In the Discovery Phase, we learn about business requirements, and users and their work. We'll customize the process to fit your needs.
Background We start with marketing requirements or functional specification if you have them. Reviewing competitive products, customer interviews and usability studies or reviews of existing products help, too.
Interviews It helps to talk with marketing, product management, engineering, support, management and others. Each group can see the same project differently.
Customer research We do customer visits and usability studies to learn what your current and potential customers think, how they work and what they need. It's more than just asking them, we have to watch them work and interpret what we see.
Personas: user definitions and usage scenarios Two of the most important questions are "Who's using the product?" and "What are they going to do?" We find answers by describing typical users and writing usage scenarios about what they'll be doing with the product. These are called personas, and are related to scenarios and use cases.
A CTO pointed out that creating personas helped him write requirements documents because it made him think through the product features more than he ever had.
This process is always worthwhile. It may be the first time that everyone's been in one room to discuss the UI in detail. We're not just talking, though, we're doing something, sketching out the ideas that each group generates. We're also sharing assumptions that people may not share. Read all about Group Design Workshops.
A client said, "Walking through scenarios and sketching ideas makes you put your customer hat on and think from the user's point of view. Helps us address these things rather than think, 'I know all about that'."
Design directions. This research leads to initial prototyping to explore design possibilities in the Design Phase.
The design process
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