White Arrow Pointing To The Left Of The Screen
Estefania Teixeira
Back to Blog

Product Discovery in UX/UI Design


Product Discovery is essential for successful product development and design. Many teams focus solely on product delivery, leaving many other important aspects aside. Therefore, a product development process needs a product discovery framework first!

If you're a designer stuck in the delivery phase, you're exploring and not solving... Now, you know the problem! Anything involving UX requires time for discovery, so you should take the time to discover everything related to the project. In this opportunity, we bring you the main features of Product Discovery and how it converges with UX and UI. Here we go!

What is Product Discovery?

Product Discovery process focuses on understanding user problems. The goal is to confirm the ideas and find solutions before starting the project. By understanding your user closely, you can enhance the Design Thinking process.

While it may seem unclear, product discovery is part of a product's lifecycle! This process is vital to determine whether your product is viable or not. And during this process, you'll get help from UX/UI professionals and Product Managers. By this point, you probably have many essential questions during Product Discovery. What is the problem that the product is solving? What is the product value proposition? What are the product's goals and scope, and which metrics will guide its success?

The discovery, a preliminary stage, is crucial in the UX design process. Integrate the problem investigation, framing of the problems, and their solution. The idea is to collect enough evidence to know which step to follow. It's common for companies to invest time and budget in correcting errors after the project is ready. Please don't do this, as it's a synonym for wasting money and time. The goal is to prevent mistakes before the product comes to market! Discovery is essential and a risk-reducing exercise that guides the design stages.

Product discovery is a cross-functional team process. You'll need the help of several professionals. Let's start with the basics. You can see Product Managers, UX/UI Designers, and Devs here. Yet, this procedure also considers User Researchers, Engineering Leads, and Sales Teams! This combination of professionalism allows the development and classification of valuable things. 

How does Product Discovery work?

The essential items for product discovery rely directly on the project. Yet, to better understand how to handle UX-focused Product Discovery, you need to know a few things.

1. Interviews. It's necessary to get comments from all stakeholders involved. The goal is to recollect as many opinions and visions as possible for a smooth process. You also need a UX review to summarize strengths and weaknesses.

2. User Research. Review of user searches in the form of surveys or interviews to understand users' pain points. Here, a comparative research board also comes in handy. Also known as a mood board, it's in charge of showcasing competitors and industry leaders. In short, it serves as a source of creative inspiration.

3. Personas and Workflows. Proto personas can help you better understand your users, creating a vision adaptable to all key persons. Also, remember workflow diagrams! They're excellent for understanding the product's logic, giving a holistic view of the user experience.

4. High-Level Mock-Ups. The actual design starts in the prototyping stage. Integrating one or two vision pages at the end of the discovery phase is necessary. This strategy is a guiding compass for the next design phase.

The Product Discovery phase should last around 2 or 3 weeks. While stakeholders often undermine this process, avoiding it can lead to delays and overbudgeting!

Where to Start with Product Discovery?

Before starting with the discovery, it's essential to handle different edges.

1. Decision-Making. Many voices will aim to give opinions, but having a single face as the project's spokesperson is vital. With this organization, you avoid misunderstandings and duplicated actions. The chosen person must be able to make strategic decisions for the project.

2. Access Ensuring. Teams should contact all stakeholders from the beginning to get comments in the development phases. Yet, it's also important to talk with the users to test the usefulness and viability of the product. You can get the best data for creating the best project, starting from five to eight users. This number of comments will depend on the project size but will help with usability testing.

3. Data Analytics. Data is a wonderful tool for understanding trends and metrics, and gathering information about users. In most cases, you must use analysis software. This type of software contains all the data necessary for product development. With all the requirements in place, it's time to start your design on the right foot! The idea is to move on with a solid foundation. 

Product Discovery for UX/UI Designers

UX Designers collaborate with Product teams to get essential data and transform it into tangible actions. The process is iterative, and you can work around it with Agile sprints. When the hypotheses are already certified, it's workable to start development. In most scenarios, there are five key points to execute in the Research and UX/UI Design stages.

1. Discovery. Identify the problem through assumptions and discovery. It's necessary to confirm the hypotheses through interviews with users. Using the product hypotheses, vision board, interview notes, and recordings are essential.

2. Definition. It's necessary to create a research synthesis to summarize the data. It aims to process and rank the findings. User journey maps, workflow diagrams, and affinity maps are helpful in the definition.

3. Design. Create prototypes where low or high-fidelity clicking is possible. Ensure to make user-centered design test prototypes with real users to certify their functionality.

4. Development. The goal is to apply the new knowledge to the product. For this, you’ll need engineers, developers, and designers.

5. Delivery. Add continuous cycles of comments to collect user feedback. Here, processes like user testing are essential to upgrade your products to what users want.

Product Discovery Best Practices

Are you aiming to start working with Product Discovery? Pay attention to these tips! 

1. External Advice. It's not product discovery if someone tells you the process and steps you must follow! Avoid external advice from the product team relating you to how to build something. If this happens, the focus is on delivery rather than discovery.

2. Behavior Research. As counterintuitive as it sounds, users don't have all the answers. Users say what they think they want. The idea is to investigate the reason roots of customer behaviors.

3. Rely on Teamwork! The whole team must work on the solution. Product discovery and UX are collaborative practices. It requires the participation of engineers, product managers, and UX designers. Designing great digital experiences is not a one-person thing!

Final Thoughts

Product Discovery is an essential part of the User Experience process. Creating viable products is a step-by-step process of getting information and reaching a joint solution. It's possible to adjust the product discovery framework as the project progresses. The goal is for the product and UX team to work hand in hand to arrive at a solution!