In the last year, we've seen user experience and product development teams' budgets and timelines slashed. Among the first things that get dropped are site visits to observe and document how customers (mostly business users) do their jobs today. The pressures to skip this step are great. Travel budgets have been slashed. Account execs don't want their customers and prospects disturbed by naïve people asking stupid questions. The engineers, product managers, and subject matter experts usually come from the field or from customer companies, so they feel that they "know" the end-users' requirements and context pretty well. So they rely on phone interviews to validate requirements and on user acceptance testing to fine tune their product designs.