The broken webdesign process

Why traditional webdesign does not work

Does this sound familiar?

When a business owner or marketing manager realises their website is not working for them they decide to take action. The usual process begins with writing a short website brief which is sent out to a selection of web design agencies.

The problem with this is that they don’t actually want a new website. They think they want a website but what they really and truly want is more leads.

After reviewing the offers from the various agencies one is selected to begin the long process of designing the website. A large up-front cost is typically attached to the engagement.

It’s a hard long slog. Inevitably the next five or six months are spent focusing on the strategy, features, design, coding and content generation of the new site. There will be frustrations over budget and scope. From an agency perspective, new requests from the client are viewed as “feature creep”; whilst from a client perspective these requests have just been assumed to be part of the package at the outset. Negotiations take place and further budget has to be found.


The marketing team will be forced to shift focus from their normal activities with time sapping design issues - in response to which all they can often do is offer an educated guess as to how best to hit business goals for the site. The agency’s design team will make hundreds, if not thousands, of little assumptions as to the best way to put together the user experience and the structure of the website. Content generation will take up a huge amount of time, even if there is a copy writer on the agency team.

Typically, due to unforeseen elements and the difficulty to plan and find the time needed, the project overruns the deadline. A huge push is completed towards the end to get this monster of a project out of the door.

We've launched. But was it worth it?

After a massive amount of effort by all involved the site goes live. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief and then the site is left to sit. Typically a site may not have any major updates for 2-3 years - small improvements may happen with elements of content being added such as blog posts and landing pages but the vast majority of the site remains untouched.

Yes. Our number 1 market asset and best salesperson now sits gathering dust for years. Was all the effort worth it? Did we achieve our dreams? Do we even know what our dreams were?

In 3 years time the business owner and marketing team take a look at the site and decide the site is not working for them. They then proceed to write a short website brief and send it out to a selection of web design agencies. The process starts all over again.

The webdesign process is broken

This traditional way of producing websites is broken. Why is it broken? Because it in no way maximises the website’s performance. It is all based on the false premise that what is wanted is a new website - not, in fact, what is really wanted. More sales leads. We can do better. We must do better. 

7 reasons traditional webdesign process is broken:

  1. Huge and risky up front costs
  2. Massive time commitments and effort
  3. Often run over budget with unforeseen requirements
  4. Ideal deadlines often not able to be met
  5. There is no guarantee that the final website will be high performing
  6. No major improvements are done for 2-3 years
  7. Every decision is subjective and based on assumptions

The solution? Growth Driven Design

Ok ok. Enough of the depressing stuff. The burning question is - what is the solution to this problem? That’s where Growth Driven Design comes in.

Growth Driven Design is a methodology whereby a website is deliberately launched on a small scale so that it can be developed and built over-time. Find out more information here.

Cycles of planned work are executed in an almost "scientific way". Everything is tracked and measurable. As time goes on knowledge around the how visitors are interacting with the site increases. This informs a continuous improvement of the site. Value is continued to be added over time in an agile and flexible way with proven results.

Forget the old broken webdesign process. The future is Growth Driven Design.