Discovery & UX

Why Discovery & UX ?

So many reasons..!

Think about it… Would you write report without doing any research or knowing who it was for…?

When it comes to creating websites, we always discover who the client is, their budget, their motivations. It’s important to remember that we should always understand the basic UX context as well:

  • Basics: User groups and what goals the project helps them meet or pain it helps relieve
  • UX development happens on every project anyway, just often implicitly / intuitively, however if we follow a (light) process this will make sure we don’t make false assumptions
  • Risk management: If the client doesn’t know these basics are they really ready to do the project..?
  • If we don’t know them, how do we know how to approach it? How can we quote for it?
  • A simple questionnaire (before we quote) is all it takes.

UX first

  • Makes much more sense than Mobile first!
  • Is a recognised strategy in industrial design, and B2C business in general:
    Design products/services for the user!
  • Of course our customer, the client, has requirements: they will (always?) be
    best served by designing UX first.

Agile UX (!)

  • UX needs to be tailored to every project, and that is always a work-in-progress
  • Deliverables are not end-points but snapshots, needed for communication and validation
  • Launching a site is not the beginning nor the end of the client’s relationship with their users…
    It’s the start of (data-driven) optimisation and evolution: the UX should facilitate this
  • Be creative! E.g. Is a different approach to Personas useful for a particular project?

Main Steps

1. Discovery (Questionnaire) + Compilation

  • Them (sector, products/services, background, future, etc…)
  • This project (motive, risks criteria for partner selection, key dates etc)
  • User Groups + Goals / Pains (customers, partners, internal)
  • Can also infer groups from Analytics / other data if available.

Then compilation:

  • Compile and describe back to the client in their own words to check we are
    correct and to reassure them –  Chose appropriate documentation format for project: e.g. Summary UGs, UG Map / graph.

2. Persona Development

  • Can be valuable even for smaller projects, as memory/empathy aid
  • Can be done in 30 mins (pretty presentation is slooooow)
  • We should sell to the client that they can use elsewhere
  • Start with user groups
  • Don’t forget internal user groups, especially if have specific needs of the site
  • May need to conduct survey / conversations with users directly
  • Details: Who they represent, Demographics, Key traits (1 word), Touch points (e.g. devices, real world, phone), goals, pains. Also orgs goals for them
  • Memorable (e.g. alliterative names like Memorable Melanie)
  • Validate: Internal communication with those closest to each, and if possible
  • Direct communication with representative sample.

3. User Journey Development

  • Can be valuable even for smaller projects, to clarify IA
  • We should sell to the client that they can use elsewhere
  • Start with user group’s goals –  people go on journeys to meet their goals (which may be to relieve pains)
  • Trigger(s)?
  • Starting points  – May be offsite – important to consider as may require a landing page for example
  • Validate: Internal communication with those closest to each, and if possible direct communication with representative sample.

4. Site map

  • Identify content and functionality required to enable the Journeys
  • Iterate a overview structure to contain these (work in progress until the end!)
  • Re-evaluate quote and timelines based on this?

5. Narrative arc/funnel -> Hierarchical Wireframes

  • For each key page in Sitemap consider Hierarchy of content/ functionality
  • Can use Narrative Arc/Funnel as a tool to aid this.

6. Layout wireframes + Click model

  • Wireframes are falling from favour.. Higher-res mockups, even interactive click-models, more useful (see how text will fit,
    interactions etc).

7. Design/Mockups and so on…

What are User Journeys?

Not just a UX deliverable!

The are a series of steps (typically 4-12), which represent a scenario in which a user might interact with the thing.

You are designing:

  • Demonstrating the way users currently interact with the service / website / product
  • Demonstrating the way users could interact with the service / website / product.


  • Demonstrating the vision for the project – user journeys are a great way to communicate what you are trying to achieve with stakeholders. They show an example of what the future state of whatever it is you are designing could be. Along with personas they can be one of the key outputs from the requirements gathering stage at the beginning of a project
  • They help us understand user behaviour – User journeys can help you work out how users are going to interact with your system and what they expect from it
  • They help identify possible functionality at a high level – by understanding the key tasks they will want to do to you can start to understand what sort of functional requirements will help enable those tasks
  • They help you define your taxonomy and interface – By understanding the ‘flow’ of the various tasks the user will want to undertake you can start to think about.


Not just a UX deliverable!

  • Start towards the beginning of a project in the discovery or requirements gathering phase,
    normally after personas. This is both to visualise the user requirements and help feed into other design activities such as information architecture or wireframing. However, they can also be used further down the line when scoping out pieces of functionality in more detail
  • Focus process on ‘User First’
  • Clarify Client requirements: for us and for them!
  • Communicate: to client, devs, QA.


First personas:

  • User’s goals
  • Motivations
  • Current pain points
  • Overall character (personas)
  • Main tasks they want to achieve
  • Text based
  • UML Activity Diagram
  • Story board
  • Experience Map.

At each step:

  • Context – Where is the user? What is around them? Are there any external factors which may be distracting them?
  •  Progression – How does each step enable them to get to the next?
  •  Devices – what device are they using?Are they a novice or expert? What features does the device have?
  • Functionality – What type of functionality are they expecting? Is it achievable?
  • Emotion – What is their emotional state in each step? Are they engaged, bored, annoyed?


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