In this three-part series, we will look at the pros and cons of three common approaches to website redesign.
Growth-driven design (a.k.a., lean design, agile design) is another process that can be very effective if you and your firm or company can tolerate launching a new website in phases.
The main concept of growth-driven design is to release a working prototype version of your site as quickly as possible, collect usage data, and improve based on the data collected and analyzed.
This approach reduces some of the risk that comes with more traditional design, but like anything, there are pros and cons.
The process is similar at the beginning, but then changes radically in the middle, and there really is no end. It should be noted that this method is how most software is developed.
Step 1: Condensed strategy and minimal design and content production
Step 2: Prototype development and early release (launch)
This prototype site is what’s called a minimum viable product (MVP) or in some circles, a Launch Pad Website. It is fully functional, but lacks some content and features.
From this early release, we then move into a cyclical process of refinement. Each interval (sometimes called a sprint) has four basic steps:
- Definition and Planning
- Production and Development (a sprint), testing and release
- Data Gathering and Analysis
- Discussion and Refinement (return to step one and repeat)
The flexibility of growth-driven design allows for website owners to quickly release and test features, analyze the results of the latest release, and tweak the site as appropriate based on real life feedback rather than on guesswork and assumptions.
Again, there are the pros and cons to an agile approach:
- A new site can typically be launched, in its most basic form, within 2 months.
- Subsequent releases can then be 2-6 weeks apart (typically monthly)
- Refinements are based on real feedback vs. guesses, opinions, or ego
- Reprioritization of new content or features—or addressing existing features that don’t work as expected can be slotted into the next "spring" relatively easily
- Over time, the new site will be more effective than one done with traditional design / development
- In theory, the site will never require another full redesign since the process can be continual
- Typically a smaller initial cash outlay
- Your company / firm needs to be okay with the idea of a website that will not be 100% perfect at the initial launch (though it will improve rapidly based on real data)
- If you have strong egos to deal with who do not want to listen to data-based decision-making, this approach may not be culturally appropriate
- Keeping to a rigid schedule requires the commitment of all involved
- Changes to the old way of doing things may be required on a fundamental level (this may belong in Pros)
- Not all digital agencies are set up to do agile development
- The process is meant to be continual, which may mean that you end up spending the same or more over a period of time—though arguably for a much more effective website that will never get out of date.
To Sum It Up
Growth-Driven Design is well suited to newer or small to mid-sized businesses where you can easily change if something isn’t working. You’ll need to be comfortable with launching a site that’s good, but purposefully not complete and then refining it over time. This is how most software is developed: early adopters get bare minimum, but the bulk of the market discovers something great after it’s been refined.
Growth-Driven Design is the second of a three-part series. Previously: Part 1: Traditional Website Design | Next up: Part 3: The Growth-Driven Hybrid (out on September 5)
Have additional questions? Contact us. No pressure - we’re happy to help!
~Your Friendly Animus Rex Team