How It Works: The 3 Stages of Growth Driven Design

By Hannah Armistead
How It Works: The 3 Stages of Growth Driven Design

One of the most dynamic changes in website design in recent years has been the introduction of growth driven design (GDD), a systematic approach that focuses on a site’s ongoing growth and improvement. An iterative process that takes into consideration ever-changing trends and technology, GDD’s flexibility helps keep your website up-to-date with the latest developments in sales, marketing and search engine optimization. Significantly, growth driven design gives your website the ability to reformat its content accordingly.

Traditional website design, on the other hand, is geared towards a specific, static end product: think of a painting hanging on a museum wall. It’s a beautiful work of art, but it’s locked into the fixed state of a particular time and perspective and can’t be changed. Additionally, a traditional web design project is generally a lengthy and costly procedure; with GDD, the initial stage of your new site will be up and running in a much shorter period of time, generally with fewer up-front expenditures.

Growth driven design has three phases: strategy, launchpad and continuous improvement. Read on for a basic understanding of GDD, and see what you think about this modern approach to web design.

Any well thought out web design project must start out with an effective strategy. You need to have a general sense of what you want to accomplish before taking any action. If you’ve decided to move forward with growth driven design, it’s essential to take some time first to sit down with your team and determine some smart goals for your website. Do you want to target a specific user demographic? A particular geographic region? Is there a new product you’re looking to promote? The more information you can bring to the task up front, the greater the chance of strong results. A focused strategy creates its own momentum moving forward.

A key element to think about as you embark on the growth driven design process is personas, fictionalizations of your company’s ideal customers, which are determined by user profiles and market research. GDD uses these personas to help mold your site design and content, based on the personas’ qualities, behavior patterns, preferences and other factors.

Once you’re zeroed in on the appropriate personas, it’s time to do a website audit, using growth driven design research and analytics to figure out: How do users actually find your site? How much time do they spend there? What quality of attention do they bring to the experience? Gathering this data will provide valuable insights about such points as which types of devices are most commonly used to access the website, the times of day showing the heaviest traffic, why visitors are clicking onto your site and much more. Your web designers will then use these results to help determine how best to improve user experience on your website.

With these findings in hand, you can examine which aspects of your site work best and which most need an upgrade. The answers will guide the development of your wish list, that should encompass everything you want the site to achieve. What are the absolute basics the site has to present from the moment it launches? What features can perhaps be introduced a bit later? Once this is figured out, your GDD team will propose the various ways your goals can be accomplished with growth driven design.

In traditional web design, a new site doesn’t go live until the project is totally completed, at which point it’s pretty much locked in place until the next major design overhaul. But GDD knows the importance of getting your new website up as quickly as possible, so the initial focus is on what’s called the launchpad website – a malleable platform that doesn’t aim for perfection, at least not at first.

With growth driven design, the launchpad website establishes the live presence of your new website as soon as it’s feasible, and serves as the foundation for further development and optimization. Among the chief benefits of this approach is that your site is up and running much more quickly, and the costs are typically much lower than with a traditional, full redesign effort.

Bear in mind that your launchpad website is not the final product. Once it goes live, you begin to collect useful data and can revise the site content in ways that will benefit its successful functionality. Growth driven design recognizes the mandate for continual change, and this can be accomplished in an ongoing way as soon as your launchpad website is unveiled online.

Continuous improvement
The next phase of growth driven design promotes continuous improvement of your site’s performance by building on the research gathered from the launchpad website. This is a much more proactive technique than traditional design, which doesn’t examine these issues for months or even years.

With GDD, you’ll carefully analyze user behavior and use the information you glean to adjust site content. Always keeping an eye on user experience, you’ll learn how effective these site updates are. Based on these findings, data-driven optimizations are implemented to ensure that the site is better meeting the expectations of its users. And once that’s been done … well, you’ll do it again. The fundamental principle of growth driven design is its dynamic, constantly ongoing nature.

Growth driven design is quickly becoming the method of choice for most website design projects. It’s less disruptive than traditional design, launches faster and generally requires less upfront costs. At the same time, it requires a commitment to a process where there’s always another step to take, another tweak to perform. Continuous growth and site performance improvement, not perfection, is the goal.

This perceptual adjustment might sound overwhelming, but, in fact, GDD has its own natural, iterative rhythm. We’re confident that you’ll soon recognize the value of this approach, and we’re here to help you get started with it. Sign up to receive your free download, “Getting Started with Growth Driven Design: A Comprehensive Package to a Modern Web Design Approach”.

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