Why We Start Design Projects with a ‘Discovery Phase’
We start every digital project with a discovery phase, which is an initial research period that will help provide structure during the design process. This research phase provides propose and direction to both us and the client when creating a digital solution. The discovery phase also helps identify potential roadblocks before we start designing or building a website and allows for more informed decisions throughout the cycle of the project. We don’t just want to build what a client asks us to build, we aim to build a successful product that aligns with the client’s business goals, appeals to their users, and helps them stand out from the competition.
How do we do this at Mockingbird? We break down the discovery phase into three categories.
Business Goals and Client Perceptions
- Business Goals
- Internal Perception
We start the conversation by finding out where the client falls within their current market and where they’d like to be headed. This requires an understanding of their current business goals, relative strengths and weaknesses, and competitive advantages within their industry or geographic area.
We have a client questionnaire that goes over internal perceptions to help identify any unique points that make a firm stand out and appeal to potential clients.
User Behavior and Customer Desires
- User Behavior Through Analytics
Next, we want to answer the question, “Who are we designing for?” We gather as much information, mostly by gathering analytics and running our own report, to define who the client’s current website users are and how can we appeal to them. No matter what field of practice, hiring an attorney is a fairly emotional ordeal. We want appeal to the right desires. We want to imagine the website from their perspective. In doing so, we can appeal to their emotions and make it as simple as possible to contact your firm.
Market Landscape and Opportunities
- What Competitors Are Doing
- Your Position Within the Market
Finally, we want to find the room for opportunity. What are competitors doing? Are they all doing the same thing? Is the client’s market saturated with law firm websites showcasing the same interchangeably well-tailored lawyers with crossed arms, touting their millions of dollars recovered? We don’t want our clients to blend into the crowd of attorneys, we want to show off how each firm is unique and prove they stand above the competition.
By taking a step back and looking at the entire landscape before starting any of the actual site mockups we’re able to take a more data driven approach to the design process. It’s not enough to build a website that loads fast and looks great. The true differentiator comes from creating a site that sets each client apart from their competitors, aligns with the emotional needs of their clients, and helps them achieve their firm’s business goals. The discovery phase is a key first step and helps build the foundation for each successful website.