So what's the process like?

There are roughly three stages to the process of building a digital product: discovery, design, and development. Each stage is important and builds on the previous one. Here’s a brief overview of each stage:


This is where we try to understand as best as possible what problem we hope to solve. Who are the users, what is their problem, and how can we solve it with technology? We’ll need to ask a lot of questions and some of them might be hard to answer definitively. We’re also going to need to challenge some assumptions. Acknowledging what we don’t know is just as important as what we do know.

To do this, we’ll have some conversations and talk about what those knowns and unknowns. We’ll also probably need to do research in the form of interviews or surveys with potential users. From there, we’ll discuss high-level ideas about what it is we’re trying to build and what kinds of tools we have available to us. It’s important to not only have an idea of what we are doing but also what we aren’t. That will likely mean deciding on scope and specifying the core features we want to prioritize.


Remember: design is how it works. At least at the beginning, we’ll focus mainly on the core user experience and start to translate our high-level ideas into wireframes and mockups. Sometimes these are very rough, like paper and pencil rough. Where necessary we’ll start to add fidelity and details but the priority in the design phase is to ensure we’re thinking about how the tool works more than how it looks.


This is where ideas start to become reality. If we’ve done our previous steps correctly, it won’t take long to start to see some features take shape and be ready for internal testing and review. But much like the design step, things will begin rough and get more refined as we go. We’ll likely have a few rounds of testing and feedback before we’re ready to launch.

But wait, there’s more

The catch is this process is iterative. That means we’ll probably go back to the top and start over a few times depending on what we learn. This is important because it’s extremely likely that many of our original assumptions will be wrong, at least in some form. Keep in mind that this is not only a normal part of the process but a necessary part of the process. The more we learn, the better we can build.