Strategies are responsible for successful plan execution. The process and project deliverables are already there for a website design and development, but how do you ensure that the process goes effectively? The website discovery phase helps ensure that the new website will meet your goals.
We all are very well aware of the fact that building a website is not an easy and quick process. Additionally, building a fully-functional website costs a good amount of expense. We don’t want all that resources and efforts to go to waste with a website being missing on the website discovery session.
Let’s take a look at what is a website discovery session and how it will become the first step in every design and development project you execute.
What is the Website Discovery Phase?
The website discovery phase is a ten-step process of discovering, researching, and defining the scope of your project. It is focused on defining the outcomes more than defining the deliverables. Overall, what you want to achieve and the discovery phase will help strategize the process. It helps define the process optimum way and brings everyone to the same table to clarify what goals they should collectively work on.
This discovery session brings the whole crew together – the marketing team, designers and developers. It helps in understanding what you want to achieve with the project on individual grounds and how you will perform it best. Moreover, it allows you to define your requirements, features, and business goals before implementing the website development process.
The website discovery phase helps build a product into what it truly needs. The unnecessary features are removed from the list in the early stage. This allows agencies to work closely with each of their clients. It allows the developers and designers to understand the business better and make better decisions.
Why do you need to conduct a discovery phase?
This is the early stage where the team becomes more familiar with the client’s products, ideas, business, and overall organizational goals. This is a huge help for developers and designers. They build better and more relevant solutions for the project. It allows them to make smart and informed changes to your project.
An objective-focused step
The whole discovery phase focuses on the objectives. At this stage, the purpose and objectives are defined, and how they will be achieved effectively is also planned out. Primarily every project focuses on the deliverables. A website being delivered at the right time within the budget doesn’t ensure the project’s success.
Importantly, the deliverable should meet the company’s objectives. The website discovery phase helps discover the potential features and approaches to make the website work in your business’s favour.
Not forgetting that the most important aspect of the website is the user experience. Without it, there’s no meeting the defined objectives. While many design processes focus on design and features, they fail to acknowledge that the product is ultimately for the users.
Firstly, the team needs to learn about the user needs and understand the user behavior to build a website that serves both the user needs and the business objectives.
A better understanding of the project
The website discovery phase is a discovery session involving everyone onboard in the project. This helps all of the people to get on the page regarding the project scope. The biggest benefit will be lower the risks of costly mistakes with a better understanding of the organizational goals and the project’s purpose.
Key elements for a successful discovery phase
Conducting the initial research
Research stands as a base for every successful project. Here, two types of research will need to be done for the discovery session. One is internal research to clarify the goals and vision of the company. The initial research will help clarify the details about the company, the target audience, and the user problems.
While conducting the user research during the discovery session, the researchers focus on the parameters like demographics instead of the problems they face. You can use user journey mapping to track down what is actually stopping the target users from converting. This will help in the product discovery process to see user needs, objections, and touchpoints they go through.
Post the user research; you will need to visualize and present the user research performed. The second research will be done by the design and development team. This step will consist of competitive analysis, industry research, design ideation, custom features, and more. The user research ultimately aids in building an effective UX while also going through the current analytics and usability testing before the redesign.
Clarify specifications and goals
The success you define for your website to achieve stands as a base for the specifications. The specifications are completely based on the ultimate success you define that you want to achieve with your website. The discovery session helps identify the core features and remove the unnecessary ones from your website. This will include all the CTAs, the search feature, or a blog.
If you are unsure about the functionalities, you can list them and present them to the developers. After all, the purpose of the discovery phase clarifies the goals for everyone working on the same project. When you define success, you should identify the parameters of the success, whether it will be the engagement rate or benchmark against the existing statistics. The team should opt for the key performance indicators when no current version is available.
However, if the features and specs are undefined, you can’t ensure the project’s success.
Firstly, with the user research and specs defined in the discovery session, you shouldn’t lose focus on the value delivered to the users. Since it should meet their actual needs, the digital solution should solve user problems.
Secondly, the value proposition will vary on the type of digital service you are providing. The service is the application itself if it’s a mobile application. While for an eCommerce website, the value proposition resides in the product or the services you sell. The value proposition needs to be defined early in the website discovery phase so that you can tell the users why they should spare their attention to the services you offer.
Understanding the broader aspect
There’s more to the discovery session beyond the technical aspects. There will always be either foreseen or uncertain factors that will arise during or after the project. To prevent any major costly mistakes or revamp of the website, make yourself and your team clear of such things.
Firstly, don’t forget to review and understand the services similar to yours to check what the other platform or services are delivering and how. It could be technical and non-technical aspects of it. The same goes for the competition. It is in the good favour to keep a check on your competition. Simultaneously, it will give you a wider insight into how you will position your website in the market.
Ultimately, these will help you save time and resources in the long run.
To conclude, the discovery phase isn’t just about the technical aspects. The discovery session becomes an encouragement to be more creative in comprehensively solving the user needs and organizational goals. One such empowering and informative process, the discovery phase, should be every project’s priority and on your must-do list to build better solutions.