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Traditional Digital Design vs. Growth-Driven Design


If this is the first time you’re hearing about it, “Growth-Driven Design” probably sounds like the biggest mouthful of buzzwordy nonsense.

But really, GDD is a new approach to web design that honestly should have been around from the beginning.

Growth-Driven Design makes so much sense it actually makes my head hurt. Why didn’t we, the worldwide collective community of web designers and developers, think of this first?!

To understand the goodness of GDD, we first have to take a look at what it is not. Enter, the traditional digital design process we all know and love and kind of hate a little:

 

A TRADITIONAL WEBSITE REDESIGN LOOKS LIKE THIS...

 

Normally, when someone feels like their website is up for a redesign, they have to reach out to various creative agencies and gather proposals. These proposals will ultimately tell you what you already know: a redesign is expensive.

So you crunch and re-crunch the numbers and set aside the large amount of cash it will take to pay an entire team of people to tear apart and rebuild your website.

The whole redesign process takes time. A lot of time. Sometimes more time than we’re willing to spend. But the agency is working hard and you excitedly wait for the day when the curtain is drawn back and your newly-minted website is released into the wild of the World Wide Web: better, faster, stronger, and shinier.

If all has gone according to plan, you love the site but are pretty sick of thinking about it. You leave it alone for many years and let it “do it’s thing”.

Here’s where the real pitfall of traditional design starts to rear it’s ugly head:

Over the course of those many years, your site is depreciating. Your creative agency may be taking care of technical items like plugin updates and the like, but the marketing value of your website is depreciating.

This is because in the very beginning of this whole expensive, lengthy process, little to no research was actually done. Nothing was tested over time. No one had any real way of determining whether or not the pieces of your website would actually work for you and your customers.

It was simply created and launched.

Now, that’s not to say the agency you worked with didn’t know what they were doing. More often than not, they’re good people who know how to build good websites.

But what is the point of starting this huge undertaking based on nothing? Or maybe a small amount of research was done three years ago and doesn’t have anything to do with what is happening in your business today?

So in a nutshell, traditional design is:

- Expensive

- A lengthy time commitment

- Requires the efforts of a large team or agency

- Based on little to no research & quickly becomes outdated

- The end product has an expiration date...

… which requires you to do this all over again in another few years.

digital design 

GDD SOLVES ALL OF THAT

 

The beautiful thing about Growth-Driven Design is that all of this becomes a non-issue.

The key to GDD is simple: research up front. Lots of it. Make a hypothesis, then execute it. Test, and adjust. Rinse, and repeat.

 

“GDD can be thought of as a series of educated experiments that take place on your site, backed by real data.”

 

Your website needs to work hard for your business. That means you don’t want it to just sit there and look pretty. You need it to convert casual surfers into lifelong customers based on effective buyer persona research and by employing inbound marketing strategies.

In order to do that, you need to get into their heads. And in order to get into their heads, you need to see how they’re interacting with your website. And in order to see how they interact with the site, you need to put something out there they can use. Then you watch how they use it, and course correct.

 

 

WHAT THE PROCESS LOOKS LIKE

 

As opposed to traditional digital design, A Growth-Driven Design project always starts with research.

Your go-to-pointman will start by looking into the analytics behind your website. He’ll get to know the behaviors of those visiting every page. What do they click on? How long do they stay? What’s the bounce rate, conversion rate, number of unique sessions, returning visitors?

If you’re working with a company like ours as part of an inbound marketing retainer, then we’ll also have carefully crafted information on personas, or the types of people you want your website to attract.

Click here to use our Persona Tool!

From there, a designer or developer takes this information and creates a list of UI/UX enhancements that can be made over time.

This is where GDD really differs from traditional digital design: the changes are made in pieces, instead of all at once.

Your designer/developer will pick and choose a small handful of items to execute, or maybe even one at a time.

From there, the team then digs in and watches the numbers. How are your visitors interacting with this new piece? Is it helping? Hurting? Is it accomplishing what you thought it would?

Once the data is in, we course correct. We adjust. And we move on to the next piece.

This can be done by a small team or even one person. A key component of GDD is agility. This means there are never too many cooks in the kitchen. Small teams or even an individual can utilize GDD to quickly and accurately redesign a website.

 digital design

 

THE MANY BENEFITS OF THIS APPROACH

 

Tested and true, hardworking sites

The most obvious benefit of GDD is that you can almost in real time see what works. You’re literally following the scientific method. This allows you to get down to the truth of what really works and what really doesn’t for your website.

No more throwing darts in the dark 

You’re using and gathering real data. This stuff isn’t made up. It’s real as steel and you can use it to inform everything from here on out.

Results come in fast

No more waiting around for your site to be finished developing, because you’re launching bits and pieces as you go.

You no longer have to pinch pennies

GDD isn’t a pay-tens-of-thousands-of-dollars-up-front-all-at-once type of arrangement.

Helps out other members of your team 

This approach informs more than just your web team. The data and information you collect will be useful for your sales and marketing guys, too.

Makes real people really happy 

At the end of the day, you’re designing your website to please your customers. You’re building it for them, based on their preferences and their habits. This is how you make happy, engaged customers. 

 

 How Strong is Your Website?
 
Sarah Spencer

Sarah Spencer

Sarah Spencer is Creative Director over at 12South Marketing. She's got an eye for design, music, and writing. We really don't know how she manages all that talent.

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