It's that time of the year again when we start winding down and looking towards plans for the New Year. Content marketers know this all too well and right now the Internet is ablaze with countless ‘must-haves’ or ‘trends’ for 2017 listicles. Don’t get us wrong, we love them just as much as the next person, and yes - dramatic typography, moving backgrounds and grid layouts are all great trends, but this year we’ decided to do something different.
We’ve trimmed the fat and simplified. Instead of a long list of website design trends to follow in 2017, we've got just one to share with you. But it's one with the power to revolutionise your approach to website design.
Traditional Website Design is Broken
It's the norm in traditional website design to design and implement a site once, and then move on with your life - until a year or two later, when your site requires a total overhaul again. Let's not forget that most website redesigns are fraught with excessive scope creep, they've got a tendency to lean towards being resource-hungry and often take a considerable chunk of time to complete. And that's not even factoring the budget needed for a new site.
That said, not only does an approach focused on sporadic total redesigns every few years not make sense, it limits the reach and ROI of your website significantly.
The answer to this dilemma is simple. It's called Growth-Driven Design, and it changes everything you thought you knew about web design.
What is a Growth-Driven Design Approach?
The entire premise of Growth-Driven Design (or GDD) lies in its no-nonsense and logical approach to website design. Traditional website design says, "Great, I'm done. Now I won't have to do another thing until my website grows stale again." Which normally happens between a year and two years after completion.
Growth-Driven Design asks, "My audience is constantly evolving, technology keeps improving, and my personas are keeping pace. In a world of constant changes and evolvements, why the heck am I staying still?!" At its core, this approach adopts an attitude of constant improvement and evolution as its creed.
It's founded on three distinct pillars:
Minimising the risks normally incurred by traditional web design by focusing on a systematic approach grounded in continuous learning and true impact
Ongoing improvement and continuous learning through tireless research, testing and a never-ending quest to gain deeper insight into site visitors, all of which leads to better website improvements long-term and peak performance
Knowledge sharing between design, marketing and sales, facilitating the tightest possible integration so that all tactics are improved upon across the board
So... How Does GDD Work?
Growth-Driven Design operates within two distinct phases:
Phase 1: The Website Discover and Strategy
The first phase in the GDD approach involves developing a sound strategy on which to base all your actions. It looks at your intended goals, past performances, desired improvements and most importantly, your personas.
It also requires a thorough website and analytics audit of your current site - after all, how will you know what to do right if you don't know what you're doing wrong? It's upon this quantitative research that you'll base you decisions regarding your design and tactics going forward. There's a qualitative research step you'll need to consider as well, where you take the time to conduct extensive user research by reaching out to them and gaining a better understanding of their nature, needs and pain points.
Once you've done all the above, it's your turn to compile a wishlist of creative ideas you'd like to implement on your new site, taking into account the results of all your research. Get your brainstorming hat on and start generating those genius ideas!
Phase 2: The Launchpad and Wishlist Harvesting
Now, you'll be implementing a launch pad website. Here's where people get a bit confused. Unlike traditional web design, where a website is fully completed before launch, GDD requires a total about-face approach - one in which a simple "launch pad" website is created and taken live.
I can almost hear you panicking, thinking, "I can't take a bare bones website live! What will my clients and audience think?!" Take a deep breath - it doesn't stay that way.
Your launchpad website represents about 20% of your wishlist requirements; the basics needed to help you learn about your users and improve your site within the shortest possible turnaround time. After that, the other 80% of your wishlist comes into play, as those items are prioritised and actioned based on knowledge you're gathering daily on your new site.
After your launch pad website goes live, it's time for you to kick your experimentation, learning and site improvement up a notch. Keep your wishlist on the agile side as you go through these processes - they're going to teach you a whole lot you never knew about your users, and help you make smart calls about your site design that'll rev up its ROI considerably! You can work through your wishlist and harvest all of your priority items as you see the data from your launchpad website rolling in.
This phase can be broken down into a cycle that's easy to follow:
Plan. Here's where you take into account your performance, goals, data and any feedback you get from your marketing and sales teams and use it to forge ahead in your site evolution.
Development. During this part, you're going to take everything from the previous step and apply it in the form of actionable items.
Learn. As the name implies, this is the step where you take a look at the effects of your implemented actionable items, collect some data and review exactly how much of an impact they're making. Do they work? Or should you take a different tack next time?
Transfer. Finally, here's where you take everything you've learned during the process and pass the knowledge on to other areas in your business.
Finally, just repeat the whole thing. It's called a cycle, after all. Continuous optimisation is about returning to Phase 1, and running through all your steps again by letting data analysis guide your revised hypotheses and implementation.
The more you do so, the more you'll learn, and the closer you'll get to a site that rocks and makes a huge impact. And here's the beauty of the GDD approach - throughout all of this, your website is becoming more sophisticated and on-point. Zero stagnation is occurring - and you're avoiding the whole shebang of a complete site overhaul by keeping it fresh all the time.
Let's face it, this approach is awesome. So what are you waiting for? Take your website to the next level now and download our fresh Growth-Driven Design eBook to discover how you can implement this strategy for your own website.