In the modern web space, we think of websites as snappy little programs that make online life possible. But it hasn't always been that way. The tradition of website design and maintenance is a clunky one. Only 20 years ago, building a website could take up to three years and a design update meant a complete overhaul of the programming as well. Websites didn't always click together in handy modules and code snippets because they hadn't existed long enough.
Well, it's been long enough. Today, websites are expected to be as intuitive as mobile apps and as quickly updated as a social media status. Website trends sweep through the industry in months instead of decades. Recently, live chat saw a boost. Now cloud services are on top. Does your website have a neon header or a parallax background? Are you on the cutting-edge of search filters and self-help portals?
Beyond trends, companies are also expected to quickly keep up with the fast-changing needs of the customers - integrating payment options and no-contact delivery in a flash. The web trends for top sites are changing faster than traditional website updates could ever keep up. In this pressure, Growth-Driven Design was developed to keep pace with the cutting-edge of technology changes.
Learn more about web design in our blog "Web Design Made Simple: What The Best Websites Have".
What is Growth-Driven Design? (GDD)
Growth-driven design or GDD is a method of designing websites that are built for rapid change. GDD combines modular programming with data-driven update cycles so that a website built and managed with GDD principles can always push another small, provably beneficial update.
GDD websites are not designed in the traditional way where each website is a standalone fortress of code and function. Instead, they take lessons from the open-source and website-builder communities: Designed for expansion. Websites are built with clean methods that are easy to build onto for new features or alter to improve site performance. Updates are built in the same modular and adjustable fashion so that each future update is rapid and easy to achieve.
Built to Grow
You can apply the GDD update cycle method to any website, but the most benefit comes from websites designed to grow. Rapid-update websites are most responsive in a clean, modular programming form where changing page values is accessible without hunting through the code. A business transitioning to GDD design often begins by having a new growth-ready website designed to become the foundation of their ever-adapting online venue.
The GDD Rapid Update Cycle
The key element of GDD is to promote a rapid update cycle. The Growth-driven design update cycle can be as short as a week or as long as a few months, but most teams develop a steady rhythm and aim to deliver small beneficial updates at regular intervals.
Growth-driven means that your central goal is to improve the website and increase its positive impact as a business asset. Data is used to determine what updates would be beneficial and to design an updated site that is measurably better than the last. This means keeping up with the trends, immediately fixing bugs, and easily adding new features to expand the function and performance of the website. Even the smallest updates will have minor data-driven tweaks in performance to provide a benefit.
The Three Stages of a Growth-Driven Design Cycle
- Continuous Improvement
In the strategy phase, the team uses data and graphs to investigate the user experience. The goal is to understand how customers make use of your website and find ways to improve that experience. From layout adjustments to organizing the sidebars, there are many small, medium, and large update changes that provide data-driven improvements to the user experience.
Each new GDD update starts with a layer of data-driven website improvements. In the launchpad phase, you build the baseline website for your update. Before any big-impact updates, start with a baseline of performance and experience improvements. Increase page speed, adjust page layouts, and improve the performance of on-site tools.
The continuous improvement phase serves two purposes. The first is to plan and implement high-impact updates - like new features. The second is to test the impact of your launchpad site and craft your next update based on its performance.
In continuous improvement, the launchpad site is implemented as a test environment and begins to collect user data. The results of the launchpad provide feedback that helps the team explore, craft, and finalize the update with high-impact changes.
Back to the Drawing Board
As the cycle turns over, the team looks back to analytics on how the update performs. The GDD analysis focuses on user experience and highlights where improvements could be made to make the site look and perform better and how to offer more to the users.
Why Growth-Driven Design is the Future
Once, it was normal to update your website only once every 2 - 5 years. Today, that pace is a crawl compared to website trends and the press of online competition. Growth-driven design keeps your website in a constant state of data-driven updates. If trends are quiet and demand is satisfied, then each update merely enacts a few more performance improvements and page designs. When there's a hot new trend or pressing demand, the update cycle easily takes on the task of pushing new high-impact changes with each regular update.
Growth-driven design, combined with a growth-ready website design, makes it possible to adopt or test any web design trend. With this approach, you can stay ahead of the curve and make sure every update is beneficial as proven by watching the data.
Staying Ahead of the Curve with Growth-Driven Design
Is your business ready to adopt the rapid update cycle and data-driven benefits of GDD web design? First, bring your website first up to speed, then ride the cutting-edge website performance and audience-ready trends.
To craft a growth-driven design strategy for your website, contact us today. Our team is ready to help you get the GDD update cycle humming for the benefit of your website performance and web design agility.