Keeping with our theme of comparing the web design process to building a house, the first phase of our universal process, Discovery, is when we scope out the land for your new website, design sketches and determine the structure of your website blueprints. We work together to get to know you and your individual project. These plans and specs are then used to inform every piece of hardware you’ll need on your website and how all those pieces fit together.
As a company that cares deeply about communication and transparency, we’ve made this phase the most comprehensive part of our universal web design process. With more than ten deliverables to be met before moving on to the Design phase, our Discovery phase is the most important step in laying the groundwork for your project.
We begin the process by discussing your company description and website goals. Every project starts with a confirmation of your goals and website objectives:
Who are you?
What are your values?
What is your mission statement?
Why do you want a new website and what do you hope to get out of the finished product?
What are the goals you have for your users?
Next, we do an audience overview audit. Identifying your target audience is a pivotal step in the web design process. An audience overview outlines your audience and how they will interact with your site to best engage and reach your user goals. This documentation enables designers and developers to empathize and build the website with sensitivity toward end-user goals.
In addition to the audience overview we take it a step further by creating audience user personas. User personas are fictitious characters that represent different types of people that might visit your website. User flows are the path a visitor takes through your website and to complete a given task. By defining and approving your audience and user goals upfront, we neutralize subjectivity throughout the design process.
We then move into what you need your website to have by providing you with functionality questionnaires. There are endless “functionalities” that you may want installed onto your website and we address and define each one in the Discovery phase. We’ll take you through functionality questionnaires for common functionality integrations (i.e. contact forms, email subscription signup, eCommerce, etc.) to ensure we have all necessary information from the start. This prevents issues creeping up in Design and Development based on how functionalities must look and be implemented to function properly.
A huge benefit to working with professional web designers like us is that we know how to best set up your website up for SEO success. Our search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is how we build your new website so that search engines can properly scan it to identify relevant information. Unlike humans, search engines don’t care at all about visual aesthetics; they have their own priorities and features they look for. Creating a website to communicate well with search engines involves its own set of deliverables. The SEO strategy in Discovery helps match company goals with the exposure search engines can provide.
Maybe this is the first time you’re building a website or perhaps you’re coming to us with frustration over your current site. Either way, we request all content prior to the Design phase so that we can format everything else around it. Having quality content, imagery and videography is important for both users and search engines. We’ll work with clients to organize content and to determine content placement and mapping known as content structuring. This includes: wireframes, sitemaps, media, user flows, and main messaging.
Prior to moving into Design, we’ll provide the client with a finalized design and development calendar and a maintenance and launch strategy. Launch dates are important dates, and for this reason it’s best to be prepared. We offer ongoing hosting, maintenance, and support service in case clients are looking for such a service.
Having all of the above deliverables defined from the beginning of your project means that we can create a project timeline that we are 100% confident in achieving on time and within budget. It sets both parties up for success and ensures client satisfaction.
As we move into Design, Development, and Deployment over the next few weeks, please contact us with any questions!
Next Up: “Phase 2: Design”