Caitlin Tupper
May, 05, 2017

Continuous Improvement: The Path to a Better Website

Racking your brain for ideas to improve your company's site? Today, we'll walk you through a few core web design methodologies that can help you achieve a better website.

To start, the ideal website needs a little zen - some "kai-zen."

Core Methodology #1: Kaizen

Kaizen is a Sino-Japanese word that means 'change for the better' or 'improvement'. The history of the term dates back to post World War II when Toyota introduced 'quality circles' to their production process; they were designated team members who came together to identify internal problems and implement solutions. With "all hands on deck," they introduced "small improvements" to help streamline business practices.

Today, Kaizen embodies the concept of "continuous improvement" and is globally recognized as a core principle of a competitive business strategy.

 

Core Methodology #2: Agile

Another business strategy born from kaizen is the agile methodology. Applied to inbound marketing, agile marketing is a holistic and strategic approach to marketing. Agile agency teams merge their efforts to prioritize high impact projects and collaborate to complete these tasks quickly and efficiently. The team measures their progress throughout the duration of the project and uses that data to incrementally improve future results.

 

Core Methodology #3: Growth-Driven Design

Agile has significantly improved the efficiency of the website design process. Over the past 10-20 years, a movement called Growth Driven Design, or GDD, has taken the web design industry by storm. The goal of GDD is to reduce the common risks of a traditional design process in the following ways:

  • The design strategy focuses on the user experience.
  • Users of the live website are the center of all design decisions.
  • Launching a new, testable product takes less time than with a traditional redesign.
  • The new site goes through iterative changes over time.
  • Real user data is the impetus for future design changes.

 

Growth Driven Design - Redesigns Done Differently

 

The Continuous Improvement Cycle

Whether you've had a new website built or are moving forward with your existing model, there are two things you can expect from the Growth-Driven Design process:

  • a user-centered strategy and
  • a continuous improvement plan.

By the end of the strategy phase, you will understand the customers you are trying to reach and know how to solve their problems. You will also collaborate with the creative team and develop a long, thoughtful list of the most valuable elements you'd like to incorporate into your new website environment. In the world of GDD, this is known as a "wishlist," a key tool your team will use to prioritize their efforts.

 

4 Steps for Your Website's Continuous Improvement Cycle

Wishlists are created with your company goals in mind. However, there are four steps in this cycle that ensure the process is consistent and repeatable:

Plan: All of the existing research from the previous month is analyzed. The results are compared to the existing performance goals. You and your team will take this information, use it to make any necessary edits to your wishlist, and establish the action plan for the current month.

Develop: All of the monthly to-dos and deliverables are built out and delegated to your team members. All of the necessary experiments are set up and run in the most efficient way possible.

Learn: Establish what you have learned from your users to date. All of the data is collected from the experiments, and your team reviews all of the completed items. Results are analyzed and recorded.

Transfer: Everything learned will be shared with the team. Everyone will create recommendations for moving forward and document any questions that will be taken to the next planning step, all measured against company goals. 

 

...And the Cycle Repeats!

Continuous Improvement cycles will run until the preset goal is completed. That's the beauty of GDD; everyone is working toward a common goal. Growth-Driven Design aligns the shared goals of the design, marketing, and sales teams and encourages everyone to row in the same direction.  

As John C. Maxwell once said, "Teamwork makes the dream work."

 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been fully updated for accuracy and relevance.

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