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The Discovery Phase: What It Is & Why It Matters

by Gina Armstrong, Lead Designer

Photo by Joshua Earle via Unsplash

The first steps of any web design project – during which the objective and scope of the project are established – are arguably some of the most important.

This period, referred to as the discovery phase, is when we meet with clients to get a better understanding of their goals and any current pain points. The aim is to create a cohesive vision for the project, which guides the user experience (UX) process.

In order to do this, there are four key areas we center our discussion on: audience, brand, content/functionality, and goals.


To create a smooth and enjoyable user experience, it’s critical to know who the user is.

This understanding helps us consider their goals and habits – which influences the overall flow of the site (eg, how the navigation is arranged and where calls to action should direct users). It’s also important because certain audiences may benefit from additional accessibility considerations.

Beyond user experience, the audience also plays a crucial role in determining the overall design aesthetic.


When you think of branding, you probably think about visual elements such as the logo, color palette, and typography.

But branding goes beyond these components – it’s also how you position yourselves against competitors and the tone or voice of your content. Having the whole picture helps us make thoughtful design decisions that resonate with your audience and strengthen brand presence.

Content and Functionality

During any website redesign, the aim is to reduce bulk (where possible) and create a seamless user experience. Taking a critical look at your content gives us an idea of what can be condensed and what needs to be accommodated.

It’s also important to consider functionality needs – think event registration, donations/payments, etc. – so that we know exactly what should be built into the site.


This part is all about the motivation behind your redesign.

Maybe your current site feels visually outdated or the user experience is just clunky. Or maybe you have a new functionality goal. Regardless, it’s crucial to have a firm understanding of your ultimate goal in order to move a project forward.

Taking the time to be intentional during the discovery phase helps create a unified vision before moving into the design process. With a little preparation up front, we create a collaborative experience that avoids disruptions down the line.

If you have a redesign project in mind but aren’t sure where to start, you can reach out to us.

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About Gina Armstrong

Gina is the Lead Designer at Digital Ink. Gina has explored design while serving various roles in the non-profit sector, developing a passion for branding and digital design. Digital Ink tells stories for forward-thinking businesses, mission-driven organizations, and marketing and technology agencies in need of a creative and digital partner.

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