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Critical Data You Need for Your Website Redesign

Critical Data You Need for Your Website Redesign


According to study by the American Graphics Institute, 43 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout is unattractive or doesn't adhere to current, modern design conventions.

Of course, "attractive" is highly subjective as we all know, but when your site isn't designed by someone who understands user experience and has a sensitivity to color, white space and typography, believe us, even layest of laypeople can tell the difference. As you will see, this won't solve all your problems as designers cannot work in a vacuum.

The importance of that first impression, therefore, cannot be overstated. If you're apologizing to your prospects or clients about your web presence, it's time for an upgrade. If your website is not advancing your cause, then it's holding you back.

When that time finally comes, there are a number of critical steps that must be taken by you as the client to ensure that a professional marketing and design team will be able to translate your business vision and accomplish your business objectives right from the get-go. That first step is collecting and preparing data that will be used in the redesign process.

Even if you believe that you know exactly what you want (and you just need a designer to execute it), you might want to think about approaching the challenge in a different way. Even the best web design and marketing experts are right only about 40% of the time. That's correct, our intuition is likely to be wrong more than often than right.

That's why utilizing data is so crucial to the design and development process. It's also why we use a methodology here at Screaming Garlic called Growth Driven Design (GDD). Making assumptions about your audience can lead to some good ideas but it can also get you into trouble. Data on the other hand, informs you about your audience in a way that we can never approach.

What is Growth Driven Design?

While traditional website design is designer driven, created with best practices and "hunches," GDD is user driven. We collect data from your existing site and just after launch to inform us about what features and enhancements will best meet your customers' needs. It's like getting your best customers to help design your marketing tools. Perfect. The Growth Driven Design process builds in the improvement and refinement cycle, rather than getting to launch and then waiting 18 months for the next update. It's about taking short, discreet steps towards meeting customer needs rather than feeding a designer's ego.

So, here is the best way to gather data and what data to gather when preparing for a redesign.

Step 1: Create Personas

What is a persona? It's an imaginary (but real) type of visitor on your site, likely to become a customer at some point. Creating these personas is challenging but extremely rewarding. You'll need to find some existing customers and poll some prospects to get a sense of just who the right target is. Just imagine how much easier it will be to find customers when you know where to look for them. The discovery portion of this process isn't always fun as you may not like what you hear, but that in itself is invaluable.

Step 2: Data from Testing

A/B split tests give you valuable data you can use in your GDD process. Everything from call-to-action buttons, navigation, images, content upgrades and signup buttons to headlines, hyperlinks and other website elements all will be tested for their overall effectiveness.

A/B testing allows individuals, teams, and companies to make careful changes to their user experiences while collecting data on the results. This allows them to construct hypotheses, and to learn better why certain elements of their experiences impact user behavior. Howard Mensa at Optimizely notes, “A/B split testing has an amazing tendency to reveal results that are markedly different than a professional designer's intuition.”

What you think is right for your site may not produce the highest conversions or best results. Test, test, test. While appealing to 100 percent of your audience is impossible, constant testing provides you with valuable data in the ongoing improvement of your website.

Step 3: Use Heatmaps

What's a heatmap? It's a tool you can use to track visitor behavior; where their eyes or mouse are traveling. Once thought of as a useless gimmick created be bored engineers, is now relied upon by the best marketers in the world. By paying attention to the data you collect, you can determine what elements on your website are getting noticed, and which are being ignored. With this information, you can better determine which sections of your website need adjustment or rethinking altogether.

Employing heatmaps will help you see what your visitors are seeing and what they are paying attention most attention to on each page of your site. Understanding this data and putting into practice will alone help improve your conversion rates.

Step 4: Do Keyword Research

Keyword research is another valuable source of data in your website design strategy. In addition to the obvious words and phrases potential customers are using to find your business, you can also uncover approaches that you never thought of, including searching for a competitor's product or specific product features. We all make assumptions about how people find us, but it's important to actually KNOW. Simply put - until you know what words and phrases people are using to find you - you cannot effectively optimize the content of your site. And until you do that, the amount of qualified traffic and the number of leads to your site will be limited.


Making GDD Work:

Gathering data is just the first part of the Growth Driven Design Process. With Growth-Driven Design, you can keep learning about your audience, monitor key performance indicators, deploy adjustments and repeat the process indefinitely. But this is ultimately what’s most valuable about this approach—you’re not relying on a costly and time-consuming site-wide redesign to boost your sales, you’re making incremental changes in phases. This helps you to adapt on a regular basis taking advantage of the fact that user behavior is constantly evolving AND the data that you collect is also making you more informed.

To learn more about the comprehensive strategy for building high-performance websites, check out this guide.




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About the Author Nate Brochin

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