GMM: What in the heck is Iterative Design?


CRAIG ISRAEL: What the
heck is iterative design? That’s what we’re talking
about today on “Good Morning Marketers”. [MUSIC PLAYING] Hi. I’m Craig Israel, Creative
Director at Thunder Tech. The basic idea of iterative
design is easy to understand. It’s the idea of taking
something and making small, incremental changes
over time to improve it. This has been used in
manufacturing forever. You build a product. You see what customers say. You make small changes
to optimize it. And then people like it better. In marketing, it’s easiest to
understand iterative design when you look at
logo evolutions. If you have a logo that’s
worked for your company for a long time, you don’t
want to make a radical change. That risks alienating
your current customers and confusing your
prospective customers. So let’s take a look at
Starbucks as an example. Here’s Starbucks’
original design when they were still just a
coffee shop out of Seattle. Then, we see how they changed
it gradually, over time, as they started to roll out nationwide. And finally, here’s the
logo that we know today that they rolled out on
their 40th anniversary. You can see that over
their 40-year span, the logo has evolved and changed
and become more contemporary, but it’s still very identifiable
as the Starbucks logo. So as intuitive as
iterative design seems, surprisingly, website
designers haven’t really embraced the idea
until recently. The traditional model is
to build a website, put all your time and energy
into making it perfect, and then to let it
sit until it becomes outdated and unbearable. At that time, you blow it up and
completely start from scratch. Obviously, this is a painful,
labor-intensive, and expensive process. So a better alternative
is iterative design, where you build your
website in such a fashion that you plan on making small,
incremental changes over time. The idea of iterative
web design is something we wrote
about in our most recent “Trends”
book– still available for download at
trends.thundertech.com. At Thunder Tech, we try
to take our own medicine. So when we did our last major
website redesign in 2014, we had iterative design in mind. We started with a
content management system because we knew we needed
a strong foundation to update this site. We found a powerful,
flexible CMS that would serve us
well for years to come. Then we built the
content of the site in modules that we
could easily move around and shuffle as needed. Here’s how it looked
when we launched it. It was part of a
larger brand redesign that we are undergoing
at the time. In the weeks after
launch, we carefully analyzed the traffic
coming to the site, seeing what buttons
people were clicking, how they were
navigating on the site, and how long they were
staying on certain pages. This gave us some insight into
how people were using the site. One thing we noticed
right away is this large, cinematic graphic
at the top of the site, although we loved it, kind
of painted us into a corner. It didn’t give us
enough real estate to promote some new events,
new products, or anything we were excited about with
the agency at the time. So as part of
iterative design, we went and looked at
that header area again. We redesigned it,
as you’ll see here, added some fun animations,
and most importantly, added this call out section
where we could talk about new products, services,
or anything that was happening in the agency that we wanted
our customers to know about. And because we had
iterative design in mind when we built the foundation,
we could make these changes quickly and easily without
a lot of time spent. So what’s this mean to you? It means the next time
you re considering a redesign of your
website, keep in mind the principles of
iterative design. Build it with a
strong foundation that you can change and
tweak and iterate over time, so that you can optimize
it for your customer base without having to blow it
up and restart from scratch. If you want to learn more
about iterative design, download our “Trends”
book, or visit our website at thundertech.com. Thanks for watching. [MUSIC PLAYING]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *