Discovery and Research

Our process begins with research and discovery. Because designing with intent means understanding the people behind each decision.

Your site deserves the best intentions.

At Blend, there’s one simple truth about websites: the better you plan for a site, the more efficient and cost-effective that site build will end up. Measure twice, cut once.

Which is why we are fully committed to the discovery process.

The research and discovery process.

Building a website is like building a house — each decision is built upon the decisions that came before. Just as an architect doesn’t just throw a number at you and begin working on blueprints, we don’t begin working on a project until we fully understand:

  • The audiences and potential visitors of the site.
  • The content and functionality the site will require.
  • The editorial needs of your team.

The goal is to answer three basic questions:

  • Who will be visiting your site?
  • What content and functionality will help make their visit successful?
  • How simple or complex do you want your design and build to be?

What does discovery and research include?

Discovery is the opening movement for better design, and in this sense it comes in two parts: knowing your site and your users, and strategic definition of the site itself.


  • Site inventory
  • Site audit, including SEO and accessibility preparedness
  • Competitive and contemporary analysis
  • Other industry research as needed


  • Definition of audiences and outcomes
  • Site archetypes and personas
  • Interviews with stakeholders and/or potential site users
  • User testing and research, such as card sorting or prototype testing


  • Site map and navigation UI
  • Content and template modeling
  • Taxonomic needs
  • Wireframes or non-functional prototypes

Related work.

Check out some of the work we’ve done in the field of research and discovery.

View all of our work.

Interactive Wireframe Testing

Understanding user flows through user testing, we created interactive prototypes that allowed us to clearly see what each student was thinking.

Developing a Roadmap for Digital Transformation

Gaining alignment across multiple departments for a new direction, a new content team, and a brand new CMS.

Resources on the discovery process.

We’ve written at length, both here and beyond, on research and discovery.

Episode 2: Set Your Expectations (w/ Karen McGrane)

Corey Vilhauer

Corey and Deane talk about the concept of having it "fast, cheap, and good: pick two." Then, we chat with Karen McGrane of Autogram about our role as corporate counselors, dealing with overpromises, and the best mockumentary.

December 14, 2021 | The Web Project Guide Podcast

Episode 1: Know the Scope of the Project (w/ Bill DeRouchey)

Corey Vilhauer

Corey and Deane discuss the opening beats of a project. Then, we chat with Bill DeRouchey, former lead product designer for Zendesk, to discuss his history with vetting and researching a new project during the opening salvo, territorialism, and Mike Watt.

November 22, 2021 | The Web Project Guide Podcast

Check out more articles on the discovery process.