Rethinking Web Development: An Agency Perspective

By Madison Taylor
January 1, 2023
Man working at a laptop

Web development’s traditional model emphasizes extensive initial planning and client discussions, envisioning a website’s functionality for present and future needs. Developers engage in prolonged discussions with clients to envisage a website’s functionalities, not just for the present but also for an unpredictable future. This process involves an attempt to foresee user needs, market trends, and technological advancements, essentially striving to encapsulate everything a client might ever require in one go.

However, web designers and developers should revise this approach because it lacks user data. Since these websites are yet to go live, there’s no user interaction to analyze. Developers guess future users’ needs without accurate usage data, leading to speculative and often misguided development efforts.

Moreover, clients themselves are not always clear about their requirements. Their vision, though important, might not align with the practical and evolving needs of the website’s users. Relying solely on client input for website functionalities can lead to a disconnect from the actual user experience.

Traditional web development practices also need more efficiency due to their extended timelines. Comprehensive websites with dozens of pages can take months to build when market conditions, product lines, and company priorities can shift significantly. This often results in project scope changes, leading to increased costs and extended timelines.

Another challenge is the complexity of making changes to these elaborately built websites. Over time, as the underlying systems of these websites become more intricate, even minor modifications become burdensome in terms of cost and time. Consequently, many website owners postpone updates, leading to infrequent and bulk updates that restart this cumbersome cycle.

A New Paradigm: Starting with the Essentials

An alternative approach to web development is starting with a minimal viable product (MVP) and using a Growth-Driven Design (GDD) model. This concept involves launching a website with just the essentials – essential pages, basic functionalities, and focusing on core messaging and products. This strategy doesn’t aim to be less ambitious but more agile and responsive.

Embracing Minimalism in Web Development

Consider your website a foundational platform, a starting point from which to expand based on actual user feedback and data. The MVP should encapsulate the brand’s essence and offerings, tailored uniquely for each company. This approach prioritizes speed, flexibility, and minimalism, challenging the traditional client expectation of a large, feature-rich site.

The GDD model shifts the focus from an upfront investment in an extensive website to a more iterative, data-driven approach. Clients invest in expertise and strategy, resulting in a launchpad site optimized for user interaction, market trends, and compelling messaging. The budget is allocated more efficiently over time, adapting the website to evolving user needs and business goals.

Expanding from the Launchpad

With the MVP live, actual user data starts flowing in. This information is invaluable in understanding user behavior, preferences, and the most impactful features. It enables developers and clients to make informed decisions, enhancing and expanding the website based on actual needs and usage patterns.

Remember, what clients think they want for their website might not align with what they need. As a web developer, it’s crucial to delve into the core of the client’s business, understanding their fundamental values and customer needs. Rather than a predefined feature list, this insight should guide the website’s evolution.

Web development today calls for a shift in perspective – from creating an all-encompassing product based on predictions to developing a responsive, data-driven platform that evolves with user feedback and market trends. The call for a paradigm shift in web development is not just about adapting to user feedback and market trends; it’s about efficiency, adaptability, and creating websites that genuinely resonate with users. By embracing this approach, developers and clients can ensure their digital presence is robust and relevant today and poised for seamless evolution in the rapidly changing digital landscape.