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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.

RESEARCH

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

UNDERSTANDING USERS

  • 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

DEFINING THE PROJECT

  • 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 8: Gather Insight From Your Metrics (w/ Jon Crowley) Off-site link

Corey and Deane talk about the first time they tracked analytics on their blogs in the early 2000s. Then, Jon Crowley, Senior Vice President of Strategy at Diamond Marketing Group, talks to us about the balance between data and insights — how to focus on questions rather than raw numbers, how to look for answers rather than “trying to be correct,” and a when we can take data at face value. (He also gives us a tour of his shoe collection.)

June 15, 2022 | The Web Project Guide Podcast

Episode 7: Know Your Content (w/ Paula Ladenburg Land) Off-site link

Corey and Deane talk about Blend CEO Karla Santi’s recent selection as Small Business Person of the Year for South Dakota. Then, Paula Ladenburg Land, author of The Content Inventory and Audit Handbook and principal at Strategic Content LLC, joins the podcast to talk about content inventories and content audits, including what separates the two, when and how to worry about auditing, and her first ever content inventory, which arrived as a spreadsheet on one-and-a-half inches of printed paper.

May 17, 2022 | The Web Project Guide Podcast

Check out more articles on the discovery process.