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The "Discovery Phase" Lesson is part of the full, Mastering the Design Process course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul briefly discusses the discovery phase of a design process as being dedicated to defining problems to be solved and the project's scope. These can be determined through user research, stakeholder interviews, competitive analysis research constraints, and reviewing the existing website/app.


Transcript from the "Discovery Phase" Lesson

>> Okay, discovery, what is it? Well, discovery phase is a period of time, which can be anything from a single workshop if it's a very cheap project to about eight weeks for a bigger internal project. The phase is just dedicated to defining the problem that needs to be solved, and the project's scope.

And it's also there to help unearth any potential issues that might come up, right? Is there legacy technology that's gonna limit us is there compliance issues that are gonna limit us. So we clear about who the user or the audience is, have we done our user research? What are our feelings about accessibility?

Who's gonna run this site for the long term? All of those questions you deal within discovery up front. So why should you do this? So carrying out discovery fails helps to reduce your scope creep because it will uncover any constraints to the design and provide better context for decision making during the project.

So what do you actually do in the discovery phase? How do you run them? Typically you'll do some user research, you'll interview any key stakeholders that are involved in the project. You might wanna carry out a competitive analysis, that's something that sometimes I do in discoveries depends on the size of the project.

You research any constraints that exist around the project. And you might review any website or apps or anything kind of that is there already serving a similar purpose. So that's all the things you could do in a discovery phase, but I'm very conscious that there are probably people watching this that are, working on much smaller projects and it's like, well, that's quite a lot.

I've only got five grand budget for the whole thing. So you don't need to do all of that, you can condense your discovery phase into a kickoff meeting or something similar. So what is the minimum that I like to do with the discovery phase when budgets are really tight or when I'm advising agencies with really tight budgets?

Well, I kinda do a couple of things. First of all, I do something called an empathy mapping, right? So I'll sit down with the client and we'll brainstorm some basic stuff about the audience we're trying to reach, what tasks do they wanna complete? What journey are they on what influences them what their overall goals and pain points and feelings are, right?

So basically a persona. If you want more detail on creating those empathy maps, I've linked to an article I wrote that discusses how to do that. I'm not gonna get into the depths of doing that here. But just basically to understand your users properly, only takes about half an hour to do an exercise like that.

And then the other thing I do is defined some key performance indicators, all right? So what do I mean by that? Well, we basically need a measurable way of knowing whether this site has succeeded. So, it typically clients are really crappy at defining this. So I tend to have to guide them through the process and again, there's an article about how to do that.

But I'll take their overall company objectives, right? What are you trying to do in the next fiscal year? Okay, we're trying to increase revenue. Well, that's too vague for us to use as a measurable thing on this project. But okay, what does that translate to? How does the website help with that goal of increasing revenue?

Well, it needs to generate more leads. Okay, that's great, that's a bit more tangible. Okay, what can we do that actually really we can measure then? Okay, well, we can measure maybe the number of online forms submitted on the website, or the number of people visiting the contact us page, really tangible things.

And tying that down upfront is invaluable to you because it will mean that if you can prove that the design is working. And you can also remind people what their goals are when they go off on tangents and go, well, I want the social media buttons really big on the homepage.

But hang on a minute you said your primary goal was more leads not more followers, all right? So it's really good to have these well defined goals. So just do that. If that's all you can do, that's great. So, how do you decide on the cost of that?

Well, normally you're kinda forced at the beginning of a project to give a ballpark for the whole thing. There's no getting around that everybody wants to budget, don't commit to it. But say, previous projects I've worked on that are not dissimilar to this come in the ballpark of 30k, right, or whatever it be.

So, for the discovery phase I recommend dedicating about 10% of the that to the discovery phase, that big ballpark figure. So if you said the 30K, 3K, how much we're probably gonna spend doing a discovery phase, right? And then you tailor your discovery phase to fit within that approximate budget.

So that's how I price that first bit, which is a bit kinda neppy lesson. It's very much dependent on how big the project is and how much they've got to spend on it.

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