6 Ways a User Experience Discovery Improves Your Site

A man stands on a cliff

User experience (UX) is a driving forces behind the success of your website. If your site visitors can’t quickly find the information they need, they could be gone for good. 

In general, the discovery phase of a project takes a step back to analyze what’s currently performing well on your website and what can be improved upon. In a UX discovery, the team specifically looks at elements that affect user experience, like site architecture, navigation, content, and overall design. When the discovery is over, you’ll have a clear idea of what to do to truly engage with your audience and how to move forward with improvements. 

Here are six key insights from a UX discovery that will improve your website. 

Data & Analytics Work to Your Advantage 

Take your time during the discovery to get hard evidence on what is and isn’t currently working. Look into who is using your site, where they are using it, what parts they are looking at, and for how long. 

With analytics, you can assess some of the common pathways users take to better inform your journey maps. Analytics will also show you which pages have the most drop off, so you can determine how to improve audience engagement on those pages. 

Nail Down Your Information Architecture 

A big contributor to your site’s success is how you organize and group information. Bounce rates can often come from users who aren’t able to find information they need with ease. 

Discoveries are an essential time to take a look at your site map and see where a user may get confused. Your discovery team can take a close look at the way your menu items are grouped to confirm that any user will know where to find what they need. 

Get others outside your discovery team to take a glance at your sitemap. The more people that look at your sitemap, the better. A multitude of perspectives provides total validation on page grouping methods. 

Identify Pain Points and How to Alleviate Them

Without doing a discovery, you don’t take a crucial step back to make sure your goals are the right ones. You know how you want to portray your business or product, but you may have a different perspective than your target audience. 

A discovery provides you with an opportunity to do some focus groups and user interviews to see what other people have to say about your site. This is not only to see where people struggle, but it’s also for positive feedback so you don’t take away a portion of your site that resonates well with your audience.

Take Bigger Risks & Explore Ideas Freely

Since a discovery is at the beginning of the process of a new site build or redesign, you can treat it as more of a blank canvas. At this point, you shouldn't fear derailing the site with drastic changes. 

In a discovery, you can completely rearrange your information and not worry about how much it varies from your original ideas. This is the time to explore your options on a larger scale and see what is truly going to drive success for you and your users.

Ask All the Questions

Your strategy team and stakeholders won’t all be in the same room at every stage of the process. If there is a time to fill in any gaps, it’s during a discovery. 

A discovery provides an opportunity for a focused meeting during which you can go through everyone’s mental list of questions and ideas. Talking through these questions can bring up an entirely new list of ideas and problems that need solving. When you discuss a website’s main processes rather than interacting with it directly, you shift your way of conceiving each step of those processes. 

Begin Wireframes and Styles in Tandem 

Most often, we shouldn’t use the first wireframe we sketch. As you find out more about your audience, your team can do quick sketches to test out ideas as they arise. 

Rapid fire responses to information we unveil usually have some strong intuition behind them. Interaction within experiences happen that quickly, so drawing something as an initial response is what we personally expect to find there. When we rely on wireframes as our visual map of information, it’s best to try out a few before we’re sold on which layout will be optimal. 

You may get into more formal wireframes after discovery and look back on ideas you tried previously during the process. You can also save a lot of feedback time when sketches happen in a meeting with stakeholders.

Jen
Jen Rovner

Lead UX / UI Designer

After exploring every corner of graphic design from animation to exhibits, Jen ended up fascinated with user experience design above all. She moved to Philadelphia in 2008, and graduated from Drexel University with a concentration in web and animation.

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