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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.
The New Playbook: Growth-Driven Design
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:
- Brainstorming a wish-list of items and functions,
- Building a launchpad website, and
- Analysing hypotheses and reverting to step 1.
Phase 1: A wish-list
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.
When Do You Need a GDD Strategy?
1. You’re unhappy with your website's performance
Best performing websites have one thing in common: they're designed primarily with the user in mind. If you're website is not performing as you'd hoped, the most likely reasons are:
- your decisions were based on your personal preferences, or,
- you haven't yet managed to get to know who your buyers are and what your users want from your website.
Cut yourself some slack: The traditional approach of designing a website based on untested hypotheses is inherently flawed. That’s because it doesn't allow you the chance to test a hypothesis by analysing your users' responses, and to alter your website accordingly.
GDD begins with your hypothesis, but from that point it is all about making incremental changes according to what your analysis of real-time user data reveals. This means that as you see users reacting differently to how you imagined, you can alter your website, little by little, to work for them, analyse these changes as you make them, and so increase its performance.
Unlike with traditional builds, a GDD approach is data-driven and allows you to constantly consider in what direction your website should be moving (based on real metrics). If you are unhappy with the design or performance, there is no extensive time commitment for a full re-design, but instead you slowly transform the website to perform as it’s intended (read: generate traffic, leads, and convert customers).
2. You don’t have huge capital
The traditional way of designing websites is expensive and requires bulk sums of money upfront.
As we’ve mentioned above, GDD is about making incremental improvements to your website, which means the fee comes in far smaller amounts that are spread out over time. In fact, it even allows you decide which changes are most necessary, to create a priority website wish-list and to add new items to the list as the data points towards specific problems and solutions.
This is not only great for making your website more accurately designed, but it also means that your wallet is more consistent and you can control what you’re paying for.
3. You’re tired of the big risks
We’ve covered the basics already, which is that GDD is data-driven, continually improves your website's performance, quicker to launch, and more cost effective. These benefits point to a singularly fantastic result: GDD involves less risk.
Not only do you not need to provide a bulk sum of capital to fully re-design your website on a 2-year basis (based on your latest hypothesis of users behaviour), but you also don’t have to worry about getting it wrong. In fact, GDD allows you to test different approaches with your users, to understand what works best without betting the success of an entire project on your hypotheses. This means that GDD helps you to learn about your customers and prospects more than any other approach out there, by making it easy for you to discover what they respond best to in a cost and time-effective way.
We could go on much more, but we’ll leave you here for now. But if you find yourself wanting to know more, then just pop on over and see what else we have to say about GDD.
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.