Who are we designing for? How will they use what we are designing? Do they need it? What backend technologies does the client have at their disposal? What new ones are they open to trying? Who else has tried this and how have they succeeded or failed?
Once you have design goals you need to gather as much information as possible to make sure you are designing a solution that will fulfil those goals. You simply cannot design without researching the landscape. Just like you can’t build a house without surveying the land.