Redesigning the website requires a lot of planning. It all starts with undertaking online research about the best designers in town. Next, you need to bring them down for a discussion and request for proposals. Even after lengthy negotiations and closing with one vendor, your woes are only about to begin. Add some topping of frustration over project scope, timeline overruns and budgetary constraints, and it is a total mess.
The answer to this is Growth Driven Design. It requires you to focus on the immediate impact and work on continuously improving the website.
In the traditional approach of website design, it was broken down into silos of activities in which the team working on the project had to hand it off in the final stage with little to no influence on future events. However, in the GDD model, the website will be developed in small increments based on the importance of the features involved. In this way, the site will not be static but improve in increments over a while. This productive method of website design uses user information to undertake continual changes on the website.
GDD utilizes a cocktail of lean and agile development processes involving a process of continual development by engaging the right prospects. So, in short, it is a new approach to web design that is user-focused and iterative. Moreover, it is always optimized to the latest technologies ensuring that your website is never obsolete. The process utilities information about the visitor patterns on the site. Furthermore, as the website is being continually updated, it stays optimized and is entirely immune to technological changes.
Traditionally, websites were developed to give only one-way information. Sites spoke about whatever the founders or the marketing team wanted to tell the world. As more and more users logged into the internet to gather information and background about a company and its portfolio of offerings, it became a necessity to have two-way communication. Websites must be keeping up with the changing times.
The traditional web designing model is also time-consuming. It required you to find out the latest technology and include them in your website all at one go. It would also mean loads of prospects missed as most parts of your site would be out of bounds due to work on the new site.
When you already know that your website could go obsolete within a few years, isn’t it risky to invest large sums of money on it? If your site isn’t able to rake in the visitors and enticing them to a call-to-action (CTAs) of your choice, then all the resources are a waste.
Traditional models require loads of effort from your marketing team. It is not enough to include some chic features on your website. You will need to plan out the user journey across your website. It should have clear call-to-action across various stages of the user journey. Strategising about the workflows across the site requires the involvement of multiple resources across the organisation for some months altogether.
GDD is broken into a three-stage process.
At the first stage, you will need to strategies to come up with the foundation for the website.
To start with, you will need to finalize the goals and objectives for the update. At the end of this activity, you will be able to understand the targeted visitors to your website and the purpose of their visit. You will also be able to pinpoint the most valued pages on the website.
The next step is to finalize the buyer personas. You will need to assess the demographics of the visitors to your website. It is understandable there could be different categorizations of visitors to your website. It will help you understand how the visitors react to your website and the probable behavioral patterns by the various types of visitors to your site.
Once you understand the buyer journey across the website for the various buyer personas, you will be able to understand the experiences the visitors to your website would be experiencing. You will be able to gauge the positive or negative vibes they would be having across the buyer journey as they progress through your website. It will also help you understand the improvements need to your site.
You will need to dig into historical user patterns across the various menu items and individual pages of your website. You need to gather data and analyse them to understand the performance of the site and understand the strengths and weaknesses of the site.
You can personally discuss with some of the users about the website and take their suggestions for improvement. You can also utilize the services of various websites and use heat maps to know how the browsing patterns of your site visitors.
Once you have all the information, bring your team together for a working lunch and brainstorm the features that you must include in your site.
After the brainstorming exercise, you can have the list of all features for your site. You will need to have a list of features that you must incorporate in the website right now. The other set of features will go into the flexible list that you can change over time.
The second phase is the central one for your website and is the launching pad for continuous enhancements.
We create a website with the features that we need right now – the Launch Pad Website. You will just need to have some of the critical improvements and have the new site live within a matter of a few weeks. The period of the launch will depend on the features that you want in the launchpad version. While this version of the website is a working version, it should be fully functional for the end-user.
After creating the wish list, you need to discuss with your team about 20% of the features that will cause 80% of the effect on the website. Once this activity has been done, you need to segregate them into two buckets, viz. must have and nice to have. The ones in the must-have list will be your features for building into the site for the next release.
The Hypothesis Statement allows us to have clarity about the features and the associated goals that we are trying to achieve.
It covers these critical items.
Once you have the feature list ready, it is back to the old web development process. You need to have the proper messaging and content while considering the appropriate UX and site structure. You need to finalize the wire frames while aligning the inbound marketing strategy. It will conclude with the development and quality and user testing.
You must ensure that the site can collect vital information related to user behavior. It should be able to calculate the KPIs that you had finalized earlier and also the inputs for the Hypothesis Statement. You can then take the help of heat mapping websites, use analytics data from Google, etc.
Once your website is live, it is the time when the third phase starts. You will need continually take feedback, learn and update your team to make subtle changes to the site. Your base is your wishlist while the features that would come up in the next release depends on the changing personas who visit your website.
This phase covers the Continuous Improvement Cycle that includes these steps.
Undertake performance audits. You must undertake periodic checks on the performance of your site. The site must be meeting the parameters and metrics that you had set as controls to achieve the goals that you had set for the site. You need to collate research data to come at a figure for the metrics that you had set up.
Connect with your teammates. You need to talk to the market-facing team and find out critical changes in user behavior if any. Once you have received the information, you need to brainstorm about changing the priorities in the wish list. You need to get back to the Pareto Principle to prune the must-have features for the next release.
At this stage, you need to start working to develop the next features to be incorporated into the website. Your developers must work on each of the elements to be included. Once done, you will need to check the impact it has on your site. Once launched, you may organise campaigns and reach out to your target market and drive users to that section of the website. The controls in place will assess whether the metrics have improved or not.
In this phase, you will need to collect information about user behaviour and review whether there is any change. You need to check whether the KPIs in place undertook any change. You must also check the Hypothesis Statement and make any necessary changes. Did you learn anything new about the visitors? If yes, you may need to change the Hypothesis Statement.
Have you received any further information about user behavior and the buyer journey across the website? If yes, you will need to transfer to the cross-functional teams. You may also request your colleagues to create a questionnaire that would be easier to answer. The knowledge transfer stage is beneficial for all concerned as the entire organisation gets to know about the latest user behavioral patterns, and all can chip in with views to update the website wish list.
You can do away with the longer deployment cycles only to have a defunct website after a few years. With GDD, you can have a speedier deployment cycle with the site with critical functions up and running for your visitors within a month. Once you have the launchpad ready, you can work on future upgrades in increments.
GDD enables the website to be customer centric and create user-defined metrics to be calculated when needed. The defined KPIs help you to gauge the effectiveness of the changes in your website. You can now easily collect data about the user behavior on your site, allowing you to invest resources in critical areas.
GDD allows you to deploy a website with critical features within a very short time. Being modular it will enable you to quickly make changes to the site and update any changes in your business. A modular approach also eases out on the budget front. Your competitors even lose out on the technological advancements as it is challenging to make changes to a full-featured website.
GDD uses an agile concept of continuously modifying the website based on the must-haves in the wish list. It makes good use of data-driven analytics and user feedback to build on the next set of features for the website. The marketing team can prioritize changes based on the collected data and have a more flexible website strategy.
Are you planning to upgrade your website anytime soon? You better hop onto the GDD bandwagon. It allows you to priorities the website features by focusing on results. You can make ongoing changes in the website by incorporating behavioral analytics of the visitors. Moreover, you can also have a website with the critical features deployed in no time.
With a Growth Driven Design, the risk of your website being obsolete is minimized, and continual improvement also ensures the visitors complete their buyer journey across the website smoothly and transfer into pre-qualified leads more often.