What Is Growth-Driven Design?
The problem that web designers sought to solve with Growth-Driven Design was a tough one: By the time companies could complete major website overhauls, they were already seeing new trends emerge because of how quickly tastes and trends change on the Internet.
The old model of website redesign was a long process: Starting and completing a rebrand could take 3-6 months, or even longer if delays happened. The new sites that result from these long-term processes might be shiny and new, but they were often so costly that this process could only be completed every 18 months to two years.
Growth-Driven Design is a process of micro-adjustments to your website that are attuned to what your users are saying now, rather than one large redesign every year or two. By evaluating the top priorities for your design team this month, making a few small changes that increase customer satisfaction, and then tracking the results, you gain lots of data about your customers' preferences. This data informs every subsequent month's small design changes, resulting in a more responsive website and better outcomes for your business.
Benefits of Growth-Driven Design
1. A Whole-Website Rebrand Can Create Major Delays and Overages
According to the State of Growth-Driven Design survey, redesigns/rebrands are delivered, on average, two weeks late. HubSpot reports that redesign timelines stretch on, even if they are supposed to be fairly quick, to six months or even a year. Delays aren't just a problem because of the cost, though those can be substantial. They also increase the time when your website is delivering an old, outmoded design to every lead and web visitor, creating a major problem for your sales and marketing funnels.
2. Responsive Website Changes Address a Key Leading Indicator
A study called Consumers 2020 points out that customer experience is poised to become more important than price or product factors very soon in our competitive marketplace online. When you are constantly and agilely addressing website customer experience, meeting the top challenges head-on with quick, clear fixes, you are much more likely to exceed expectations than if you leave customers waiting for a year for the end of a redesign process. The product and the price offered will continue to matter, but by being the person with the best and most easy-to-use website, you are getting out ahead of the competition every single month.
3. Long Lead Times on Website Design Become Obsolete
The way that old rebrands and redesigns worked actually means that, compared to a Growth-Driven Design, your website is already out of date before you even launch it, since you could have been doing small iterations on your brand throughout the long-term design process. Reaping the benefits every single month is one of the ways that you stay ahead of people who are doing similar work but not updating their site regularly.
4. Growth-Driven Web Designs Drives Traffic and Leads
The data doesn't lie: The State of Growth-Driven Design report notes that agencies who take on this iterative process of design see an average of 16.9 percent rise in leads and 14 percent rise in web traffic over the course of six months. These gains are substantial and deeply connected to the opportunity to see which changes in a given month seemed to yield results, and which did not. Every month, your company becomes more knowledgeable about your potential clientele through this design strategy.
Best Practice Steps for Implementing Growth-Driven Design
Plan - While every design process has a plan, a Growth-Driven design process will begin with taking stock of the information you have already on the customer experience. The key is to put a limit on this step: Give your team a few days, up to two weeks, to assemble some best options for what would create greater engagement and conversion on your site, focusing on things that could be implemented as quickly as possible. Some potential small changes for a cycle of GDD might include:
- Changing the sitemap or links to make it easier to get to key pages.
- Reducing clutter on key landing pages to reflect what customers want to see most.
- Changing the whole site's text font scheme to seem more modern or fit your brand.
- Noting and changing photos that aren't loading quickly.
Develop - Work with the designers to create the most nimble form of your first web design changes, starting with items that aren't complex to implement. The whole idea is to get "small wins" in design change, recognizing that the time for making bigger, more complex changes is after it is clear that small wins in those same arenas are yielding results. This doesn't mean that you should do random, "major changes" with the small ones that could make your site seem non-harmonious; when a change is incorporated, it should be incorporated across the board while maintaining consistency.
The development phase should be fairly fast as well; at any given time, your whole cycle is meant to take about a month, though of course, after a few cycles, there will be "secondary priorities" for your team to work on as a new planning stage starts.
Learn - The key after every new change is implemented monthly is to evaluate the traffic changes and any valuable new engagement data for the immediate timeframe after the change implementation. Use this information to consider:
- Should we change it back to the old way because viewers don't like it?
- Should we continue modifying because this isn't yet satisfactory to the viewers?
- Did the design process reveal a third option (not just the old versus the new) that would be worth trying next?
This phase can also be a time to implement surveys into the site where you can get direct User Experience (UX) feedback and information that can shed light on just what aspects of the site are most valued or frustrating to leads.
Transfer and Repeat - Though a month may seem too fast for this process, after a while, you'll see that the process can be completed without a lot of hassle as long as everyone understands what is possible in one month. Rather than expecting to do huge re-designs, the site changes incrementally and entirely in response to the information you gain. Transfer also means making sure that other relevant teams get the information that you are learning: if leads are loving a particular new color palette, other teams like marketing may be able to take advantage of the information you've garnered.
The process of letting growth drive your design is different for every team, but the key is to not wait until you've developed an entirely new website and then launching it. Smaller micro-launches generate more buzz, are more responsive, and keep your leads and traffic growing over time.
Dennis is Beacon Digital's former head of web development and senior HubSpot developer. Currently, Dennis is a community support manager for HubSpot, where he ensures that HubSpot developers have the resources and community connections they need to be successful on the HubSpot CMS.