After 10 years of designing websites we have seen almost everything when it comes to a successful and un-successful web design projects. Over the years we have discovered some things that help identify the cause of the projects that fail.
Some things have changed as website design has evolved and accelerated; because of this we need to adapt and change the way we think about how we use our websites.
Back in the early years we would build websites like a house by spending months designing and perfecting every step with developers, graphic artists, writers and anyone else needed. We'd launch the website and hope for an ROI worth our time and effort. The process was long and hard and would fail more times than it should.
So why do web design projects fail?
1. Too many refinements
One reason for failed web design projects is when too much emphasis is placed on refinements that may not even have an effect on results. Think of polishing the silverware while you are opening your restaurant. No money comes in until the doors are open. Or maybe what you think needs refinement won't affect the success of your marketing at all. It's best to separate the necessary elements from the "nice to haves".
2. No data to support decisions
When we make design decisions on a new website prototype they are speculative. Since we have no supporting data based on website user behavior we are only guessing based from our experiences with other projects. It is best to use visitor behavior from Google Analytics to make informed decisions.
3. Team is disorganized
Sometimes the team responsible for the project can get disorganized. For example, the project lead from the company leaves their employment or switches roles or the team lead loses interest or motivation to complete the project.
4. Management hasn't bought in or has lost site of the goals
During the course of the project life there may be some twists and turns. The need to pivot based on certain situations may be necessary to actually complete the project if on a bad trajectory. This is common and should be expected. If management isn't informed and educated then the lack of understanding creates a disconnect and abandonment.
5. Not using growth or performance based models
New website technology like WordPress, themes and plugin development have accelerated the web design process. The life of the website that used to be 4 to 5 years is now less than 2 years. In fact, web design should be continual with the addition of new elements and content on an ongoing basis. Check out Growth Driven Design principals.
These are just a few of the common problems that get in the way of a successful web design project.
How Do We Do It Now?
These factors are forcing web designers to build websites more effectively to accommodate the changes in web design. We use Growth Driven Design Principals to build websites that can accommodate the new environment. This is based on the concept of building a launchpad website and making updates in real time on a live website after launching.
The advantage with this approach, is that we can adapt based to visitor behavior. We can analyze where users are going, what things they are clicking on and make adjustments to drive traffic to the proper places.
The difference is as plain as finding a destination without a map. It's obvious that you need to have a plan and a map to find your destination or meet your goals.
If you don't have a plan we can help.