The Supreme Guide To

Data Driven Design

How to design a website that is results focussed

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Creating a website that delivers focused results not the ‘norm’ when it comes to most web design today. At Honest Fox, we strive to build websites that are well designed and drives growth. That’s what all good web design agencies should focus on. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the norm. Aesthetics being a primary focus. Rather than the UX and the results these websites deliver for a business. 

This is where Data-Driven Design plays a major role.  It allows data to guide the design process. By looking at the data it will show you what is working and what is not. The reality is, many designs may look fantastic from an aesthetic standpoint. When it comes to real-world use of the product, it may well be confusing or not practical to the user. This, in turn, may deliver a poor experience for the end-user. 

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What is data-driven design? 

Data-driven design is a design method which uses the information available.  From both quantitative and qualitative sources. Making informed decisions on the best way to design for a group of users. 

These tools are usually already available.  Used in the daily mix of digital product management. This information is vital to understanding what is happening with your website.  It will assist you in making decisions on how to design your new product moving forward.

These tools include things such as:

  • Google Analytics which is an in depth site usage analytics suite
  • A/B testing tools
  • Heat mapping and screen recording tools such as Hotjar and Crazy Egg
  • User surveys - digital and in-person

Using such tools will be a basis for making great design decisions. It will allow data-driven design to be a focal point of creating high performing websites.  This is important. Your website now acts as your first point of contact with your potential customers. Your website is your most important sales and marketing asset. Give your website the love it deserves. Partner with an agency like us. Data-driven design is our preferred method of web design and development. 

Data Driven Design vs Traditional Design

So you're searching for a web design agency or freelancer to build your next site. Next steps, you will select a designer you believe will do the job.  This is usually based on your connection and their portfolio. 

You've selected a designer or agency and off you go building out your next website. What happens next? Your designer will ask you lots of questions about the ‘design’ of the end product. Questions around, what would you like the colour scheme to be? Are there any other websites that have a similar vibe to what you are going for? They will most likely suggest a workshop that they will use as part of the discovery process.

Now you have what it will look like and what you want it to do. Everyone is happy with how it’s going to look and boom they create the website and launch as required. The project has spanned three months and everyone is super excited about the launch. 

The problem is, nothing is happening. You have spent thousands of dollars on building out the website.  There are no new leads, the traffic is still the same. What’s going on?

Unfortunately, you have done what a majority of people do when building a website. They forget about the commercial side of it. The data can clarify a lot of the big questions before investing in the project. Data is an integral part of your website build, it will tell you what is and isn’t working. What people are looking for and what converts.

As a custom web design agency in Melbourne. It is imperative that data is at the focal point of what we do and design. Let us help you understand this process as we step you through the data-driven design process.

The Data-Driven Design Process 

Let’s talk about how we get this done. We will take you through the process of adopting data-driven design for your next project.

Let's take a look through how we make magic happen through data-driven design:

Identify the problem with current website - what is your hypothesis?

The reason you are here is because you are at a point with your website where something is not working.  It is not delivering the intended outputs. These can be a combination of things. Not selling enough items. The design seems outdated. It’s not mobile optimised (shriek!). Your lead conversion is very low. 

This is your chance to make amends for the website you’ve wanted to overhaul for years. You have a gut feeling about what is wrong with the website and the reason you want to go through a redesign. You have a theory to how you believe you can improve your website and deliver the results. You need to start with a clear hypothesis to start the data driven process.

Insight gathering - both quantitative and qualitative data

You have locked in your hypothesis on what your new data-driven website, where to from here? Let’s do some digging into the data and find out what is exactly going on so we can identify and fix the issue. Let’s start testing across both quantitative and qualitative data. We can find the correct solution to the problem with this information. 

We can put in place some user testing. Travel down the path of in-depth customer research. It will provide us with the information we need to move forward. Another practical method is to utilise A/B testing software. This will help qualify some of your thoughts by testing them in a live environment. This will help make decisions on what to implement. 

We assume in this process that quantitative information is available. This is through your analytics tools.  These will play a big part to identify what your key metrics are and how you are performing in that space. 

Design and build based on what the data and research is telling us

A big problem within design. Is that many people like building websites based on websites they like. Copycatting it to impersonate its style from a competitor or industry leader. The reality being.  because a website is ‘pretty’ and nice to look at doesn’t mean that it is a high performing website. 

