Businesses are embracing Growth-Driven Design (GDD) to tap into its powerful impact. The year 2017 saw agencies reporting a 16.9% average increase in leads within six months of implementing GDD for themselves or their clients. The approach injects productivity and efficiency in developing and maintaining a website.
A well-planned and researched growth-driven design website starts with a solid strategy. This allows you to build a rock-solid foundation upon which your GDD thrives. It helps you:
- Understand what you’re trying to achieve with your website;
- How to create an outcome-focused and high-performing site that keeps your visitors engaged;
- What to focus on and by when to get the best results;
- How to shorten the time from planning to launch of your new site;
- Money, time, and resources needed to gain traction.
And then again, a strategy without data and insights is not much more than an opinion. So how do we go about to gather data for our new website strategy?
How to do UX Research for Web Design
1. Know how to measure progress and results
As with almost anything worth spending time on, your first step should be to set some goals (that are actually useful). We’re big proponents of the SMART-goals framework that focus on writing goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Combine this with another popular goal-setting framework (OKRs), and you have a solid foundation to build on when outlining the goals of a GDD-website.
You’d start by outlining the main objectives you’d like to set for the site, such as a better conversion rate, more visits to key website pages, or opportunities generated from leads from the website.
Each of those objectives should have a few key results tied to them. An important aspect when creating your key-results is that you should be able to see if it’s “done-done”, or not. As such, you should tie it to a specific outcome or a number.
Oh, and don’t worry if you don’t get it 100% right from the get-go, almost no one does. The key thing is that they are SMART (and you HAVE to be able to tell if they are done or not), that you have a place to start, and a process and system for keeping track of and measuring your progress.
2. Buyer Personas
Once you know what you want to get out of that dapper new website you’re planning, it’s time to laser in on those whose opinion is the only one that matters, your target audience.
Your buyer personas should be an integral part of your website research and strategy. Your site is not built for you, but for your target audience. Every design-choice and functionality decision should be centered around adding value and being helpful to your target persona(s).
Does it improve their experience, help them find the information they are looking for? Is the current design choice based on what’s best for them, or is it focused on what you think looks pretty?
While it’s not always easy, speaking to your audience in a 1-1 setting is a good way to get a better understanding of your buyers. What matters to them? What information are they looking for when making a purchase? And what are things that frustrate them when visiting your website?
Assuming that your buyer personas are set, you can now move on to the research phase.
3. UX Research
A luxury of the digital customer journey is that we have tools and data we can leverage when making decisions. On the other hand, too much of it is a common cause of decision paralysis, so keep in mind that while some data is good you should not overthink it.
Have a process
Before digging into the world of data and analysis, it’s important to have a process for gathering, interpreting, and following up on it to make sure you spend your time and effort where it has the highest likelihood of getting results.
This process should do four things:
- Show you how to ask the right questions at the right time, to the right people (i.e. your end users).
- Guide you where to look to find the answer to those questions.
- Outline how to synthesize the information gathered to concrete actions.
- Help you learn and optimize your work based on the key learnings from your action.
Qualitative research helps you uncover the reasons behind your users' specific behaviors. It helps you understand user goals, pain points, and motivations.
You can utilize chats, interviews, surveys, and user testing. That way, you gain rich insights into the behaviors related to the data points gathered.
The qualitative research phase is key when developing your site and buyer personas, and should not be a “set it and forget it” thing. Doing qualitative research and speaking with your current and potential customers should be an ongoing area of focus.
One significant aspect of GDD is that it doesn't rely on gut-feelings and personal preferences when making design decisions. It relies on observational and/or quantitative data first, or a well thought out and measurable hypothesis second.
Observational data can be obtained through heat maps and user recordings. This will help you understand how your website visitors interact with your site, how and where they look and navigate, and if there are things that might cause frustration and friction (such as “rage clicks” on things that they expect to be clickable).
For example, scroll maps can help you decide where to place your key information and conversion point. No use spending all that time and effort if 90% of your website visitors never get to see that sweet ROI-calculator you built.
Tools such as Google Analytics and HubSpot are critical for gathering quantitative data to assess your current website performance. They will give you the information you need to carry out your quantitative audit, as well as tracking the impact of the design decisions you’ve made.
Just be vary of the aforementioned decision paralysis. Data and information are great but not of much use without the ability to identify what truly moves the needle and to take action on a few key items.
Spending time on the steps mentioned in this post should help you narrow it down.
Use the data to identify the main issues to address, to set up measurable goals, and track your progress.