, modern UX demands briefs that go deeper - aligning project execution to user interaction and engagement outcomes.


Executed on 2023 Projects


Approval for UX Research


Typical UEQ Score Increase

The Challenge

Without an effective UX brief, my team faced critical challenges:

  • Centering stakeholder briefs predominantly on messaging, risking overlooking critical UX elements like usability and functionality.

  • Needing performance indicators tied to user behaviors and outcomes to design towards and demonstrate value.

  • Lacking strategic alignment between business goals and design direction across stakeholders.

  • Requiring streamlined, practical guidance instead of tangential details diluting focus.

  • Striving to balance innovation with commercial viability so creativity enhances business success.

Resolving these issues required completely reimagining the brief and realigning its strategic power to the modern priorities of user experience design - meaningful interactions that further measurable objectives supporting business growth.

The Opportunity

While the core creative brief concept remained sound, resolving our team’s challenges required reimagining it specifically for modern user experience design needs. We saw an opportunity to elevate the strategic value this tool offered—not by starting from scratch, but by reinventing it to address UX priorities like measurable objectives tied to user behaviors and simplified guidance enabling excellence in execution.

Our vision was to retain the brief’s essence as an alignment mechanism while evolving it to center user experience enablement grounded in cross-functional strategic alignment. This next-generation brief aimed at a higher standard focused directly on user behavior enablement versus straightforward messaging—setting a new bar for experience-centered digital products.

We would realign creative briefing to user interactions and engagement outcomes, bridging isolation through briefs acting as strategy documents linking stakeholder perspectives to user needs analysis. The result would be unified focus on what matters most: positive UX tied to business success.

In effect, we sought to amplify the brief, to make it stronger, more relevant and attuned to user experience design’s expanded suite of cultural, behavioral and strategic considerations.

The time had come for a new kind of brief—one ready for the digital age. One we ultimately coined as the Insight 360 Brief.

The Insight 360 Brief Format

The Insight 360 Brief streamlines the integration of strategic business thinking with human-centered design, focusing on user experience through a concise, practical framework. It embodies simplicity and executability, structured into five core sections with an addendum for mechanical requirements:

Market Opportunity:

Define the market opportunity the initiative aims to capture based on trends, gaps, needs, or potential value identified for target users. Expresses where the business can uniquely position itself.

Business Goals:

State the business goals that capitalize on the market opportunity and that define intended value propositions.

Target Behaviors:

Detail priority user behaviors that indicate achievement of the stated business goals. Keep behaviors measurable and specific. These will form the basis of your OKRs and KPIs.

Behavioral Motivators:

Describe psychological motivations like user needs and pain points that are most likely to motivate the target behaviors.

Target Audience:

Describe demographic, psychographic, preference and other relevant profile factors on the target audience to effectively customize engagement strategies to who they are. We developed the Prism Persona model to facilitate this step.


Mechanical Requirements

Detail the technical and functional specifications necessary to support the strategy outlined in the Insight 360 Brief. This includes infrastructure, tools, platforms, and systems required to implement and measure the initiative's success. Define the criteria for user interface design, accessibility standards, and any other technology needs that ensure the project's feasibility and operability. It should also outline the resources needed for development, maintenance, and scalability to achieve the desired user experience and business outcomes. This section is crucial for understanding the practical aspects of execution and serves as a bridge between strategy and operationalization.

Get the Brief

PDF v.1.3.2 | Rev November 2023

The Reversible Core

The UX brief’s core sections form a logical progression of assumptions from a business strategy perspective as it cascades top-down from opportunity to objectives to behaviors and so on. Each level builds upon the one above it.

However, the design thinking ethos flows bottoms-up, from audience to motivations to behaviors—seeking to validate business assumptions through reasoning upwards. The question becomes: if behaviors indicate our audience and their motivations, do our objectives still align to the opportunity?

This clever reversal around the pivotal behavior section is where magic happens. Behaviors become the bridge, the two-way mirror. Design thinking validates strategy bottoms-up, confirming or refuting assumptions. Strategy contextualizes behaviors for impact top-down.

In this way, the UX brief enables fluid traversal between critical viewpoints. It evolves traditional linear briefs by integrating validation cycles tied to priority user behaviors. This agility makes the UX brief a versatile aligner. It dynamically bridges strategy and insights across domains to meet users where they are while actualizing intended business outcomes.

The reversible flow is what unlocks the UX brief’s capability to marry understanding of current audience realities with vision for future opportunities. And pivotally, it accelerates revelation of winning innovation through a sharp focus on behavior.