You need to remember that your website is your number one sales and marketing asset. It represents your company online. You want it to have an amazing customer experience. Be commercially performing and have a unique design. 

When building your next website using this process.  It will focus on delivering based on what research has discovered. The feedback and conversations with your potential customers. They are the only reason you have for a website, to make them happy and for them to become your customers. 

Delivering a product which provides them with the experience they expect. The information they are looking for are the backbone of a high performing website. When you start with the end result in mind, this will allow you to be in line with the data-driven design process. Building a website that connects with your customers is the ultimate goal. 

Continuous improvement in your website

Gone are the days where a business can punch out a static website and hope for the best when it comes to traffic. You may do well for organic traffic for your brand term. When it comes to building the traffic to the site on relevant keywords, content is king.

A data-driven website will always change through updating and optimising pages.  Updating titles, meta descriptions and product pages. Having a steady flow of relevant content on the blog. You will receive feedback from your website from analytics. You then need to update in line with what the data is telling you. Measuring your core website KPI’s. Traffic, conversions, leads, and revenue. This is an important part of tuning your website to deliver the desired results. 

Here are some examples of situations that may arise post launch:

Situation: Your conversions are showing that a lot of the users are exiting the page. A high bounce rate, before filling out the form.

You might ask: Is my page too slow? Am I asking too many questions in the form? Is the CX confusing? Is the form functioning?

Situation: Users are not clicking on a CTA, which is driving a low conversion rate. 

You might ask: Is it clear that it is a CTA? Does it have the write text on the CTA? Is the CTA clear enough? Is the CX frustrating?

Make sure you are using a CMS (Content Management System) 

When building a website that will need updating. It’s best that we build it using a content management system. This will allow you to make necessary updates as required. It helps you and your team have the ease of use to update your content as required.

The CMS’s we work with are:

  • Hubspot
  • Craft CMS
  • Wordpress
  • Drupal

Make sure you are collecting the required data and closed loop analytics

The data collected through a database. Will allow you to gather and store the applicable data about your marketing efforts. There are products which will assist with your marketing and marketing automation efforts. 

We are Hubspot partners. It is an ideal software for SME’s business to make the most of their opportunities. 

An ability to nurture your leads to drive them down the funnel is important.  Users taking the action you need them to is a very important part of the data-driven process.

The minimum requirements for building a data-driven website is  Google Analytics. Or running a similar product to track all the relevant data and metrics of your website. 

Closed-loop analytics can be performed also using a platform like Hubspot. It allows you to check the full lifecycle of the customer. This looks at when they first enter your website all the way to becoming a paying customer.

This method will help with your sales and marketing team alignment. It will give them visibility on what is driving your customers to the bottom of the funnel. Hence closing the loop on your marketing activities.

Gaining a greater understanding of what activities are driving your customers to convert.  Driving revenue is vital in optimising for greater results. It will help answer questions about whether the website is delivering what you wanted it to. 

Clearly defined Call to Actions (CTA)

If you do not know what a CTA is, it is something on your website that tells your user what to do. These CTA’s are very important in understanding your funnel. The process of converting a website visitor into a lead. These call to actions will help you figure out what website traffic is converting into leads.

These are pivotal data points in your data-driven focussed website. They will allow you to adjust. Optimise what they say, what they look like and what you want the customer to do. 

Testing different CTA’s through AB testing tools will help you optimise your site. The art of having the right, words, colours and locations of your CTA. Every percentage point in the right direction. Will have an exponential effect on your final conversion metrics. Monitor and adjust. 

Why data-driven design works

In today’s digital world data is king. Ignoring this as part of your web design process will lead to failure. A new website that does not produce commercial outcomes is a bad place to be in.

When investing capital into your next website design project. Selecting a design agency needs to focus on their process of both what the end product looks like. As well as the agencies design design process. Be specific and find out how they go about it. Alarm bells should ring if you don’t hear the word data in their process. This is why it works:

Data is your friend

Design implies aesthetics but web design without data is like a car without an engine. The externalities of what it looks like are great. Without that grunt below the hood, you are going to get nowhere. Alas, such is the way with website design. The engine is the data you have at your disposal to make a decision on who you should look to design a website. Data is your friend, my friend.

In the case of data-driven design. It is not replacing the creativity of building a beautiful website. It is complimenting it, so the web design will be based on what the data says. It’s like a match made in heaven. The data helps you make the right decisions.  It will impact how users interact with your website. 

