Do you need the improvement phase in growth driven design?

Michael Gabrian

by Michael Gabrian on 07/13/2017

In Growth Driven Design, there are 3 stages: plan, Launch, and Improve; each one as important as the other. There's one common question I see when presenting a Growth Driven Design retainer though...

"Do you need the improvement phase in growth driven design?"

The answer isn't simply a yes or no. It really depends on your business, your in-house capabilities, your team, the amount of time you're willing to invest into the site, and so on. 

Let's do a quick run-through of what you get in the plan and launch phases, and discuss whether you should continue into the improvement phase or stop there.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

- William A. Foster

The plan phase

We start with the foundation of the site. Who are we building the site for, what will your visitors expect from the site, and what will our plan for the build look like?

There are four primary pieces in this phase. Basically, it's where we will determine the goals of the website, help identify your personas, research and test assumptions, and map out your user journeys. 

Doing so helps you measure out goals and milestones for the next 12 weeks while building out your launchpad website, but more importantly, it helps us define what will make the project successful. 

The launch phase

The next step is to build out your launchpad site. This could mean starting from scratch and building it from the ground up, or using your existing site as a starting point and making the "must-have" updates to the site.

Regardless of how we start the project, by the end of this phase, you'll have a site that's significantly better than the last one in terms of design and marketing capabilities.

The thing that you have to keep in mind is that though the final product of this phase is a beautiful, working site, it's usually the minimum viable product. It's built with the intentions to continue improving it over time. It's a fully functional site with the required features, those "must-haves" that provide the most value to your site.

The "nice-to-haves" will come in the improve stage. 

Do you need the improvement phase?

This purpose of this phase is to take your launchpad site and make improvements based on how your users interact with it. It's where you spend some time learning behaviors, making educated updates based on that data, and continuing this process, making your site the best it can be.

Do you have to include this phase?

Well, technically you don't have to do anything. You can absolutely stop after the launch phase. You'll have a site that's better than before, you'll have a baseline for your marketing efforts, and you can always make updates later down the line. Especially if you have time you're willing to commit and the in-house capabilities to continue.

But...

The one problem with skipping out on this phase is that your site won't be reaching it's maximum potential. It actually almost defeats the purpose of growth driven design. We use this methodology so that your site doesn't go stale after a couple of years so you don't have to spend another truckload of cash redesigning it again down the line. 

We actually have a 7 step process for identifying what needs to be improved next. Basically, it covers things like attracting the right amount of traffic, optimizing the site's content, measuring and fixing the UI/UX, optimizing landing pages and conversion paths, etc. No site will be perfect after it's first launch because you can't know how your audience will engage with it until you actually release it and look at the data. 

So yes, you can definitely skip out out the improvement stage of your web design, but you might be missing out on tons of opportunities. If you do decide to not continue with an improvement phase, I'd suggest at least monitoring user data and seeing if there are any areas that desperately need improvement. 

To conclude:

Whether you're building a site for the first time or redesigning your existing one, you want to do it right. Unfortunately, just having one out there won't be enough to really achieve your business goals. 

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