Have you ever been involved in a website project where the final deliverable or outcome just didn’t hit the brief of what you wanted or had envisaged? If not, that’s awesome! But if your answer is a resounding ‘yes’, you’re not alone. This, unfortunately, happens a lot with website projects. However, it can easily be avoided if a proper discovery process is followed to truly understand the expectations and objectives for the project.
Can you imagine if someone started building a house without first laying out the blueprint? Sure, they might have a nice house at the end, but what are the chances that house meets all the needs of the owner perfectly?
Website discovery is kind of like creating the blueprint for your website project, and leads to the creation of a detailed and strategic plan for your website. A website discovery project kicks in once you have signed on with a development agency and goes far deeper than what is covered during the sales process. The result is a highly detailed plan that is then used to guide and inform the design and development stages, ultimately making the actual build of your website faster and cheaper.
The discovery process involves gathering information that will help inform an understanding of the objectives, requirements, and success metrics for the project. This typically involves discovery meetings with key stakeholders to extract this information. It may also involve user research and/or testing to understand user needs and expectations.
The discovery process means that your requirements are well scoped and documented, and understood by everyone involved, before rushing ahead into design and development. Sure, there are a lot of website best practices and standard elements that should go into every website, but a good website design should take into account considerations such as:
Who is going to be using the website?
What information or functionalities will they be expecting to find?
What actions do you want your website’s users to take?
What key messages are you trying to communicate through your website?
What role does the website play in your broader marketing and business strategies?
Factors such as these are always unique to each individual business. A good website discovery builds an understanding of what is needed for your business’ website, in order to hit your goals and success metrics.
Would you be able to determine how long a project would take without understanding all of the requirements and the full scope of what needs to be delivered? If you answered yes, then we need to talk! But I imagine you more likely answered with, ‘of course not!’.
Having the detailed requirements brief means that the developers can determine, more accurately, how long it will take to implement. This means that your cost estimation for the project will also be more accurate.
Simply put, clearly defined requirements + less ambiguity = more accurate estimations = less unexpected costs or time blowouts down the road!
You might have the best looking website in the world, but if it’s not converting or delivering on your goals, then it’s not much use to you and has not been a sound investment. Taking the time to understand the requirements intimately at the beginning of a website project, means you’re more likely to get the results you want once the new website is launched, delivering a far better Return on Investment (ROI).
Ideally, you should be undertaking some form of discovery project for any website development project, as it will save you time, money, and many headaches down the road. However, website discovery is non-negotiable if you are embarking on a website build over $30,000.
For smaller builds, you might embark on a scaled back or leaner discovery project, but when you’re investing significant value into your website, you want to ensure that website will do what you need it to.
Once the discovery project is completed, you are provided with a detailed requirements brief and implementation plan. At this stage, you are able to get a more accurate cost estimation and timeline for the project, based on a better understanding of exactly what is required.
If you would like to have a chat about the requirements for your website project, send us a message or give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk it through with you.
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