Secrets that you don't know about growth-driven web design
Tired of the web development grind? Try switching to growth-driven design, which can help you save money and time in the long run.
3 December 2019 · 7 min read
Growth-driven design is a modern approach to web design that takes some advice from the rest of the software world. Rather than building a website in its entirety right from the beginning, you start with a simple website and add to it over time.
It’s an iterative process that allows your web development to be far more agile. Growth-driven design never really ends; it’s an ongoing cycle of improvement for your website. This will enable you to build your website in a more manageable way, rather than in huge leaps that take massive budgeting and time resources.
The core components of growth-driven web design are data and trial and error. Using these two strategies in tandem allows you to create a better website with a small budget.
Traditional web design vs. growth-driven design
The traditional web design process can be summarized by the word “stressful”. It involves laying out all of your ideas for your website at once (a few weeks), hiring someone to turn those ideas into a draft website (another few weeks). Not just that, the next steps are going through that draft website and finalizing everything (a few months) until you end up with a site that you’re happy with.
Then two years later, after everything about your website has become stale and outdated, you do it all over again.
Designing a website this way takes substantial resources and energy, turning one of the most critical aspects of your business into one of the most demoralizing. Growth-driven design, on the other hand, simplifies this process into something far more productive and positive.
The risks of traditional web design
People often view new methods and strategies as being inherently risky (they are new, after all). To help you overcome your worries about growth-driven design, we’re going to go over some of the costly risks of traditional web design.
First, traditional web design is costly. It takes a lot of time and money to see it through to the end. Depending on the size of your business, you’re either going to be working with an agency (high in cost) or an individual developer (takes longer to complete).
Then, after your website is complete (often behind schedule and over budget), you realize that you have no idea how it’s going to perform. You don’t know if it’s going to provide your business with value, if it’s going to work as expected or be used as intended, etc. Your design work is only based on your ideas and your designer’s ideas, not data.
The principles of growth-driven design
To avoid the risks of traditional web design, you can start implementing the principles of growth-driven design into your website. These are the ideas that helped shape growth-driven design and are what make it such a powerful strategy.
As we covered, traditional web design comes with a lot of risks, which is why one of the critical goals of growth-driven design is to minimize the risks associated with web development. This includes making sure the money and time you invest in development pay off and that your designs and features resonate with users.
By taking on an iterative, data-centric approach, you make fewer decisions that have a much higher chance of succeeding. For example, if you have a high-volume of users engaging with one area of your website, then you know that investing in that area is likely going to improve your performance. Traditional web design, on the other hand, has few guarantees.
Perhaps the most defining aspect of growth-driven web design is that it is iterative. This means that you never really stop designing your website. There are no significant redesigns or updates because your site is always current.
A helpful way to think of growth-driven design is as an ongoing series of sprints rather than one big marathon that you undertake every few years. At the beginning of each year, you look at your website’s analytics from the previous year, figure out what needs improvement, and spend the rest of the year steadily making changes to your site.
This allows you to stay flexible and focused. Your attention is only ever on a few small things at a time, so you’re never overwhelmed or stretched too thin. You’re also never left behind on web design trends, as you have an opportunity to embrace them each year.
Based on data
The second most crucial component of the growth-driven design is the use of data. Data is at the center of every useful growth-driven project, protecting you against bad investments and wasted time. Like your website’s design, the process of collecting and implementing data is ongoing.
If you’ve never taken advantage of data with your website, the time to start doing it is now. Apply tools and code that help you analyze your website’s performance. Looking at these metrics will make your design decisions much more effective.
Data can also tell you a lot about people who are using your website. You can see which pages get the most traffic, which conversion elements have the most success, which components of your website are seen as the most helpful, and so on. By tracking your website’s performance with users, you’ll know what they want and where to apply it.
Finally, the growth-driven design is user-oriented. This means that every new feature, design decision, and update is about improving the experience for your users. Changes to a website that’s using growth-driven design should never be made on a whim.
