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The Web Design Discovery Phase:
How to Start Your Website Right

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Why Have a Discovery Phase

You wouldn’t let an architect draw you a floor plan, let alone build you a building, without him knowing what your new building is for, would you? I could go on, but you get the point. The same principle goes for web design/development.

So I Can Truly Help You

If your web designer/developer immediately jumps to designing/coding at the start of the project, start worrying, my friend.

This shows how your guy is uninterested in helping you. He just wants to design/build a website, period. Continue with this kind of process and you’ll end up with a website that’s not what you really needed.

Sure, you guys can revise when you’ve seen the result. That is, after he’s done. But you know what?

You can use an eraser on the drafting board or a sledge hammer in the construction site Click To Tweet

Save yourself time, money, and a lot of headache in the long run with your custom website project by doing it right at the very start.

What the Discovery Phase is All About

My discovery phase is all about you, so I can truly tailor a professional custom website for you:

  • I learn what you’re all about – business image, brand, products and services, goals, etc.
  • I gather your requirements and specifications
  • I find out your wants and needs (not always the same thing, by the way)
  • I brainstorm with you. I innovate, provide evaluations, solutions, and suggestions. You have the idea, it’s my job to translate that into web technology.

It is every web designer’s duty to go through a discovery process with his client before proceeding to design. Not doing so is really just trying to solve a problem by guessing what the problem is.

A Case Study

Let’s go back to my analogy of a website and a physical building. Since your website is your business’ online home, let’s work around the example of building a physical home.

Customer: I need you to build me a house to live in.

Developer: Okay! I’ll start right now.

Now let’s be real. Building a house is not an overnight thing. It will take months, if not years. In this example, the developer was able to finish.

Developer: I’m done with your house. It costs [insert amount here].

Customer: But that’s not what I had in mind. Could you make the number of rooms to seven instead of just one? I have a huge family. I think you just assumed I will be living alone. I also need the flooring to be maple wood, not tiles. You have the outer colors wrong, I need it in green not blue. [Insert more changes here]

At this point, there are a few options. If the developer is determined to finish the project, which he should be (I’m looking at you, developers who leave their clients in the air and leave the rest of us with a bad name), he will do the changes to cater to his customer’s needs.

Another option for the developer is to stop with the project and move on with life (bad).

Or the customer can choose to live in the house and pay the amount, with a heavy heart, of course.

Regardless of what option was taken, all of the following are true:

  • Time, effort, and money were wasted.
  • Both sides suffered a huge deal.
  • This situation is impossible to happen in real life because no one would be dumb enough to start a project immediately without sitting it down with planning, analysis, and lots of research performed by both sides (customer and developer).
  • The last three bullet points are true not only for building a physical home but also for building an online home A.K.A your website!

You want your web design/development to be successful? Start right.

Where to Start?

If you’re thinking of having a website…
or you already have one but you’re not sure it speaks your voice…
or it’s not working the way it’s supposed to for your business…
I’m here to help.


A great way to start a discovery phase is to nail the basics first. I have put together a simple questionnaire that web designers and soon-to-be website owners can use to help shape the design and functionality of their website. It will put your whole website on the right track from the very start with the most critical questions.

From that point, you can move on to the other details of your project. Just be sure to nail the basics first!

That’s why I am giving the questionnaire for FREE (yes, you can have it right now straight to your inbox!)

Get your FREE Web Design Questionnaire below to help jumpstart your website!

About Karla Dampilag

Karla is a location-independent custom website developer. She obviously loves solving problems through web technology, but she also enjoys developing Android apps during her free time.

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