The Design and Discovery Process: Six Questions You’ll Need to Answer
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The Design and Discovery process is a great way for companies venturing into mobile app development to fully understand the scope of the project they are about to undertake. This process develops a concept for the visual representation of the product’s user experience and outlines the core functionality necessary for achieving business outcomes.


While Design and Discovery aims to set your product up for success, to get the most out of the session, it is important to come in with a high-level understanding of your product’s intent. Unfortunately, not all companies come to the session having done their preliminary research. Missing critical pieces of information often results in additional research and lost time.


Below we’ve outlined six questions you should be able to answer before the Design and Discovery process. By following the five Ws (and one H) information gathering method, you’ll be able to easily discern and interpret key information and share a clear understanding of your product vision from day one. Adequate preparation will allow our team to work collaboratively with you to capture and create key product features, user journeys, wireframes, mockups, and a clickable app prototype.


The Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How of Design and Discovery

Who is this mobile product for?

The most important stakeholders in your product aren’t those who are funding it, rather they are the ones who will be using it. Early on you should establish who your target users are, as well as develop an understanding of that user demographic. For example, Android is more popular among lower-income and developing countries while iOS, on the other hand, is more prominent in North America, UK, and Japan among those with higher income levels, and education. Therefore, if your target audience primarily uses Android devices, it would be ill-advised to only create an app for iOS.  


Your users may range from employees to customers or even both. Identifying your user and their pain points will lay the groundwork for the functionality of your app. Understanding who will be using your product will also influence your monetization strategy, and the features you include in your product. Having this information will help our Design and Discovery team prioritize features for your MVP and develop user journeys. It’s important to remember when developing a product or service to tailor it to meet the needs of a particular set of users, rather than a generic group.

What is the purpose of this mobile product?

To answer this question, you need to have a well-defined concept of what you want your app or mobile product to achieve. For example, is the mobile app an internal app to increase efficiency in the workplace? Alternatively, is the product being created to increase sales from existing customers? Having a clear goal for your mobile product dramatically impacts your overall product strategy and influences decisions about central features.. Most importantly, these goals will determine what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you need to track once you’ve launched your app to determine its success.

Why does this purpose need to be fulfilled?

While having a specific goal for your product to achieve is essential, it is equally, if not more, important to determine if there is a definite need for this product in the market. Before investing in an app, make sure your product will address a specific pain point your audience segment is experiencing. Remember, your app should provide a solution to this specific problem. This “need” will define your product’s purpose. For example, if your customers have been complaining about checkout times, creating an app to reduce checkout times by a certain percentage makes sense. With 21 percent of users choosing to abandon an app just after one use, chances are if your audience doesn’t find value in your product, they’ll stop using it. If you can’t justify why you need an app to reduce checkout times for example, maybe a mobile product is not what your business needs.

How do you plan on adding value by fulfilling this purpose?

Building a product that offers the same features as your competition won’t help you win over users. So how do you provide more value? The best way to add value is to conduct competitor research. Understand what your competitors do well and identify their strengths and weaknesses alongside with your own. By focusing on areas where their product lacks, you’ll be able to identify how to differentiate your product from theirs, directly translating to added value. The research process will develop what is known as a unique value proposition (UVP) which is the core of your competitive advantage. If you don’t understand what your app’s strengths and weaknesses are, you won’t be prepared to market your product successfully.

When do you expect to launch this product?

It’s time to get out of the “ASAP” mindset.  Setting an actual date, and having a timeline in which you want your project completed, will help the Design and Discovery team provide wireframes and mockups that will give a realistic idea of what is attainable within a specific time frame. Things to consider when estimating time frame include project scope requirements such as what platforms you want to develop for and how many features you need to add. Other considerations include any dependencies that may influence launch dates.

Where in the digital space do you want this product to live (i.e. iOS, Android)?

There are three main app types and two leading platforms to decide between. It is important to have an idea of where you want your product to live. Making that decision rests on numerous factors which we’ve written extensively about. When it comes to deciding which platform is right for you, considerations include monetization strategy, budget, timeline and user behavior. If your monetization strategy is based on in-app purchases iOS may be the way to go, but if reaching a broader market is more important, Android should be your choice. You can learn more about each platform here. In terms of what app type, that really depends on your business objectives and overall goals. You can read about web, native and hybrid apps here and decide which is best for your product.

Final Thoughts

These six questions are designed to guide you as you analyze your objectives and reasoning for developing a mobile product, preparing you for a successful Design and Discovery session. In turn, a successful session will provide you with the necessary tools needed to develop and launch a successful mobile product.


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