Differentiating Your Tech Business by Redefining Web Design
By Brad Harris - February 01, 2017
Avg. reading time: 5min 15sec.
Making your business stand out online amongst a host of competitors isn’t a piece of cake. It’s a whole freaking buffet.
That’s because, while web design trends change year on year, you’re only re-designing your website every second or third year… and even then it’s taking about 6 months to complete the “fresh look”. Without an in-house web design team, whose job it is to constantly innovate, you’re left behind and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Or perhaps there is. Growth-Driven Design (GDD) is one of the most popular terms in the web design world, and there’s a reason why. This new methodology of building websites is what all tech businesses are looking for in the modern world. It redefines web design and helps differentiate your company, and lowers your cost and scope creep significantly. Enough fluff, let’s get into it.
GDD is a build methodology that requires small amounts of consistent effort to test and prove hypotheses as your website’s user data brings them about. This means that you don’t spend two years building out hypotheses before you build, eventually finding that all of them have changed in the time that it took you to deliver your website. And in that build time, your team likely suffered significantly from stress and were under resourced, resulting in massive scope creep and costs. We can say this, because we’ve experienced it. It’s been the norm for almost a decade.
So, when we discovered GDD at Struto, it was like happening upon the last unicorn. We knew we had found the approach to web design that we’d been looking for. And when we began investigating it, we quickly saw that this new build methodology:
Minimises the risks of scope creep found in traditional design,
Helps us to measure, test, and prove everything we build,
Allows us to continuously learn and improve over a realistic time frame, and
Let’s us underpin and inform sales and marketing so they can use what we have learned to nurture leads effectively.
Working to the GDD methodology is carried out in a 3 step process, which reverts on itself continuously to form a streamlined cycle. It looks something like this:
A wish-list is what you build your launchpad website with. It’s also how you begin to incrementally improve your website as the data pours in and your hypotheses become more mature.
The GDD wish-list is a list of website elements that you imagine your ideal website would incorporate. These can be functions, actions or design ideas – but they are items that you wish your website to include. Now, whereas traditional web design wants to implement all of these items at once, GDD works on the most vital items first and then uses hard data to guide which items should be built next (and whether or not your first assumptions were correct).
Your wish-list should be created by first thinking strategically about what your market wants from your website (i.e. making assumptions about your future customers and users). Once the data starts rolling in, then you can test these assumptions and update your hypotheses.
Now that you’ve answered the hard questions about what your buyer personas are looking for, you’ll have created a list of functions, actions and designs that matches your target audience. Based on your initial research and assumptions, you’ll need to mark which of these are of the highest build priority. Following the 80/20 rule is always a good idea here; where you select 20% of the items that you think will provide 80% of the necessary impact.
Phase 2: The launchpad website
In phase 2, you’ll be actioning your 80/20 priority wish-list items. This will create your launchpad website.
This build process is the same as any website implementation:
Messaging & Content
User Experience (UX) & Site Architecture
Inbound Marketing Strategy Alignment
Quality Assurance and Testing
Phase 3: Analysis of your initial hypotheses
In Phase 3, it’s time for data analysis of your users’ interaction and their lead development. This furthers the GDD process by repeating the wish-list and implementation steps. Where traditional design requires inconsistent and massive intakes of time, effort and money, GDD works continuously to remove this inefficiency. The turn-around time for this cycle, once the launchpad website is up and running, will vary depending on the wish-list item that you’re trying to test, but shouldn’t ever run over 3 months long.
2 Core Reasons Why You Need a GDD Strategy
1. You’re unhappy with your website’s performance
A good website is built for its users, and so analytics should speak for itself. Ask yourself: “Is my website performing how I expected it to?”
A traditionally designed website that’s based off of a single hypothesis usually returns a “No”. If that’s you, it’s not hard to understand why. You’ve had no space or time to move with your users, and you’ve been left behind. That usually means that your users aren’t responding, because you can’t tailor your website based on real-time responses.
Unlike with traditional builds, our unicorn (a.k.a. GDD) is data-driven and allows you to constantly consider in what direction your website should be moving.
2. You don’t have a lot of capital
Traditional web design is expensive (especially as it’s often bulk upfront costs) and usually requires a lot of your team’s time and energy. Not many businesses can afford this.
As mentioned above, GDD allows you to make incremental changes consistently. That means your build fee comes in far smaller amounts that are spread out over time, and you’re building things that will likely last longer because they’ve been tried and tested in real-time.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can use GDD effectively with your marketing and sales to differentiate your business, download our eBook on Differentiating Your Tech Business below.