Why You Need to Use Iterative Website Design

Iterative Website Design

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Refining your website design with every cycle

Iterative website design is the process of perfecting your website by testing, evaluating and retesting.

As you design your website, you should be focusing on very specific goals. However, how do you know if you are meeting those goals? Iterative web design is the way you can evaluate your progress towards your goal. Iterative design is merely the process of creating a prototype, testing it, evaluating the results, redesigning, and retesting.

The definition of iterative design process is:

Iterative Design: the idea that design should be done in repeated cycles where, in each cycle, the design is elaborated, refined, and tested, and the results of testing at each cycle feed into the design focus of the next cycle.

Many companies do not take the time to go through an iterative process. Some businesses are just glad to get a beta version of their software on the shelves, let alone have multiple iterations of testing, evaluating, refining, and retesting. However, early tests can quickly identify trouble areas and problems the designers had not expected, and allow designers to make the necessary adjustments before a leaky faucet becomes a raging flood.

If you have set mini-goals for your website, you can test these at intervals as the website is designed. How easily can a person purchase your product? Are there common places where people get lost or confused? As you give sample users tests on the design and layout, you will begin to see where things could be streamlined to eliminate much of the problems and mistakes. These early tests can save hundreds and thousands of dollars by catching and resolving mistakes early.

Applying this iterative design process is simple to do. However, don't get lazy about your design and expect to use the excuse "We'll just fix that on the next go around." These iterations should ideally occur prior to when the website is rolled out. Yes, there will be constant updates and refinements as the website naturally ages, but that is no excuse for poor design. You should be dedicated to giving all of your website users the very best experience from the very first time they ever visit your site. If you missed a little, back up and punt, and take what you have learned and do better on the next go around.