Usually, when a client comes in looking to trim their budget they suggest skipping the discoveryphase. They say that they have already done their research, that they know what their customers are looking for, and that the time and costs associated just aren’t worth it. It’s understandable. Discovery can be a hard thing to quantify, especially because the biggest deliverable is a new understanding of what a website needs rather than a product.
The problem with this is that companies often don’t do research from the best point of view. They may be biased by company dynamic and swayed by internal stakeholders rather than looking at what their customers need. The benefit of bringing in an external expert to consult with is the objectivity and specificity of experience they bring with them. This is one of the reasons we always recommend a discovery phase at the beginning of any project.
But how exactly does Discovery impact both UX and Inbound?
Not everyone thinks of discovery and Inbound Marketing as having a close relationship, but they do. How content in your blogs, your eBooks, your white papers or your newsletter is presented to your user has a huge impact on whether those users will engage with that content or not. Websites also have to be strategically designed for the placement of things like CTAs and contact forms, and this strategy doesn’t just happen. If you want a holistic website, Inbound Marketing should be ingrained in your web process from the beginning, and an Inbound Marketer should be at the table during discovery instead of waiting until the site’s been deployed to begin thinking about marketing. This will ensure that the websites full marketing potential is realized and the needs of your inbound marketer are satisfied.
The UX portion of discovery involves a similar type of holistic thinking. The UX designer has to think in many languages: that of the user, the developer, and the client they’re working with. The ultimate goal is to find a solution that fits all of these needs without compromising any of them, and the only way to successfully meet all of these needs to is to begin building with a strategy in mind.
It is always more expensive and more difficult to go back and try to cram extra functionality and create bandaid fixes for problems that could have been prevented in the discovery stage. In fact, although some clients will want to skip over the discovery stage in order to save money that can be used on fixes and changes down the road, research and experience show that every 1 dollar spent on discovery upfront can yield a 100 dollar return-on-investment down the road. And, allocating just 10 percent of a project's budget to discovery doubles the projects success in the end.
This is why it’s so important to get an external perspective from an experienced UX architect before a site build begins.The result will be an optimized website that satisfies everyone from the client to the customers, and saves money in the long run.
So what are the key take aways?
Discovery can save you time, money and headaches down the road. It is a crucial part of creating a successful User Experience and Inbound Marketing Strategy, so be sure to invest in the proper discovery upfront and you won’t be disappointed down the road.
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