The first time I met up with web design was about 15 years ago when I had to design a website for a printing company I worked for. The platform I was introduced to at that stage, was Adobe’s Dreamweaver and as I was completely new to the website design industry, I had to go through a Dreamweaver crash course. Since then there was an exponential shift in the way websites are built as both business and website users’ demands and website usage changed. Websites now need to be dynamic, user-friendly, mobile responsive, search engine optimized, interactive and up to date. To build this kind of website requires a huge amount of money, time, personnel and resources which in the end is actually wasted because the website is seldom if ever updated after it’s initial launch.
I have come across numerous websites which were built 6 or 8 years ago, that has never been updated. The structure of the website is still as it was when it was first published. Even the content itself is out of date and has never been updated or replaced with more recent content. That is why Gabe, from Square 2 Marketing, says, “The traditional web design model is totally broken. Whether you’re an agency or business, it leaves you extremely vulnerable to project failure and often does not produce optimal results.”
This brings me to a new model of website design namely Growth Driven Design or GDD for short. Growth-Driven Design is a smarter approach to website design which reduces the frustration and hazards of traditional website design. Growth-Driven Design drives optimal results by learning about your visitors through data and continually enhancing the website’s performance. Growth-Driven Design further improves the entire company through sharing user learnings with other departments and helps users achieve their goals by using the website.
The Growth-Driven Design methodology has three major stages:
- Strategy Stage
The object of the strategy phase is to cultivate an empathetic understanding of your users and how the website can solve their problems along their
journey. There are several steps you need to complete the Strategy Stage:
- Define your website goals by reverse-engineering the overall business’ goals and identify how your business website will influence them.
- In order for you to understand your audience, you will need to do user experience research.
- Create a “Jobs to Be Done” framework which will help you in identifying the underlying needs of your audience and what it requires of them to switch to your company’s products and services.
- Refine your fundamental hypotheses as they are at the core of your users, business, and website’s success.
- Develop buyer personas using the research you have done on your audience.
- Project and map the buyer persona’s journey of what transpires before, during, and after they interact with your business.
- Develop a website-specific strategy that includes elements such as site architecture, on-site SEO, key sections and pages, integrations, technical requirements, etc.
- Brainstorm an initial list for your website which contains creative and impactful website ideas that aim to solve your user’s challenges, provide helpful information, and assist your business in reaching its goals.
- Launch Pad Stage
The object of the Launch Pad is to swiftly build a website which looks and functions better than your current website but is not a final product. Instead, your launch pad is the basis you will build upon and optimize. In launching your website quickly and without sacrificing quality you ready yourself to collect data from real users who interact with your site. Once you have collected your data, you are equipped to make better, data-driven inferences on how to improve the site. In launching quickly you additionally create a quicker time-to-value versus the six or more months of a traditional web design project. A few key areas to focus on to accelerate the launch of your website includes:
- Find ways to customize your approach to building websites that maximizes acceleration while maintaining quality.
- Run design sprints on high-impact pages and sections.
- Create an effective content development process and get content collaboration tools which will expedite your content creation speed and boost the quality of the content you produce.
- Invest in internal efficiencies by switching from a cascading process to an energetic and quick process in building an internal library of pre-built templates, removing developer dependencies so marketers can make updates on their own, leveraging collaboration tools, etc.
- Continuous Improvement Stage
The purpose of the perpetual improvement stage is to identify high-impact actions which you can take to grow your business based on real user data. This is accomplished through a simple yet powerful agile process:
- Plan – During the planning stage, you will define the most impactful items to build or optimize at that moment in time to drive toward your goals.
- Build – The object of the build stage is to host a working sprint with a cross-functional team to complete all the high-impact action items.
- Learn – In the learning stage, you will review all the experiments you are running to extract learnings about your audience.
- Transfer – The aim of the transfer stage is to share your learnings and trade ideas throughout the entire company to better the whole business.
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