Our UX discovery process for website projects
At Parallax, we have developed a UX-centric discovery process over the years to help us build best-in-class websites. It helps us understand our clients’ businesses and the needs of their customers. This process has helped us launch major B2C and B2B websites for the likes of Leeds Bradford Airport, CPD, cap hpi and Optical Express.
Why do discovery and research?
The discovery process is an essential starting point for website projects. It’s the groundwork that helps us make better decisions based on a set of qualitative and quantitative data. It helps us plan the best-known path early on, minimising costly and difficult changes down the line.
Too often we speak to clients that have had bad experiences with agencies on website redevelopment projects. Here’s a familiar scenario both clients and agencies want to avoid:
You’ve steamrolled into a website redevelopment project. You’ve skipped discovery, moving straight into wireframes and visual design. You’re moving quickly through the project plan, the design looks nice and hitting the tight deadline looks like a certainty. But then you – or worse, the client – spots a major gap, missing important content and functionality that will make it impossible to hit a, previously undefined, business goal. You have to go back to the drawing board, restructure the architecture, redesign the pages and look at what else may have been missed. That time that was saved has been wiped out. To compound things, nobody has been lined up to write the copy, because there’s no content plan. The technical and onsite SEO hasn’t been considered. The deadline hasn’t been changed…
Understand the whole UX picture
Modern website user experience (UX) has a number of overlapping parts. Our aim with our website projects is to combine qualitative user research, content strategy, and qualitative data.
Here are some examples of how they work together:
The content analysis and existing data should help form a new website content strategy. The data helps us understand the performance of the existing website content and key user flows. From a top level we’ll know which pages have value and which don’t, helping us plan which pages to keep, remove or simply bring up-to-date.
Here’s another example:
The content analysis alongside user research helps us understand the content gaps and plan new website content. We understand the customer needs and also the existing website content so spotting gaps should be straightforward.
We essentially join up the dots for the website UX strategy. It’s not the easiest thing to do and usually requires an expert consultant or agency, like Parallax, to help.
Collaboration is key
Collaboration is an essential component of any successful website project. Through face-to-face workshops, we get the client to buy into our process by explaining the benefits a better UX can have to their bottom line. We encourage all the project stakeholders to get involved through stakeholder interviews and a shared project Basecamp.
Make the process as efficient as possible
Over the years to make our discovery and research process efficient we have created templates, libraries and use a variety of tools. The level of discovery work will always depend on the available project budget so we have different levels. It would be unwise to spend too much of the project budget on discovery if we’re left with too little to design and build the website.
Not all projects are equal, so while the above discovery process works for the majority of website projects we do, for more complex applications more may be required. We can amend our research methods based on the type of problem we’re trying to solve. Sometimes qualitative data is needed, sometimes quantitative is better. Is behavioural or attributional understanding required – or both? Often we need to ship a product very quickly so it’s essential to speed up the initial UX process but continue once the website or product is in the wild, making iterations based on real users’ feedback.
To learn more or speak to us about a new project please get in touch