The Recommendation phase can be one of the most fun and rewarding parts of a Discovery Process. We’ve completed the stakeholder interviews, audits, brainstorming sessions, and inspiration boards. Now, we bring those components together to create a plan, make recommendations, and move forward with the client.
We split the Recommendations phase into three major parts: Creative Strategy, Technology, and Project Roadmapping.
Creative Strategy is definitely subjective, and will look a little different from client to client. Generally, the Creative Strategy portion of Discovery includes recommendations for what we’re going to do – usually from the Design and Content teams – and can be in the form of a vision board, a site map, or an outline. Sometimes, we also include initial wireframes in this process.
This is probably the most important phase in Discovery, but it’s also the most variable. Our approach changes based on our client. For example, if a client is more visual, we’d likely prepare a sitemap for them. If the project is more complicated, we may create initial wireframes or user flows. If a client isn’t technically inclined and values the intuitive, we’d probably make a moodboard or vision board to relay our concepts and recommendations.
Creative Strategy is about meeting clients where they are and creating content that will get everyone excited about the work to come. It’s also the culmination of all your hard work during the Discovery Process – so have a little fun with it!
Recommendations for technology are largely dependent on what we uncover in our stakeholder interviews. We meet with the person who will be managing the website long term, or with someone who can be the technical point of contact for the project.
If possible, it’s also incredibly valuable to speak with actual website users!. We usually ask what they come to the website to accomplish, what pain points they have, and what they’d like to be able to do on the website in the future.
It’s also important to keep use cases in mind when making technical recommendations. Does our client want to perform actions that go beyond the capabilities of a regular web page with content? For example, do they want to be able to log in, access a content platform, provide any gated content, or have different user states (i.e., pages/content that are different once the user is logged in)? If so, we’d likely place more emphasis on our technological research and recommendations for this client.
On the other hand, maybe our client isn’t very technically driven, and/or their website doesn’t require any special tech. Either way, we always include lots of explanation and education so that clients know exactly why we’re recommending what we’re recommending.
[P.S. - if you’d like to see some of our top recommendations for technology and services in 2023, we’ve got just the blog for you.]
Roadmapping, project planning, scheduling – there are many ways to say “timeline.”
In this phase, we provide a project timeline and cost estimate. We find that providing a range of cost options helps us and our clients to align, and we base each price on our tried and true estimation process (X takes Y hours of work, etc.) that stems from both formulas and experience. And, of course, any custom integrations incur additional costs.
Timelines are ever-changing things, so we try to keep these high-level. Because proposal acceptance and project start dates can vary, we typically offer time estimations in number of weeks, rather than in a date range.
Once all of this heavy lifting is complete, it’s time to present our research and recommendations to our client. We want to let our clients know that they’ve been both seen and heard – their concerns about their site or project have been top of mind throughout our Discovery phase.
After all, the culmination of all this work can revolutionize the way a client’s website looks and performs! Feel the excitement.
We hope this blog series has been valuable to you, and we wish you the best on your Discovery journey – whatever form it may take. And if you’re looking for someone to help your project or website take form, the team at Ample loves and welcomes Discovery Projects of all shapes and sizes. Bon chance!
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