Chapter 2. Setting the Stage: Discovery and User Experience

In this chapter, we talk about one of the most important pieces of the Drupal puzzle, and the one that is often neglected by new site builders. The discovery process helps us gain an understanding of the client, the objectives of the project, and some of the functional issues that we might have to contend with; the user experience process helps us frame the interactions that will need to take place through the website, and helps everyone on the team agree about what we’ll actually be creating.

Breaking Down the Project Goals

Every project, from the most basic promotional site to the most complex online community, should start with a solid discovery process. During discovery, you’re looking to accomplish two things:

  1. Find out everything you possibly can about the clients, their business goals, and why they want to invest in this project.

  2. Create a set of documentation for the project that you can point to down the line to defend your design choices, and to help manage the inevitable “just one more thing...” conversations.

Every designer and team has a different process for discovery. Some like to have a quick meeting, sum it up with a few bullet points, and jump right into visual design concepts. Others need to take a deeper dive, and gather as much information as possible before doing anything other than very quick pencil sketches. I tend towards the deep dive approach. It not only helps me orient myself to the client’s needs ...

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