Design Discovery Document, What I Use to Learn More About Client Needs…

I recently posted about how to improve your creative process, and one of the core elements of that process is learning everything you can about what the client wants, expects, and needs to gain from the creative deliverables. Really the core of this learning process is asking the right questions and guiding the client in answering them, this way you get a clear idea of what you are to be communicating through your design.

I built my design discovery document through observing and reading about what others had put on their questionnaire, as well as trial and error (finding holes in my creative briefs and then writing questions that would help fill those holes). So to keep giving back to the community I wanted to post a quick rundown of the typical questions I ask during the client kick off meeting.

NOTE: Some of these questions are web design specific, others are more generic, and some I leave out depending on the scope of the project


  1. What are 3 emotions or feelings a user should feel when they visit the site. Rank them 1 – 3 in terms of importance? (example: excited, calm, happy, etc)

  2. What are 3 characteristics you want your site to portray? Rank them 1 – 3 in terms of importance. (example: professional, innovative, reliable, etc)

  3. Do you have any brand colors? If not, what colors could be used to accomplish the feelings and characteristics from questions 1 & 2?

  4. What types of images or illustrations could be used to communicate the feelings and characteristics of questions 1 & 2?


  1. What are the primary tasks that a browser will use the site to complete? (example: register for more information, purchase a product, etc)

  2. What are 2 – 3 goals you would like the site to accomplish? (NOTE: Goals are measurable tasks such as “increase sales”, or “improve brand recognition.” Putting content on a site is NOT a goal, ie: “Have a photo gallery”)

  3. Describe a typical site visitor. How often are they online, and what do they generally use the web for? Give basic demographics: age, occupation, income level, purchasing habits. (Use as much detail as possible in profiling your target user. Profile more than one type if appropriate)

  4. What are the key reasons why the target audience chooses your company’s products and/or service (cost, service, value)?
  5. What will be the primary navigation items on the site? (example: home, about, contact, etc)
  6. Will there be any secondary navigation? If so, on what pages will they be on?
  7. What utilities should the site have? (example: search / sitemap / help / etc)


  1. How do most people find out about your product/service or website? What kind of triggers prompt a contact?
  2. Briefly, what are your short-term marketing plans (specifically, for the site redesign and the 6 to 12 months following launch)?
  3. Do you have an existing or planned marketing strategy in mind to promote this site launch? If so, please describe.
  4. Do you intend to keep the site updated? If so, how often? Who is responsible for updating and providing content?


  1. What content or information should be included on the homepage?

  2. What elements on the home page will need to be updated frequently?

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