Continuing the train of thought from Working With an Architect, predesign activities would be applied under the headings of occupant habits and customs and the building site at a minimum. Certainly the client and architect could choose to apply predesign activities under a number of other headings depending on the type of project. For example, it's intuitive and reasonable to expect the headings for a skyscraper to be vastly different than those for a residence.
The headings mentioned above are usually gathered together under the title of programming, and the final result of the activity, or the program, is used to inform and guide the schematic design phase. Schematic design undertakes the task of translating the written program into a visual diagram that accounts for all the program components. The schematic design often begins as a very simple geometrically based diagram such as a Venn or a bubble diagram, and then transforms into very basic but recognizable plans, sections and elevations through a number of iterations. The number of iterations is usually based on the size and complexity of the project.
The translation from words to images can be perceived as an almost magical or alchemical metamorphosis because the result is always more valuable than the initial ingredients. The substance and worth of the result is directly proportional to the architect's ability and talent; it requires significant training, experience and savoir-faire to produce an acceptable result.