Today we are sitting down with our art director, Megan Chesterton, to discuss Growth-Driven Design and why you should let data drive website optimization.
Idea Grove (IG): Hi Megan, can you introduce yourself and explain a bit about what you do here at Idea Grove?
Megan Chesterton (MC) : I am the Art Director at Idea Grove, which means I manage all of our creative projects on a day-to-day basis, from projects as big as websites to as small as eBooks. Idea Grove has a wide range of digital and print services, so my main directive is keeping our team focused on solutions to our client’s problems. I do the work alongside my team, which can be anything from fixing a typo to developing the full user experience plan for a new website.
IG: Can you explain what growth-driven design (GDD) is and how it helps you accomplish these goals?
MC: GDD is a methodology for website design, which is about leveraging user data and real-time activity to grow websites. It starts out with our team making fundamental assumptions about a client's site by using website analytics and user recordings to figure out what is going on under the surface. Next, we design a launch pad website based on the insights we get from this data. The launch pad piece varies depending on each client, but the basis is the same: the launch pad is the jumping off point into the real work. The final phase (‘the real work’) is the continuous improvement cycle. In this stage, we observe what is and isn’t working best in order to improve the site’s functionality. We set goals with the client and monitor our progress towards these goals on a monthly basis. If something isn’t moving the bar, we keep trying new things until we see the change we are looking for. The real heart of GDD is that it isn’t stagnant, it is a continuous real-time process which allows us the fluidity to better meet the needs of the client.
IG: How does the initial GDD development process differ from that of a traditionally designed website?
MC: Our initial development process is different because it is scaled down. In this process, we begin with only the necessities as a branching off point, monitoring the launch pad and growing and changing with the needs and trends of the customer. It is still a fully formed website, containing everything a buyer would need, it just isn’t as extraneous. We do this because in growth-driven design our work is never finished, so we will continue to grow. GDD is not about perfection, it’s about acting quickly and responding to what is actually going on in your website.
In traditional design, a team would spend six months to a year figuring out the most seamless way to create a perfect and enormous website of your dreams, but when it’s finished, it’s unlikely that it will produce good results for your company. In that time period, your needs will likely change, and the world will keep moving. With GDD, we focus on creating a site with only what is necessary, and once it is launched we analyze how it performs. We get to see where users are going and what they are looking for - allowing us to update and add content as it is needed.
IG: What would you say are the top three benefits of GDD?
1) Speed. We move as fast as possible. Because of the process, you would have a launch pad in a matter of weeks and this allows our clients to see improvement quickly. With traditional design, you may or may not see improvement, and it will take a lot longer.
2) Collaboration. With traditional design, a team will present you a finished product and you take it from there. With GDD, because the project is always growing and adapting, you constantly collaborate with your agency and they essentially become an extension of your internal team. The insights we get from real-user data help inform our projects across the board, which allows us to improve experiences and help guide our clients to their goals, no matter what we are working on that day. Those same insights inform your team, too.
3) Flexibility. Instead of delivering a large mass of content once, a data-driven site has the ability to be flexible. This helps our clients reach their business and marketing goals. We can add new content and expand the site on a weekly basis, guided by your actual users. We know that this is the best way to increase your leads and convert buyers.
IG: Are there any particular industries or types of websites that would most benefit from GDD?
MC: A data-driven website is beneficial across the board. Anyone that wants to keep their growth dynamic should absolutely look into growth-driven design. I have found that it is an extremely good fit for B2B tech clients. Since their industries are particularly fast moving, they can greatly benefit from this design extension of their team, this extra team member. Though, in general, GDD is for anyone that is looking to improve user functionality and move toward their marketing goals. The customers are the experts and we want to figure out what is driving them in order to be able to give them what they are looking for. GDD is that process that drives leads and converts buyers.
To learn more about the GDD process and hear what clients have to say about working with Idea Grove check out our web design page.
Ellie Sloan, PR and social media intern, is responsible for assisting across various accounts, including research, creating social media content, writing press releases and drafting media pitches. She will complete her MA in Heritage Management from the University of Kent and her business MA from the Athens University of Economics and Business in December 2017.