This is one of the areas where the traditional web design process can leave businesses feeling like they’re not getting the results they want. Decisions about the evolution of a website are made by a marketing team, campaign, or new idea. Instead, with growth-driven web design, changes are only fueled by user feedback.
Making your website user-oriented is about using data effectively. The better the data that you collect, the easier it’s going to be to determine what kinds of features your users are looking for. You’ll also know how frequent visitors use your website versus new visitors, which will allow you to optimize different elements of your website.
Growth-driven design in three steps
As we’ve mentioned a few times now, the growth-driven design is an ongoing process. Rather than going through huge starts and stops like traditional web design, it’s a steady, manageable process that consists of just three steps.
Step 1. Planning
The first step in a growth-driven design process is the planning phase. This should take place one every year and last for about one month. This is where you’re going to decide what your goals are for the next year with your website and what your timeline should be.
Auditing your website
The first part of your planning should center around auditing your website. This is where data comes into play. During this process, gather as many metrics as you have about your website’s performance over the previous year. Using this data, determine which areas of your site were the most and least capable.
After auditing your website, you should be able to answer the following questions:
- Why do people visit your website?
- How do they use your website?
- What value does your website provide to your visitors?
Making a checklist
After you’ve broken down your metrics and answered these questions, you can use the results to create a checklist of features and improvements you’d like to make to your website. For example, if you’ve realized that the majority of your visitors are on mobile devices, you may want to come up with ways to improve the mobile version of your website.
This checklist should also include things you want to remove from your website. You don’t have to remove items from your website, but it should be considered. See if parts of your website are going unused, if they’re being misused, or if they’re receiving adverse reactions, and make plans to get rid of or replace them.
Step 2. Iterative development
The next step is iterative development. This step, along with Step 3, make up a two-part cycle that repeats until your next planning phase. You should engage in iterative development, apply your data, then begin another stretch of iterative development.
This step is where you’re going to start implementing portions of your checklist. You most likely won’t be implementing everything at once. Instead, pick just a few features (possibly even one) that you want to perfect. Once they’re completed, you can move onto the next set of features, and so on.
Plan and implement
Once you’ve decided which features you’re going to focus on during this iterative stretch, it’s time to start planning out and implementing those features. Figure out exactly how these features are going to work, what deliverables need to be met, when your deadlines are going to be, and so on.
From there, all that’s left to do is start implementing these features. During implementation, remain open to feedback. If you notice that a feature announcement isn’t going over well, or if, internally, an idea just isn’t coming together, don’t be afraid to scrap it and try something else. This is one of the critical benefits of growth-driven design, so take advantage of it.
Test your design
Once your feature(s) are ready, it’s time to start testing them. Specifically, you’re going to be split testing them. This involves only changing the feature for a random set of users. Then, using metrics gathered during this testing, compare how the website performs with this feature versus without it.
Step 3. Apply your data
After you’ve tested your new feature, it’s time to apply what you’ve learned. If the tests achieved your desired results, then you’re good to go! Just polish off any bugs that may have been discovered during testing, and you should be ready to move on to the next set of features/updates on your checklist.
If things didn’t go so smoothly, then you have a decision to make. You can either cut the feature now or go through another phase of planning and implementation to try and make it work. Neither is necessarily right or wrong; it just depends on how your testing went and what you were hoping to achieve.
Whether your testing phase was a success or not, you need to keep a record of what you tried and what it resulted in. This will keep you from repeating mistakes or investing in features that you’ve already attempted in the past. You should also inform your marketing team of the results, especially if a new feature is going to be added to the site so that they can help push your audience to try out this feature.
A modern approach to web design
Once you start to understand and use growth-driven design in your own business, it’s hard to imagine why everyone hasn’t made the switch yet. It’s flexible, cost-effective, and user-friendly. If you’re looking for a modern, growth-driven answer for your web development needs, check out our web building solution here at B12.