Want to hear something that may sound shocking coming from a company that has “web design” in its name? Traditional web design methods do not work anymore. The way people traditionally design websites is completely based on opinions and the truth is visitors don’t care what your opinion is. A new design method must be used to create sites based on how visitors will actually use the site.
What’s Wrong with Traditional Web Design?
Traditional web design is the way we at i5 used to approach web projects and it is the method that many other companies still use today.
With traditional web design, there are five main stages. These stages progress in a waterfall style methodology, with each step sequentially building upon the last step.
You decide you need to design or redesign your website. You then spend a large amount of time gathering all the business requirements from key stakeholders and getting approval to begin the project.
After all the requirements are gathered, you can begin the design process. Some web design companies will create examples of two or three different designs and submit them to you for your review and approval.
The design process can take quite some time. It all depends on how fast your web design company can get the design samples to you and how long the approval process takes.
Sometimes this happens quickly, while other times it can go through several rounds of review and changes before the final design is approved and signed off.
Once you have completed the design process, your web design company can begin to actually build your website. Additional requirements or design elements are often introduced during this phase, which can increase the size and timing of the project.
This increase is known as scope creep. Some companies will limit the number of design changes or have a change management approval process for additional budget and/or time to mitigate the project getting out of hand.
After the website build is completed, the testing stage begins. During this user acceptance testing phase, it is common for even more changes to pop up.
This is usually because more people are introduced to the project than the ones who gave their initial approval of the design. Typically at this stage, senior management will weigh in, as well as co-workers, friends, family, and even external trusted advisors.
All of these opinions and voices will add to the amount of changes required during the testing phase and every change will require more time from the web designers.
After multiple changes and rebuilds are approved during the testing phase, the website can finally be launched. After the launch of the site, your web design company will continue to provide routine maintenance on the site, but there will be no additional design or optimization work going on.
As you read through the steps taken to launch a website, do you see any research or testing done to find out how your visitors actually use or want to use your website?
While the design may be up toYOUR standard, you will get unpredictable results from your site because it may not be up to your VISITORS standards. So after all that work, you’ve lost valuable time and resources to design and build a website that is based off opinions, not data.
It probably took 4-6 months to complete and was so frustrating and painful that once the website actually launches, you want absolutely nothing to do with it. You will ignore it until the design and technology stack becomes so obsolete that you have no choice but to go through this painful process all over again.
Does this sound familiar? If so, we have a solution for you: Growth Driven Design.
What is Growth Driven Design?
Growth driven web design works because it’s not sequential, it’s not based off of opinions, and it absolutely includes feedback from your visitors.
The Growth Driven Design process is very simple, straightforward pathway to web design that eliminates the waterfall pathway that traditional web design takes.
Step 1: Strategy
In the strategy stage, you will work with your web design team to understand your audience and the problems they are encountering.
You will brainstorm how your website can solve the problems of your audience and where it fits into your prospects’ buyers journey. Finally, you will create a “wish list” of high impact ideas for your website.
Step 2: Web Development
After the strategy session, your web design team will quickly begin to create a foundational website in order to begin collecting data from your visitors. The goal here is not to have the perfect website, but a starting point that will continue to grow and develop as more data is collected.
Each foundational website must meet these three guiding principles:
- The launchpad website must be better than your current website
- The site must be built with future expansion in mind
- The site must focus on the high impact and high value features and requirements
The key differentiating factor between growth driven design and traditional web design happens in this step.
Your website will be launched before it is “perfect” and that’s okay!
When it comes to web design, there is no such thing as perfect. Instead the goal is to quickly launch the site and improve it as the ever important visitor data is collected.
Step 3: Continuous Improvement
Once the launchpad website is up and running, the real fun begins. The launchpad website will have the high impact items from your wishlist and you and your web design team can begin to collect data from visitors to learn what works, what doesn’t, and what is missing.
After data is collected, you and your web design team can begin a process of continuous improvements called sprints. In each sprint, you will monitor the behavior and actions of the actual visitors on your site.
The data that is collected will guide you on how to make impactful improvements to your site and help you reach your website goals.
How Does Growth Driven Design Help Improve My Site’s Performance?
As you gather data from your launchpad site, you can then determine what actions you should take to improve your website. Some examples of data gathered include typical performance metrics such as:
- Conversion rates
- Time on page
- Bounce rates
These metrics allow you to determine which pages you need to focus on: pages with high volume and low engagement.
On these pages you look at what visitors are clicking and not clicking on, where they are moving their mouse and how far down the page they are scrolling. Armed with this data you can now make informed and data driven optimization changes to the page.
Your sprints can also be used to add in features or requirements that were not included in the initial launchpad website. You should target the low hanging fruit that will have the greatest impact towards your goal.
Depending on the traffic volume of your site and the priority of additional features, we recommend that sprints be done on a monthly, quarterly or biannually basis.
Why Should I Choose Growth Driven Web Design?
High performance websites are not built overnight and they are certainly not built in one iteration based on best practices. The traditional “launch it and leave it” approach will never deliver the results of a growth driven website.
Using a growth driven design approach gives your website, your number one digital asset, a distinct competitive advantage over companies who follow the traditional web design model.
While your web site is constantly improving and adjusting to the changing market conditions, trends, and behavior of your visitors, their website remains stuck in the past.
It will likely be years before their next website redesign project and they will be stuck paying a large sum of money for another site with little to no improvements made after launch.
In the meantime, you will be paying a lower cost up front for a website that continuously grows and adapts as you gather data from your visitors, providing you with a more functional and high performing website.
Interested in learning more about Growth Driven Design? Contact us for a free website assessment to get started!