The Discovery Phase (Optimising Your Project)

26 June 2020

Whenever we take on a new project, we always start with the discovery phase. But what is the discovery phase? Read on to learn about the most important step in any digital project.


Introduction to discovery – what is its purpose?

Whenever a digital project (this could be anything from an eCommerce website to a mobile application) is brought forth to be created, the first thing that must be done is research. This is known as the discovery phase. A standard discovery phase process explores several elements such as:

  • Determining project feasibility;
  • Examining current systems that may be similar;
  • Researching competitors;
  • Looking into the target audience and current market;
  • Finding where the client wants to end up with their project; and
  • Defining business objectives.

The discovery phase can span anywhere from 2 – 12 weeks and is an intensive, deep dive into the project’s industry. This phase roots out any obstacles or issues that may occur down the track so they can be addressed first and foremost as opposed to unexpectedly discovering them halfway through the project. This improves the overall efficiency of the project and streamlines the processes.

The results of the discovery phase are compiled into a document which is then presented to the client so that the true scope of the project can be recognised, and any uncertainties can be addressed and remedied. A large part of the discovery phase is defining the objectives ­­– questioning why certain elements should be placed and what purpose they’ll serve.


Who takes care of the discovery phase?

The discovery phase is handled by several experts within a digital agency such as the project manager, UX designer, business analyst or account manager. Each member will explore a different part of the phase – especially the designer, who must embark on a separate journey within the discovery phase.


Design discovery

The designer will explore the UX/UI side of the project exclusively and research the above points but from a design point of view. The audience, for example, will play a crucial part in the usability of the end-product. So, the designer will look at similar systems to see what they’ve done, how they’ve achieved it and whether or not any improvements can be made. Wireframing prototypes (which are early skeleton stages of how the product will look) will be created and handed to the client at the end of the discovery phase.

As a digital agency, we particularly focus on the why of a project to ensure that every element ­– from a simple banner to an entire page’s layout – is placed/designed to serve a purpose. This could be something such as improving the user’s experience or even eliciting a feeling from them. But it’s during the discovery phase that we ask ourselves why – and from there can ensure that every element included in the project is essential.


Going above and beyond

A good Melbourne-based digital agency will do more than just complete a project for a client – they’ll work to optimise it so it can be the best version of itself. This means suggesting improvements and tweaks based on their findings in the discovery phase as well as how the project will fit in with the client’s current systems/infrastructure. One of the key points of the discovery phase is looking at the big picture and seeing where and how the project will fit into that picture.

This is something the client may not have even considered but could make the difference between a good and exceptional end-product. The product must also stand out from any competitors. This is another reason the discovery phase is so important. It not only sheds light on potential issues, but also opens doors to new and better ideas that will enhance the end-product, or the steps taken to achieve it.


The results

By the end of the discovery phase, the digital agency should have a comprehensive understanding of the project and how to complete it – as well as a deep understanding of the industry and where the product will sit in the client’s business. On top of this, the client will have a much clearer comprehension of what barriers need to be overcome (if any) and what improvements should be made to bring this project to its final destination.

Now that the discovery phase is complete the project can move forward with clarity as each team member will have a more precise path to follow. Without first embarking on the discovery phase, there would have been several unknown variables riddled throughout the project journey.


Are you looking for a digital agency in Melbourne?

AWD Digital is a premium digital agency in Melbourne that can help you bring your website or application to life. We undergo an extensive discovery phase before every project to ensure we can make the best recommendations when it comes to strategies and solutions as well as achieve the optimal project for our clients.

If you’d like to discuss our digital services further, then please don’t hesitate to contact us via the enquiry form on our website or by calling +61 3 9001 6255.