Designer’s Role in UX Discovery Phase

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Software product development is a quite complicated process.

Software product development is a quite complicated process. Thanks to the discovery phase, a founder and a development company can eliminate risks and receive all necessary information for building a new digital product to be able to make informed decisions. This includes budget, time, requirements, target audience, and more.

Today, we will thoroughly discuss the designer’s role at the discovery phase.

How does the product discovery phase work?

The project discovery phase is the first stage of new web product development. Thanks to this stage, business owners make informed decisions, and development firms – gain enough details about the future product and offer time and cost estimates.

Across the product discovery roles that are indispensable are the following:

  • Stakeholders;
  • Product Manager;
  • Lead software developer;
  • UI/UX designer.

The running time of the discovery session depends on the complexity of the project. Usually, it takes two to three weeks.

At the end of the discovery phase, the customer receives:

  • Finished prototypes;
  • Product specification;
  • Development tools and product structure;
  • Advising on the composition of the team;
  • A list of main functions;
  • Time and budget estimations.

Simply put, thanks to the discovery session, business owners are able to create quality custom solutions people need.

UX discovery steps

In the discovery process, the designer’s main task is to create clickable prototypes as a draft of the future web solution. However, it’s not an easy process, and it usually takes time and effort.

To deliver prototypes, a designer should follow the next steps:

  • Familiarization with the project;
  • Research;
  • Developing prototypes;
  • Dialogue with the tech team;
  • Completing the prototypes’ development.

Let’s see these steps in detail.

Familiarization with the project

At this stage, the designer has to know more information about the project. At first, a client fills out a special questionnaire, which includes the following UX questions:

  • What are the project goals?
  • What is the main functionality?
  • Who are the end-users?
  • How can the functions be designed?

Then, the designer discusses the received information with the project manager and goes to research.


The design process discovery stage involves the next steps that determine:

  • Project niche;
  • End-users;
  • Problems the users face;
  • Means to solve their problems;
  • The project’s appearance.

The research step assists in outlining the project’s structure and its look. Throughout the research, the designer refines all requirements of the client. The finished research helps the designer to create prototypes for a future project.

Developing prototypes


A wireframe is a simple prototype that shows the main project’s functionality and structure without going into detail.

Wireframes building is one of the methods used for the discovery stage of UX design that enables sketching the primary placement of the product’s components.

The discussion between the designer and project manager leads to the ultimate choice of design options. The selection is based on convenience for users and the project’s goals. With ready wireframes, the designer starts creating the prototypes.


A prototype shows the appearance of the solution to demonstrate the architecture and flows of the project.

The designer builds prototypes considering roles and flows. This helps to adhere to the customer’s requirements and not overlook the essential details of a product.

Design roles

Design roles in a prototype hinge on the product goal and the way users interact with it.

For example, a marketplace website is designed for an admin, a seller, and a buyer user’s roles. Our Codica team implemented these roles in lots of marketplace projects, including the multi-vendor platform for selling vehicles.

Let’s consider another example, the RecruitEverywhere platform made by the Codica team.

This solution is intended for posting and finding jobs worldwide and includes the roles of a guest and a recruiter.

Design flows

Each flow presents a detailed appearance of a screen and gives an idea of essential events. Creating the flows for the UX discovery phase assists in understanding how the user will stir between the finishing points on the app or website. For instance, building an online marketplace may include the next flows:

  • User registration;
  • Adding goods to the shopping cart;
  • Multi-stage shop registration process.

In the prototyping step of discovery research, we discuss and demonstrate the components and their disposition to our customers. Below is an example of how the Codica team designed a job creation event for the said RecruitEverywhere platform.

Dialogue with the tech team

Creating prototypes also implies discussions with the tech team.

Due to the technical experts’ feedback, the designer can do the following things:

  • Review applicability of the planned functions;
  • Figure out how the functions will connect within the solution.

Completing the prototypes’ development

When the designer has had a meeting with the tech team and received feedback from the customer, they start finalizing the prototypes. This process includes:

  • Making adjustments after the discussion with the tech team;
  • Testing the flow;
  • Deleting needless elements from the draft plan;
  • Checking the clickability of the functions.

Here, the project discovery roles include the tech lead, project manager, and designer.

Below is an illustration of how a one flow clickable prototype looks like. Typically, prototypes with many flows are more complex.

Eight most useful tools for product discovery

As a bonus, we suggest you the list of useful tools you might need for work on a new project as a designer.

Discovery research

UX discovery


In this article, we have briefly discussed the designer’s role in the discovery process. The designer develops prototypes that serve this main aim of the UX discovery phase. They enable the client to see how the future product will look and work.

If you’ve come up with an idea for web product development, feel free to contact us. We would be glad to assist you in setting out its design and perspective.

The article was initially published on the Codica Blog.