Data doesn't have to be complicated

One of the main misconceptions about the DDD process is that it's complicated. You may have the perception of trawling through complex data in spreadsheets. That thought alone will be enough to scare away the most seasoned web designers away. The reality is that it doesn’t need to be this way. 

Data, in this case, is not taking the place of design. Using the data-driven design process, data will be what provides the evidence. What is working for the target audience? What this process allows to do is to utilise the data available.  It helps confirm any of your assumptions about the web design you are considering. It will also allow you to continually optimise in the long run. Providing an end result which as designed. Tested to deliver the best results.

Data is your friend. Data-driven design will allow you to produce websites that deliver the results. If you are looking to deliver a project that is outcome focussed. Be sure to talk to a web design agency that is using these principles to deliver the right results. 

Data helps speed up the design process

Data driven design has a common misconception that it is a complicated process that takes a lot of time. This couldn’t be further from the truth as the data aspect of the process may appear at first to slow the process down.  Although this design process is much more straightforward. The right data allows you to make quick decisions about your design. 

Rather than designing and hoping that it provides the results you are expecting. Use the data you have and design in line with this. By not having to make as many updates to the site. This will cut down the amount of time invested in the design. With this data on hand it will allow you to make greater decisions. Once live and judging the effectiveness of your design will be straight forward. 

When the data-driven design process is adopted. It will end up allowing the web designer to fulfil their job much easier. With the backing of data, it will accelerate the process. It will answer questions that were once clouded. Remove the vagueness out of your web design process and deliver better products. 

Tools that can help you with Data-Driven Design 

As part of taking on the data driven design process, there is a swag of tools that can help for the data collection. We have compiled some of the more common tools used within the industry. These help UX research and understand user behaviour. We use these tools as part of our client engagements to enhance our outcomes. The tools you choose depends on what kind of budget you are working with.

As stated earlier, the data doesn’t have to be over the top. You need data that is concise and delivers the information you need. If you cannot find the insight you are looking for through your suite of tools. It may be time to investigate further. You can always add more data later.

User Testing

Uses: User testing and Screen recordings

User Testing is a great platform to gather insights in a short amount of time. It is a great way to test any questions about design. As part of your user research and usability testing. You can generate tests across devices and browsers. You will see how your platform works across a suite of technology as well.

HotJar 

Uses: User testing, screen recordings, heatmaps

Hotjar is a simple to use tool which will allow you to do heat mapping. Understand where people focus on a page. How far they scroll on-page. Monitor the conversion funnel and so much more. Hotjar is simple to use and visual way of looking at the user experience and issues they may face.

Crazy Egg

Uses: Screen recordings, Heatmaps and A/B Testing

Like HotJar in that, it provides heat mapping and scroll depth monitoring. With added A/B testing so you can test and measure iterations of a certain design element of UX.

What do you do if you don’t have data?

Ok, so you’re super excited about getting into data-driven design. You have realised you have no data to work with. That’s ok. We have worked with clients in the same situation. Never had analytics tools installed? We have found workarounds. Here are a few tactics we can take in this case:

What you know - What we find really helps if we do not have relevant data. Our clients have a fairly good idea of their customer base. While this is a data-driven focussed method. It at least is putting some logic (gut feel) to what the messaging and tone should be. The beauty of this method is that we can look at what is and isn’t working post-launch and refine from there.

What we know - We as an agency have a wealth of experience dealing with many clients and many industries. We can use some of the data we have gathered in the past. To build out some assumptions about the design and the potential results based on what we have seen in the past.

Google and other free tools: The internet is an amazing place and there is a lot of data available for free.  That you can utilise. Tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, Google Trends, and Similar Web. Will provide some baseline for what is happening within your industry. 

What we are trying to get at is that while data is important. Designing without data but with some logic is possible. When web design gets stuck in the vortex of what it looks like. Rather than what works for the user, that’s when it all gets unstuck. 

Want to start a Data-Driven Web design project?

You’ve made it this far, so why not take some action into making your new website start off on the right foot. If you need any further clarification on why you should consider data driven design. Reach out and we can discuss if it makes sense. 

Honest Fox is a web design agency in Melbourne. We focus on delivering websites that are both functional and beautiful. Delivering commercial results you would expect with your investment. We have a talent stack which sees our work all done locally. Including UI Designers, UX Designers and web developers. Check out some of our case studies.

We are happy to book in some time to chat to you about what your needs are. What you are trying to achieve with your next web design project.

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