Growth Driven Design - The Process
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In our last GDD post we discussed how the traditional web design process is broken and why growth-driven design is a much better methodology to follow. Today we’ll discuss at a high overview level the two step process that the growth driven methodology follows
The Strategy Phase
During the strategy phase you’ll be going through a few different steps to ensure you’ve laid down a solid foundation. All the actions you take afterwards will be built upon it.
First step; goal setting. This is to ensure you know exactly what the performance goals of the website are so you can put together a plan in order to achieve them. You may also develop goals for individual departments such as sales and marketing.
Next comes building out user personas. These are semi fictional images of your ideal customers, based on market research and real data. While it may be tempting to create handfuls of them, the point here it to hone in on your absolute ideal customer(s), not create a profile for each and every visitor that lands on your site. Each persona needs to have a set of unique characteristics making them clearly distinguishable from one another.
This is a very crucial step as GDD is customer centric, so creating well researched user personas is critical. Doing so will have a huge impact on major design and developmental decisions.
Goals are set in place. Personas are nailed down. Now it’s time to perform a website audit. This is where you’ll do some in-depth quantitative research and dig deep into the current website data. By doing this you’ll uncover and identify areas on the website that need to be improved. You’ll understand how users are discovering and arriving at your site, where and why they’re bouncing, and how they’re interacting with it.
Follow the quantitative data up with qualitative research. By contacting current users you’ll gain a better understanding of who they are, which is perfect because it allows you to further build on your customer personas. And as you know, the closer you can get to a real representation of your users the better.
Conducting a website audit also allows you to answer fundamental assumptions about your users such as:
What users value about your product or service What your users are looking for Where and how users are accessing your site What are users pain points on your site
Website Wish List and Launch Pad
The next step in the growth-driven design process is to create a wish list. It’s time to gather your team and put those noggins to good use. You’re going to discuss and brainstorm any, and every, idea you’d like to see implemented on the website. Big changes. Small changes. Whatever.
One of the credos of gdd is unbound creativity. This is the chance your team has to get creative, so dream big and keep in mind the value your ideas will bring to your customers. After the brainstorming session, you’ll probably notice you've got quite a number of items on your list and that’s fine, because now you’re going to an 80/20 analysis of it, meaning, you’re going to narrow down 20% of the ideas that you feel will make 80% of the most impact.
This is where you’ll weed out the must-have items from the nice-to-have items. You do this by applying all the data and research you’ve done, keeping in mind your ideal customer. What would they want to see? How do they want to use the site? Once you’ve narrowed the list down, the design and development of the launchpad website can get started.
The launchpad website is just like any other site, only it’s launched in a short period of time. With gdd your only launching with the features that are imperative, based off the data and research you acquired in the strategy phase. As users start to interact with your site and you gain a better understanding of their needs and wants, you’ll continue to build out new features.
Every month for the next determined about of time, you’ll be conducting sprints. During this time you’ll dig into what the data states about what you’ve implemented and how it directly affects and relates to the buyer personas you created in phase one.
The data and personas will help you understand and identify areas that can be improved, and determine what you should implement. This is where your wish list will come in handy.
Now that you’ve chosen the next items to include, you must repeat the first phase of the process which entails prioritizing your items from high to low impact.
Once you’ve established what items you’d like to implement, you’ll need to draft a hypothesis for each one. A well defined hypothesis should state what the proposed change is, which persona it targets, how it will impact the sites performance, how you’ll measure that impact, and what data you have to back up that theory.
Hubspot has provided you with an example of a great hypothesis:
The hypothesis statement is a crucial step because it forces your team to create tasks that are relevant and based off user feedback. You make sure you’re holding yourself accountable to the changes made and that such changes are in fact measurable.
This mindset allows you to put yourself into the shoes of the user at all times, and allow the user data to guide your decisions. Once you’ve got the next step items in place, along with the hypothesis, it’s time to begin the cycle all over again.
Growth-driven design is here to stay
For far too long websites have been built the wrong way; assumptions and guesses have no place in the process. In order to bring value to your customers, as well as save yourself time and money, you need to change your thinking and adopt the iterative, data backed growth-driven process.