Design. Design is a small word that encompasses a variety of pieces. Is it product design? Logo design? Brochure design? A design for an advertisement? Fashion design? Book design? Packaging design? Website design? Whatever kind of design, there is one thing that is true for all: design should be functional and/or have a purpose, and most importantly, if designing for a business, it should be geared towards said business’ target audiences.
Don’t get me wrong: you want your creative or artistic side to show through when you design something. However, designing a sketch for something like a dress, for instance, is hugely different from designing for a website. This article is about website design. When it comes to website design, you want your site to look good, but even more important, you want it to be functional and cater towards your target audiences (or the people who are frequently visiting your site).
At this point, you are either on board with what has been mentioned above and eager to find out how to achieve all of this, or you’re rolling your eyes and saying: “I understand that, but it’s going to be extremely expensive upfront, take a lot of resources, and years after implementation before I start seeing results.” The eager one is either new to web design, or knows nothing about it, and the one rolling their eyes might know just enough about web design in this instance, and is picturing what we will call ‘traditional web design’. We can’t really blame the eye roller…If you’re spending all that time and money on a website, having it sit for a few years with few, if any, updates or attention spent on immediate audience reactions sounds frustrating. It might even beg the question, “Why hasn’t a new type of website design been introduced to the marketing world?” Something like Growth-Driven Design?
After you read the following brief explanation of some of the flaws of traditional web design, you might be rolling your eyes too. However, don’t get too discouraged by these flaws, for a new kind of website design has been introduced to the marketing world and it’s prepared to help remedy some of these frustrating flaws.
Flaw 1: Upfront Costs
When you decide to redesign or launch a new website, there are going to be a lot of upfront costs in order to get it going. You’re going to be paying for the domain, the hosting, and the designer/designers’ hours, as well as time spent trying to apply their knowledge of design rules, trends, etc. to your website…which leads me to the next flaw…
Flaw 2: Assumptions
As mentioned in Flaw 1, designers spend a lot of time applying what they know about design with what you may have told them about your audience—and possibly some brief research of similar audiences to yours. The thing is: you aren’t going to know if your audience will like your site, or certain aspects of it, until after it’s launched. This means that most of the designer/designers’ choices are merely based on assumptions and the popularity of certain trends.
Flaw 3: Resources and Time
Resources and time seem to be two of the most important things to a company/individual during the launch of a new website. With traditional web design, everything has to be perfect and exact the first time around (before it sits for a couple years)—thus, you’re left essentially wasting a great deal of time and resources. To get all the information you need (both old and new) you’re most likely going to have to talk to each department in your company. From there, everyone will have to take time away from what they were originally doing in order to make sure everything is good to go. If you’re someone who doesn’t know too much about web design, it might take even more time, as you’re probably trying to keep up and learn as you go. Think about the logistics of this entire scenario: not only are you doing your regular, everyday tasks, but you’re meticulously reviewing every single detail of this new website whilst trying to coordinate with everyone to make sure they’re happy and have their ideas heard. Then consider the additional stress associated with coordinating with the designer(s), who are more than likely from outside of your company. As previously mentioned, you most likely only have one shot at this before it sits for a couple of years.
If they didn’t sound like a long lasting stressful headache before the explanations, then the flaws certainly must now. Luckily for us, Inbound Marketing and website design got together and made this thing called Growth-Driven Design (GDD). A design that is focused more on constantly learning and improving in order to achieve better results and minimize the risks associated with traditional web design.
Michael Skeehan from Salted Stone says it simply, “Growth-Driven Design implicitly acknowledges that there's so much opportunity for generating business online that any organization of moderate size, or with those aspirations, ought not approach their website as a static fixture. It's a response to the deficiencies encountered in traditional modalities of web design.”
Now, if you’re a designer interested in having your company or business take part in this design you’re probably wondering how to get started with achieving it—or, if you’re someone looking for an agency that can offer you this type of design, you might be wondering how the agency goes about achieving it. Have a look at the GDD Hierarchy to help you begin to attain or understand this new design mentality.
In brief, you start with the foundation, in which instead of spending on the time on making everything “perfect” you immediately launch a launch pad website to better find a strategy that fits the purpose you want your website to have. After that comes the value. This is when you will take the strategy you found fitting and focus on its usefulness and ease of use for your target audiences. The final stage is growth. This is where you will spend time looking at the virality of your site, or how many people from your target audience is recommending others to your site, and what aspects of your site are working best. When you figure all that out you’ll want to double-down on the aspects, features, etc. that are performing the best.
Is this starting to sound better or maybe even make more sense than the headache that is the traditional website design process? Well, you can start to expect this new accommodating kind of design to start taking the marketing world by storm! For a more in-depth overview of Growth-Driven Design and a further explanation of the GDD Hierarchy (and climbing Mount Everest) tune into HubSpot’s webinar.