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UX Discovery Process from Experts: Pitfalls and Bottlenecks
9 min.

The UX discovery process is a key phase in every project that involves product development. It allows you to identify your target users and their expectations, as well as define the product’s main features. Besides, losses in the next stages can be huge and missing deadlines can make a lot of noise. In this article, we will explain what UX Discovery Process is, how it works at Procoders and how we can help you with this stage of the development process to avoid big losses with a proper UX discovery process!

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User Research in the UX Discovery Phase

User research is the process of getting to know your users so that you can create products and services that meet their needs. The objective of user discovery research UX is to learn about what people need and want, how they use products or services, and how they feels about them. This information helps UX designers build better solutions by providing insights into what motivates people to take action or respond in certain ways. At Procoders, we do 3 main UX discovery activities:

  • value proposition guided research;
  • workflow and process research;
  • usability research.
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Value Proposition Guided Research

When you begin the discovery research UX, you must look at the big picture. What are the project’s goals? What does success look like for this project?

At Procoders, we believe (and that is what we say to every client) that the goals should be ambitious but realistic. If you want to create a new Facebook, then you should be ready that it wouldn’t take 2 months and $1000 dollars of the cost!

Workflow and Process Research

Workflow and process research are vital parts of your discovery UX phase. You must understand your target audience and how they will interact with your product/service.

When conducting workflow and process research for our client’s product/service, Procoders helps them:

  • Understand the context in which decisions are made by the user, including their environment (physical), activities (mental), goals (what they hope to accomplish by using the service), and hierarchy of needs (what drives them). We also consider their level of expertise, whether they are beginners or advanced users.
  • Learn about common tasks that users have when using the product/service, as well as ways in which they might accomplish these tasks – this will help guide us when thinking about creating solutions later on during the ideation phase!
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Usability Research

Usability research is observing people interacting with a product or service to determine how easy it is to use. Usability testing helps understand what work and what doesn’t work for users (and why).

In usability research, we thoroughly consider every detail that might improve users’ experience while using a product. For example, if a product is created for young people, their experience with applications allows them to navigate new products more quickly. Therefore, you can remove some additional explanations for navigating the interface and add more modern solutions. If your target audience is older, the font used for the interface should be bigger. In this case, it is also necessary to pay attention to the contrast of the text/elements so that it is easier to read.

Other conditions should be considered too. For example, if we are designing a running mobile application, external conditions, such as the bright sun outside, will be very important. If you’ll create an application with only a dark theme, it will be a fiasco because nothing will be visible in the sun.

UX Discovery Process

The main task of the discovery is to find flaws or prevent problems that you may face while developing a product. If this is an existing product, you can extract the metrics and see if all the buttons on the site are clickable and make sense. When doing a new project, there are some blocks that users ignore. There can be a million options for why. Maybe there are too many elements on the page that prevent the attention from focusing on the main things, or the page is too long, and the user becomes uninterested. In this case, we usually arrange A/B testing.

discovery research ux is necessity

The process often depends also on the duration of the UX design discovery phase, the project’s size, and the client’s needs.

UX Discovery Process Bottlenecks

As you know, the discovery process UX is a very important project stage. The main goal is to understand your target audience and create a product according to their needs. To optimize their experience with the product, it is necessary to consider all aspects: from a user’s point of view, your business goals, and the technical side.

At this stage, Procoders conduct a competitive analysis of the product. If the competitive analysis isn’t conducted before starting work on design discovery ux concepts, then you will face problems like:

  • missing important functionality;
  • being behind competitors who already have such things in their products;
  • lacking innovative approaches; or
  • duplicating ideas already used by other companies (for example, Uber didn’t invent ride-sharing).

Research Methods in the UX Discovery Phase

No matter how good your designer or developer is: if they don’t know what users want, they won’t be able to produce great products. Much of the UX discovery research should be done in order to understand better what users need. So that’s why our team tries to find out as much as possible about the user during this project stage.

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The best way to research the user journey is to make a prototype. It is immediately visible when a dead end is reached and what is missing in the user script, allowing filling the holes. For example, when you are in an online store, add something to the cart, and want to pay, but you need to register. Will your purchases be saved after all these actions?

What Key Business Opportunities UX Discovery Process open for Product Owners?

The discovery phase UX opens several key business opportunities for product owners. With it, you can:

  • Identify the business goals you want to accomplish by building a product or service and ensure that those goals align with your users’ needs. This will help set the right expectations and identify the key business opportunities associated with your project.
  • Set up an experiment-driven approach, where you can become a user, not a creator. Then you can use the information got to develop solutions that address users’ challenges and efficiently solve their problems.
  • Redirect your focus towards creating value for your users, instead of focusing on how much money can be made from each feature/product feature (which may not even be used). This will also help eliminate potential bottlenecks during development since it encourages creative thinking rather than constantly trying new things out of sheer curiosity.
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How Procoders Can Help in UX Discovery Phase?

The Procoders outstaffing company offers a step-by-step approach to the user experience design and software development discovery phase that helps you understand your users better. Our team will work with you throughout all project stages — from defining your goals and strategy to prototyping ideas, testing them, and refining them based on the results. We use tools like Hotjar to gain insight into how users use products like yours and then plan out ways to improve them using our expertise in UX strategy and prototyping tools like Figma or Axure Prototypes.

Procoders designers have more than ten years of experience, and we have already held the UX discovery session with such projects as Expandigo, SDCN (Same Day Courier Network), etc. As for the latter, SDCN already had a reputation as a high-tech solution for transport companies. But as the years passed after their initial build, SDCN needed to build a new tech infrastructure to maximize its mobile reservation opportunities. So, they came to Procoders to help get them there. 

