Growth-Driven Design (GDD) has been sweeping the web development scene as a top-performing production strategy for companies of all sizes. The primary benefit of this web development methodology is that it gives you a platform to kickstart your web presence very quickly, allowing you to scale and improve your website over time.
What Is Growth-Driven Design, Anyway?
The core principles of GDD entail a data-driven, work-in-progress model of web development that avoids tired failings of the traditional development process. Instead of focusing on full project completion up front, GDD applies periodical ‘sprint’ sessions where different departments work together to implement analytics, content, customer satisfaction, and all else that the company deems important to grow their sales and marketing metrics.
These sprints are part of a powerful workflow that offers great adaptability to the changing world. It used to be that you were limited to minor changes on a one-time-produced fully-functional web product, but GDD offers many opportunities to rework and reevaluate the design schematics as needed.
Many sources offer varying ways to outline your GDD production process, but a simple 4-step plan is often the base from which they build their own unique styles:
- Plan: The Planning phase is where the marketing goals and ideas of the future website design is compared with that of the present. During this phase, you should consider not only what you want the website to look like, but also what you want the website to do.
- Develop: The Development phase is where either the current website is built upon, or a new site or page is produced via a "launchpad" approach – limited to only the most impactful updates.
- Learn: The Learning phase is a period of data analysis and reflection to gain insights that will be useful for future Planning phases. Check out this article about the key metrics to track for GGD.
- Transfer: The Transfer phase is where these insights and analytics are shared with other departments so that they may also learn from the successes and failures that were discovered in the GDD process.
The GGD Model In Action
A huge appeal of GDD is that successes and failures are, themselves, both successes by the end of the process. Because of the data-driven nature of this approach, any tactics that "fail" to achieve a goal – such as reducing bounce-rate – can be reliably analyzed for a future chance of success elsewhere because, as stated, there is now actual data on the subject! Moreover, this "failure" is merely a blip in the development of the website, due to the constant repetition that GDD requires.
Those iterations, however, can be a source of contention for companies who either lack the necessary resources to keep up production, or who become over-eager in their development goals and burn out too quickly. As such, it is important to maintain a balanced and focused approach and not seek total perfection at any stage in development.
The key to maintaining a data-driven attitude and avoiding the allure of perfectionism is to utilize the empirical knowledge that comes with leaning heavily into large changes. As mentioned, a common tactic of the Development phase is to implement an ‘80/20’ Launchpad rule, where the changes to-be-made are limited to the 20% of the said changes which are estimated to have 80% of the impact. Not only does this tactic help eliminate the overwhelming effect that can be brought on by keeping tabs on countless minor changes, it also focuses the scope of the project to the most important pieces – relieving a stressful workload and allocating more time and effort to larger features of the project, at once.
There are also numerous testing methods that can be used to study these changes in-depth, though their exact methodologies are oftentimes hidden behind paywalls or as company secrets. One such popular test is called Split-Testing, or Multivariant-Testing (MVT) if for additional variables. This process tests a prospective change in a singular aspect of a webpage (eg. form layout, banner placement, button characteristics, etc.) by routing live viewers to one of two identical pages; pages that are exactly the same except for the one variable that has been changed.
Because this routing process is so heavily controlled and is hinged upon blind feedback, it produces strong, valuable, empirical data on the performance of that singular variable. An objective ruling on the strength of this variable can be quickly reached, and the data can be saved and brought up again for future reference in planning sessions to come. A time saver on multiple fronts!
Additional tips to keep a strong and steady movement through the four phases follow a principle of ‘keep your audience close, and your competition closer.’ The importance of catering to a target audience can never be overstated, though articles such as this one often seem to neglect the power in studying the competition (whatever that might be).
An easy way to bolster the Planning phase ideation is to take appealing aspects of rival (or similarly-themed) webpages and test them out on your own pages. Not so much copy-paste - this is not advocation for simple plagiarism – but repurposing of a concept in a new style and/or setting, and tested for fit and function through data-driven processes.
Growth by Trial and Error (and Eventually, Success!)
These aspects may not even be clear-cut UI/UX content graphics – perhaps the smooth transitions and loading times of another website are inspiration to find ways of optimizing the hard coding within your own. There are many features from which to take notes and gather information, so there will always remain an invaluable pool of resources in the exploration of relevant web pages.
The most important principle to remember here: Perfection is not the goal! Growth-driven design is really a continuous improvement model that supports better performance, and ultimately revenue growth for your company.
Ready to revamp your website? Check out the free Website Grader to help you head in the right direction.