What is the Lean Website Design Approach, and How Should You Implement It?
A lean process for website design allows you to launch swiftly and iterate and improve over time. There is no need not invest a huge sum at the beginning in a time-intensive project that may not prove successful. The lean method focuses on fast market launch and gradual testing for performance enhancements.
Please remember not to try to combine your process for website design with your branding exercise. Attempting to do both simultaneously will prevent you from implementing “lean” and you wouldn’t be able to do justice to either. Ideally, you should start the project for website design after beginning the branding exercise.
Timeline for Website Design Process
The lean process for website design can be completed in several weeks or months based on the site’s size. Then, you can begin the development process. If fresh content is in the process of being created, web design would be lengthier, especially if multiple stakeholders are involved. You are more likely to launch quickly if there are fewer project stakeholders involved.
The following steps are outlined in a general layout, but there can be overlapping of many of the activities and they can happen simultaneously, speeding up the launch time.
Cycles in The Lean Process for Website Design
Lean and agile function on a flywheel progress concept. This concept is often referred to as growth-driven design.
At first, it is more difficult to turn a flywheel into a complete revolution. Momentum is obtained with every revolution, which gives you an idea about your team’s capability and tempo. Similarly, the agile flywheel model also illustrates a feedback loop.
In this flywheel model, a complete revolution represents the finish of a sprint or work cycle. Complex site design and building phases can have several cycles. In that case, you simply break down larger tasks into smaller and more manageable ones for easier completion.
Common sprints for agile sites include:
Work in progress
Analysis (task completion provides fresh insights)
Key Milestone Steps of a Site Design Process
When looking at the overall scope of the project, it is crucial to define a few key milestones. Even as you function in a lean/agile manner, you should get a view of the direction the work is heading toward and grasp a sense of the landscape. The lean/agile method permits learning and adaptation. Below, we provide some clear milestones and steps for project progress.
1. Analysis and Audit
Many times, firms do a redesign of their site on a new platform in order to meet new objectives. Companies often make a shift from a hard-coded website or proprietary CMS to an application such as HubSpot. This platform allows marketers to effortlessly make fast updates and lean tests.
This milestone includes a strategic and technical analysis to check if other COS/CRM solutions are more suitable for the website. In addition, you can determine which programming languages, domain name, framework, and hosting to utilize. You can also assess the project’s broad requirements and desired results.
You will be able to rate the desired results in terms of priority to get guidance for decisions in the future. This step involves setting key goals/priorities, developing a collection of ideas, analytics review, heat mapping assessment, and stakeholder interviews. In this phase, it's crucial to ask fundamental and basic questions to direct decisions taken in the next stage. The audit phase lays the base for an efficient launch.
2. Research on Landscape, Messaging, Market, and Competitors
Your project team can now evaluate the competitive landscape for crucial factors such as messaging effect, compelling (CTAs) calls-to-action, content download availability, and user-friendliness. In addition, your team can analyze marketplace challenges, sales insights, buyer requirements, and record user’s/buyer’s viewpoints. This phase reveals important imperatives and opportunities.
3. Analysis and Prioritization
Here, the marketing, content, and design teams search for fast wins and easily doable activities in a complete audit file. These can include the addition of enhanced value propositions and CTAs. You can use website analytics to discover which pages do not have SEO ranking or have poor lead conversion rates, and therefore need to be improved. It’s crucial to test the site design concepts in phases and to perform regular and frequent reviews.
Get the main stakeholders involved in the project early to avoid failure and give them a voice about the process. This step aids the team to prioritize action steps for a lean release.
4. Site Organization, Buyer Journey and Information Architecture
You should assess the site’s content structure and menu to identify areas for improvement and to make the design more simple and clear. Your team can review the UX (user experience) as well any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) errors, such as not using proper keywords for the web page headers and titles. Further, the team may consider including CTAs in the main menu for navigation to boost lead generation. In this step, you should leverage testing and analytics to create a better concept plan and navigation system.
5. Wireframes and Design Exploration
Contemporaneously with content devising, your team can work on a mood board that captures design inspiration/exploration as well as basic design themes like icons, fonts, and colors. This is not a branding exercise that can confound the procedure as we mentioned before. Next, the team can begin design and wireframing mockups, and conduct multiple revision rounds, if required.
6. Content Optimization
In this step, your team should create a value proposition that is not autobiographical but value-centric. You can conduct a comprehensive messaging exercise in combination with the site redesign process. But you should ensure to test at the least the major page names and headlines. Then, you can SEO optimize the content for keyword planning targets also.
The development has its own lean process. You should build the website using modular templates which can be repurposed effortlessly as the site scales. Create the templates for the needs of marketers, so that you can make updates and tests without requiring assistance from coders. In addition, a lean site undergoes several launches – not one final launch event. Therefore, you should plan development to facilitate future adaptations and expansions. It is important to have a modular code base and architecture.
8. Release a Small Edition of The Site
The lean release typically includes the fundamental structure with important feature pages. Your team should test the language and design of the website against metrics like conversions and others that are related to lead creation. You can gradually add extra pages utilizing current templates.
9. Progressive Iterations and Improvements
The real tasks begin after the launch of your lean site. Utilize the period for iteration, testing, and evaluation. Your team should analyze metrics on conversion rate and lead generation. They should test different conversion points, messaging, and designs to obtain insights gradually that they can use to optimize the website design to improve performance.