This way, the UX discovery can be useful not only for new products but also for already existing ones. If you already have a project, but you feel that something can be improved, you can use our UX discovery service. Procoders will be happy to analyze your product, find the main problems, and give you solutions to them. 

Feelin’ your Business Can do Better? It’s Never too late for a Discovery Phase!

What’s more: after the discovery phase UX, you can also hire a dedicated team or order IT staff augmentation services that will help you develop your product! UI / UX designers, front-end and back-end developers – all these professionals can be hired with Procoders. 

Procoders Smash Experience in UX Discovery Phase for Startups

At first glance, you may think that ProCoders work only with big projects, especially after the para you have read above. However, our answer is “No”: we work with anyone who needs help with their UX discovery phase activities!

Our UX design team is skilled at helping entrepreneurs and startups discover the best approach for their products (e.g., conducting user research, designing prototypes, and facilitating usability tests). We have worked with a wide range of startups from all over the world.

ux discovery activities include users research

One of our recent clients was the startup called Dryft. Dryft’s goal was to give people the ability to find and book individual fitness classes that were offered in areas and settings that were interesting and convenient. Dryft wanted its app to have deep capabilities for both fitness class operators and students, so it created some difficulties. 

The UX Design Discovery Phase took 4 weeks, during which Procoders researched all the requirements needed for every app function. These were programming languages, plugins, platforms, and widgets. Each option was considered for its versatility, interoperability, cost, and function. When the right tools were chosen, a work plan was created with an eye toward speed and maximizing budget.

At ProCoders, we understand that every startup is different, so we approach every project with an open mind and a willingness to learn about your business goals and objectives. However, we always have some general recommendations. For example, if you want some microservices, Procoders don’t recommend you do them. Why? Microservices are a good thing for big projects with huge resources, where all tasks should be divided into subprojects. However, it’s not usually the same story for startups, that’s why in this case, we use other technologies. 

Give your business a good start – start with Discovery phase!

Here are some of the things we can help with:

  • Discovering your target audience and understanding their needs;
  • Creating personas based on the discovery UX research findings to define your ideal customer profile;
  • Making a prototype of your product to understand what it may lack from the user perspective;
  • Calculating the budget based on your product vision and setting the time frames needed for the development.

Conclusion

UX Discovery Process is a key phase of the UX Design Process. The process of UX discovery starts with defining the scope of a project, deciding on the target audience, and analyzing competitor sites. Next comes brainstorming and information gathering, followed by prototyping and usability testing. It’s critical to consider all aspects before moving forward with your design so that you can produce high-quality product. 

If you’re looking for an outstaffing company that can help you with this process, ProCoders can help! Our UX designers are trained in user experience research and UX discovery methods and will work closely with you to create a plan that meets your needs.P. S. Have UX discovery questions? Read our FAQ!

F. A. Q.
What are the main steps of designing User Experience in startups?

If you are a startup founder, you must design your product according to the needs of your audience. This can be done by using UX design and testing. You can also use conversion optimization tools like heatmaps, A/B testing, and other optimization tools.

The following are the main steps of designing User Experience in startups:

  • Evaluate your audience’s needs
  • Come up with a prototype or mockup based on these findings
  • Test this with real users
  • Make necessary changes based on feedback from users
UX discovery process: what professionals should be involved for the best result?

This is one of the most important UX discovery questions. UX discovery process should be a collaborative effort. The UX team, research and design teams, and stakeholders are all involved in the discovery process.

UX professionals should be involved in the UX discovery process because they have the knowledge and expertise to conduct user research, prototype solutions, and test different scenarios. They can also recommend strategies that align with user behavior and expectations.

The Research team is responsible for user research to understand their needs, motivations, goals, and behavior. They also define product requirements based on these insights.

The Design team is responsible for creating prototypes (MVPs) that solve specific problems identified during discovery. They create personas to represent real users within your target audience so that you can understand how they might use your product down the road.

The Stakeholders are part of the all UX discovery phase activities because they give feedback on how well you solve their problems or fulfill their needs with your product.

Depending on your project, you may need to work mostly with a UX researcher, UX designer, or even a user experience consultant.

UX Researcher: A person who performs research to understand how users interact with products and services. They look at how people actually use the product and what they like/dislike about it. The results of their research is used to improve a product’s usability.

UX Designer: A person who creates prototypes and designs interfaces for products that are easy to use but also meet the business goals of the company developing the product. They create mockups and wireframes that can be tested with users early on in the development process so that changes can be made before it goes into production.

User Experience Consultant: A person who works as an intermediary between UX researchers/designers and clients (usually businesses). They help translate findings from research into concrete recommendations based on best practices for design so that clients can make informed decisions about their product or service design strategy.

Why is the discovery phase important?

UX discovery phase is the first step in the UX design process. It’s a critical stage that helps you understand your users’ needs, motivations, and behaviors. With this knowledge, you can make informed decisions about how best to solve their problems.

This process involves two important UX discovery activities: research and analysis. Research involves observing users in their natural environments and collecting data on how they currently interact with products or services. The analysis involves synthesizing that information into insights that inform your design strategy.

The benefits you get after doing the discover phase:

  • Boost your development phase, and this way save your time and costs. When everyone has a clear vision and requirements, then they will feel more confident about their work. 
  • Match the customer’s expectations and find a market fit with your MVP. 
  • Reduce testing and troubleshooting costs and time. This will bring the best first impression to your users.
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