3 Ways to Iterate Toward a Better Web Design

Beau Walsh: Iteration

The real world of design isn’t a series of brilliant spectacles and perfect first tries. There’s struggle, strife and stress. Those rare moments of inspiration will come but don’t get used to it. Instead be thrilled by the chase.

Eventually the process will lead to a product.

But after that solution is found, that doesn’t mean it’s time to move on to the next problem. Understand that the problem you are trying to solve will have nuances. Those little discrepancies will evolve, creating a need for a variation of that solution.

We call it “iteration.”

Designing anything always starts in one place and often ends somewhere far different.

Powered with the strength of the modern content management system, a website becomes a Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger. And as new challenges take the place of old ones, it’s “morphin’ time!” They keep upgrading, eventually Optimus Priming themselves into a Godzilla killing machine.

Those rangers… I never understood why they didn’t just start out mega-morphin’-awesome instead of waiting until they were getting beat up, flailing on the ground. But I digress!

Content requires unique design solutions for every problem; not just at the time of the initial mockup, but beyond.

1. Monitor evolving content needs.

Overarching values shouldn’t change. But the means of communicating them will.

Hopefully, you have a client that will expand out as they grow—not just for your sake but for theirs. And as new hires are brought on and new directions for the company are taken, their content will move with them.

Over time, they may have less need for a letter from their CEO and more need for a refreshing blog section. Or maybe their company is gradually changing their focus.

New content will come around to better convey what is currently happening.

2. Evaluate Individual elements’ success.

Not only will areas of content evolve, some will also prove more valuable over time.

We have free access to one of the best Power Ranger web-tools out there: Google Analytics. As visitors increase, we can start to see a development of hierarchy. And it might not be what we expected. With that new understanding, we can zero in on what is important.

Taking a look at what is most valuable to our visitors allows us to make it even more accessible. In addition, we can make sure that those pages provide the most value and lead users down the objective path.

3. Trace the visitor’s offsite flow.

A website is not in a vacuum. There is some sort of road that led them to where they are, be it a TV spot, business card or twitter link.

Following a recipe to make a pepperoni pizza and instead pulling a casserole out of the oven makes for a very confused cook. Maybe they like casserole, maybe they don’t.

But managing expectations will affect someones entire perception of their experience.

As new offline or offsite material is created, make sure the website is consistent in thought and design.

Web design is changing and iterative. It ebbs and flows with technology, communication strategy, and priority. Creating the space to evaluate and tweak effectiveness will go a long way in a successful web design. And it can provide another contact with your client to make the website just happier. Warm and fuzzies.

How is iteration a part of your design process?