Discovery is a key phase of any new project work that we undertake. Here, we want to introduce the three phases; pre-Discovery, Discovery workshops and PD&S documentation; what’s involved and how best to plan and prepare for this stage of work, thus building the best foundation for your project!

Pre-discovery: Planning and research

At its essence, this is a chance to immerse ourselves in your organisation, gather project requirements and key information. This will help us understand your organisation and, more importantly, your user’s needs.

What we will ask from you:

  • Any client-led research, requirements, information gathering or audits carried out prior to the project kick-off that might be useful background details to this new phase of works.
  • Access to your Google Analytics, Hotjar or similar analytics tools that you have in place – or, indeed, allowing us to add Hotjar to your site so that we can assess and monitor current user behaviour in the run-up to Discovery.
  • If you have already identified key user journeys or a MoSCoW list (Must have, Should have, Could have and Won't have) and/or have KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), we will review and begin to think about how to achieve these. If you don’t have either, we will make an early outline of key user journeys, any existing pain points and will begin to think about how these can be improved; all to be fleshed out together in the Discovery phase.
  • Your DP will also look to further understand your key project team, their roles, your availability during the project lifecycle, your sign-off process and the time that will be needed to gather, collate and share feedback.
  • This will allow us to start planning out the best ways of working successfully together – keeping to a schedule and on budget.
  • Based on the information that we receive, the UX designers will then immerse themselves in Pre-Discovery which will also expand to: benchmarking activity, competitor analysis, ‘best in class’ research and card sorting exercises.
  • We also look to assess your content, keywords and SEO; to identify key behaviours, motivations and intentions of your users. This enables us to assess where further improvements to the site architecture, calls to action and landing pages can be made to best serve your various user groups.

Ultimately this research and planning phase allows us to best determine how we will run our Discovery workshops, what will be included and who should attend and input.

a photo of an AD discovery session in Sydney

Discovery: on-site workshops

For us it is important, wherever possible, to meet in person at your venue, organisation or HQ! We want to get a sense of who you are; to explore your space and to get a feel for your venue, theatre or museum, and to experience what your users do. Although we’re Glasgow/Manchester-based, we’ve travelled as far as Chicago, Hawaii and now Sydney for Discovery workshops.
Armed with the information from the pre-Discovery phase, we will identify a set of workshops, unique to your needs, that will best flesh out and understand your requirements and goals.

In the pre-Discovery phase, we will prepare and agree on an agenda with you for the workshops. This is so that we can work together to ensure the right team members are available and can attend the Discovery workshops in full, or for specific days/sessions depending on their role or expertise.

We want to take all project team members and stakeholders on the Discovery journey and ensure that they are engaged with the project needs and aims. Early onboarding and clarity of what is expected from all, throughout the project lifecycle, is key to this and to imbuing ongoing ownership of the work, end results and continued development of the site.

The absolute key elements to cover in Discovery are:

  • Who your users are
  • What they want to achieve
  • How this can best be done on your website

One thing that we shouldn’t do in Discovery is to provide finished solutions, either coming into or during the workshops themselves. Instead, we gather all of the key information, needs and goals; to then allow us to put forward user journeys and outlines for approach, functionality and features. These will then be fleshed out in the wires and design/UX phases of work and during the review by development.

A discovery session in Sydney

Product Definition and Scope (PD&S)

Post-Discovery, and on our return to the studio, we will regroup and begin to document all of the exercises and sessions included in the workshops and their outputs.

The PD&S document will be tailored to your project needs and scope, but will include:

  • Key project objectives, KPIs from the RFP and/or workshops
  • All pre-Discovery findings: research and reporting
  • Workshops agenda and attendees
  • Workshop outcomes
  • Findings, recommendations and summation of the time together
  • User personas and user journeys
  • Any initial findings regarding Information architecture (IA), navigation/UI, content hierarchy and content planning
  • Ways of working, project communication plan
  • Initial schedule and key review/feedback/approval points.
a group getting together to plan their discovery with the client

You will be given time to review and feedback on this document to the point of approval. Following sign-off, we are in a position to commence with the wireframe phase of works, based on the outcomes and findings from pre-Discovery and Discovery; documented in the PD&S. This document is the foundation and framework for what we hope will be a successfully delivered and received site.

If you are interested in finding out more about AD, then please do not hesitate to get in touch!

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