The importance of discovery for your new website

and how it can save you time and money in the long run.

Published on 10th December, 2021

blogHints and Tips

So you've decided your business needs a new feature on it's website, or even perhaps you need a whole new website itself. How do you start on the process of having nothing, to having a website that does exactly what your business needs it to do.

The first, and arguably most important phase of the process is the discovery process.

What is the discovery process?

The purpose of the discovery process in any web design or development is to create a common understanding amongst everybody involved with the project. When working on smaller websites or applications, that is generally the product owner and the designer/developer working on it. However, for bigger projects, or bigger companies with multiple stakeholders, it can be a much larger team needed to be involved in the process.

Why is discovery important?

We consider the discovery phase the most important phase of planning and designing your project. A discovery process that's well thought out and executed can save time and money, as well as avoiding any unexpected costs later in the project.

It is vital that project owners bring their fullest set of requirements, even if they appear to be obvious. If something is missed here that needs to be added in later on, this increases the scope of the proposal and increases the cost of the project.

Each requirement must be set out from beginning to end, including what the requirements goal is - for example, does having an automated system in place for deliveries save you time and labour? Or are you expecting something else from it?

Without knowing these expectations, the project is set up for failure from day 1.

To ensure you get the most out of our services, we need the right understanding of what needs to be achieved. This way we can measure whether we are meeting your expectations, and crucially, discover ways to fix where we are not.

What techniques are used in discovery

Project Kickoff Meeting

This is the first stage of discovery. If we're at kick off stage, you'll have signed a contract and paid a deposit. The project can get underway!

But before we write a line of code or design a page, we need to deep dive into what is likely to have been the briefest briefs at our introduction meeting! The project kickoff meeting is a chance to discuss technical issues, and potential roadblocks. It's usually here that extra requirements come out (don't worry, this is perfectly normal, and in fact a bit of a surprise if it doesn't happen!).

It is important that anyone with any interest from the client side is present at the meeting.

Goals and Competitor Review

From the project kickoff meeting we will have a full understanding of your needs, and the functionalities required to achieve these. For example, a top-level goal might be to sell products or services, take bookings or educate, but the real question is how to we do that. It's not always as easy as making something look nicer. For example, we can look at ways of boosting engagements, building email subscribers and encouraging conversions, among countless other things.

We will also take into account what your competitors are doing, to try and gain an advantage in your market place.

User Journeys

A really good way of making sure your website is delivering for your business is to use 'User Journeys'. We will create User personas for your website, and see how your requirements match with theirs. This is a great discovery tool, not just for us, but for you too, as sometimes you can see where you are not hitting the mark with certain sections of your demographic.

Impact Mapping

We will break down your goals from the Kickoff meeting and take them through the impact mapping process. This takes each goal, matches it with a relevant user story, and shows what impacts we need to make on them, and gives us ideas for deliverables on how to do that.

Impact mapping is fast, visual and collaborative. It makes it easy to engage people from various roles and backgrounds, expose hidden assumptions and document important decisions.

Impact Mapping provides just enough structure to facilitate effective planning and prioritisation, but does not get in the way with complicated syntax or bureaucracy.

Then what?

Now we have some requirements and some findings, we can get to work designing and building your project. But these findings don't just go in a draw never to be seen again - they are a living document that can be added to along the project life cycle, that drives every decision and ensuring success.

Interested in working with us? Get in touch using the contact form below!