Some companies feel threatened by the increasingly rapid pace of change in their markets and try to save time by skipping research.

Others — particularly in the tech sector — commit to "moving fast and breaking things" but do little to understand what they should be creating and breaking and why.*

To counteract this, I focus on combining business strategy, UX strategy, user research & experience design to validate my approach, ensuring business and user goals are met.

Discover & Learn (Using Lean UX methods)

The discovery stage is all about validating assumptions and ensuring there is a shared understanding of the problem being solved.

  • What's the problem being solved? (Define this from a user's perspective).
  • What questions need to be answered to understand the problem?
  • What assumptions do we have that need to be validated?

The above items will guide us in defining UX strategy and UX research methods.

There are generally 3 pillars within the discovery phase:

  • Understanding users & how they currently solve the problem
  • Understanding business goals
  • Understanding market context

1. Understand Users & How They Currently Solve The Problem

  • Understand the customer segment(s) by identifying needs, pain points and goals. This is approached through user interviews or contextual enquiries. 
  • Personas or empathy maps can then be created as a summary of what we learned from interviews / contextual enquiries. We can use personas as a basis for journey or experience mapping as well as using them to inform the types of users we'd like to recruit for usability testing later in the engagement.
  • Map the customer journey. Mapping the journey allows us to understand user needs, pain points and opportunities as a user moves through a holistic experience (experience map) or software journey (journey map). Both current and future states can be mapped. 
  • If there's an existing product / solution, understand how this is used and what the pain-points are. We can do this through user testing. This is similar to usability testing, but rather than understanding 'can the customer use the product', we are trying to understand 'how they currently solve the problem'.

User testing and usability testing – 2 terms often confused.

2. Understand Business Goals

  • Ensure the value proposition is clear and universally agreed by all stakeholders. We want to ensure we are creating value for customers rather than just building features. If the value proposition isn't clear — a value proposition canvas workshop can be run.

Clarify that business goals are clear

  • What does the business want to achieve with this product / feature / engagement?

Align user needs and business goals as project objectives

  • Run an affinity mapping session to ensure all user needs and business goals are mapped and agreed-upon.
  • Capture these as objectives for the product / feature / engagement.  Be sure to ask if there are any other objectives to keep in mind.

“Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design.”

Dieter Rams

Create a vision statement

We will create a (product type) for (who) that (does what) so that (result) by being (key attributes).


A section from a competitive analysis I undertook for the Rangle website engagement.

Ideate & Define

At this stage in the process we should have a clear understanding of the problem and be ready to map and create an M.V.P. The ideate and define stage involves:

  • Defining, creating and validating the M.V.P
  • Mapping scenarios and task flows
  • Card sorting & tree testing
  • Wireframing key screens


© Jamie O'Leary 2020
Experience Designer

This isn't the end, it's just the beginning.✌️