Everything you know about website design is wrong.
That might be a bit dramatic, so let me rephrase and explain. Website design has evolved considerably in the past few years, so there’s a good chance your current approach is outdated (and actually getting in the way of your business growth).
I’m not talking about new design trends or programming languages – this evolution has been far greater than that. Core aspects of web design that have been taken for granted for decades, have been uprooted and given a complete makeover.
- Spending a fortune in up-front costs.
- Taking months (and even years) planning and building the content and architecture of the entire site.
- Only going live when the whole site has been completed, however long that may take.
- Leaving a website untouched for years at a time, before giving it a massive, costly refresh.
These statements are all consistent with traditional website design, which is often referred to as the “waterfall approach". This is because every action is predetermined from the beginning of the project. First you have planning, then design, then you finalize content, have it developed, and you’re all done. At the end of the process when your site’s live, there’s little to do but float around at the bottom of the waterfall counting your lucky stars that you and your team made it through in one piece.
The waterfall approach is not only costly and time-consuming, it’s also incredibly stressful for all involved. The longer and more expensive a website project takes, the more pressure there is for the final product to be perfect in every way.
Unfortunately for many businesses out there, when it goes live and doesn’t hit the mark with their target audience, with a poor reception and low website conversion rate, they have little choice to stick it out until the next big redesign. I mean what’s the alternative: go through the entire arduous process again? That’s surely a one-way ticket to bankruptcy (and possibly a padded cell).
Meet Growth-Driven Design, the smarter alternative.
Growth-driven design takes an Agile approach to building a high-performing website. If you’re not up to speed with Silicon Valley lingo, this means breaking down a large project into smaller pieces, or “sprints”, and using new data to continuously tweak, optimize, and improve.
In the context of website design, this “continuous improvement” approach involves spending the initial few months of the project putting together a relatively basic version of your new site, taking it live, and then using its performance data to inform how you build out the site further.
This initial site is known as your “launch pad” site, and it should meet a few key requirements. For one, it should look and perform better than the old site you’re replacing. (No going backwards to go forwards here!) It should also include all of the “must-have” sections of the site, like a home page, information about your brand, ways for visitors to get in touch, and whatever else might be specific to your business offering. Finally, it should be tracking as much data as possible: website conversion rate, event tracking, heat maps, you name it. (For more on tracking and analytics, read our blog post How Healthcare Marketers Can Get More From Google Analytics.)
This tracking data is essential because it allows you to test all of the assumptions and decisions that were made in the planning stage. But instead of waiting for the full development cycle of traditional design (making even a small mistake exponentially more costly), you can identify what needs fixing, make changes, and ensure all future work on the site keeps that lesson in mind.
From an expensive brochure, to a living, growing masterpiece.
The implications of Growth-Driven Design are significant because it requires businesses to change how they think about websites. Is a website a clean-cut product that you either have or you don’t, like a new piece of furniture or a laminated brochure? Or is it something far more fluid, defined more by the value it brings your company, evolving continuously to provide the best possible customer experience for that moment?
When you’re able to make changes to your website quickly, cheaply, and efficiently, your business can more easily adapt to external changes. This is especially valuable for organizations in the healthcare industry that need to react to events – like a medical emergency or new legislation – almost immediately. Growth-Driven Design also provides the ongoing flexibility and control needed to ensure your website is compliant at scale.
If this new way of thinking about website design has sparked your interest, we’d love to discuss it with you further. Get in touch with us today to see how Growth-Driven Design can meet the unique demands of the healthcare industry, and to determine whether it’s a suitable approach for your business.