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Why Is Data-Driven Design Essential For Business Websites?

How data-driven design can be used to improve website user experience

Data used to design websites


Data-Driven Design Helps Us Create Smarter, More Efficient Websites

Data-driven design improves the content, design and functionality of a website by analysing the information found in the backend of your site. It is a vital element of digital marketing and should be a top priority for any small business owner during the early phase of website design or redesign. The decisions you make at this crucial stage of the website build process can really affect your business goals so should be taken seriously.

We have previously looked at how website design can affect the user experience (UX) of a website. Data-driven design is about using data to create personalised online experiences for consumers. It enables website designers to make smarter decisions and informed choices when building and designing a website. We want to personalise the user experience, based on what you know about the user’s journey through your website and their past behaviour when using it.

Unfortunately, a lot of websites are designed to just look good rather than to function properly. A well optimised website is essential to a small business’s strategy. Good website design can make a big difference to SEO and data takes the guesswork out of this optimisation.

Your website needs to help people get what they want quickly and easily and we can use hard facts and statistics to help us do this. We already know that website design can impact your business sales. Using data to specifically inform this website design will help your customers move through the sales and conversion funnels and help you to increase your ROI. We must use this data to help our websites meet the users’ needs and aid these crucial processes.

Conversions are always the ultimate goal of any website, whether the conversions are sales, enquiries or mailing list sign ups. We can use data to see which website design elements best aid these conversions. These might be colour schemes or the positioning of call to actions, but there are many more to play with.

Data-driven design helps to find where your website is losing prospects or missing sales. And these are important issues that can have a huge impact on your business.


Questions We Can Ask To Prompt Data Collection For Data-Driven Design

Before you get going, these are a few of the kind of questions we need to be asking about your website:

  • Are there any pages we can add to increase traffic?
  • How successfully can visitors complete the selection and checkout processes?
  • Which pages are currently bringing in the most leads?
  • What are your users looking for when they come to the website?
  • Is my website delivering conversions?

Data-driven design will help you find the answers to these questions.

What Data?

What Data Are We Measuring?

The results from website data analysis are easily determined and quickly discoverable. We want to find carefully derived measurements of what’s happening on your website, such as real-life observations of how visitors navigate and interact with your website. In this example, the data we’d be looking carefully at is clicks and visitor movements.

How Do You Find Quantitative Data To Inform Your Website Design?

Quantitative data is recorded as a numerical value using objective data normally acquired through software such as Google Analytics or SEO tools such as SE Ranking.

Analytics tools are fundamental to data-driven design. Google Analytics enables us to collect first-party data on most-viewed pages, the routes people have taken to make a purchase, how long they engage on a webpage – the list is endless, here are a few:

Daily Unique Visits To Your Site

How many people are actually clicking onto your website? We need to start viewing these as potential customers.

Bounce rate

A really important statistic when optimising a website. Google defines it as ‘the percentage of all sessions on your site in which users viewed only a single page’. We need to see if a large number of visitors are leaving your site after only visiting one page. We want to see a low bounce rate, which implies visitors are spending a considerable amount of time on your website.

Page Views

Which of your webpages are getting the most views? Are there any that are rarely being visited? Consider getting rid of these from your site structure and move the content to a better performing page.

Retention Rate

The percentage of customers who return to your website or app, compared to the percentage of customers who bounce.

Behaviour Flow

Google Analytics gives graphic representations of the routes your visitors are taking through your website. These are fascinating for user flow and navigation.

Mobile Devices

Have a look at the ‘devices’ section of your ‘Audience’ tab and assess how many of your website visitors are coming from a mobile device. If it’s low, you need to optimise your website for mobiles, pronto.

Time On Site

How long are people spending on each page? If it’s not long, consider how you can get people to stay. This could be by inserting videos or infographics into the design.

Click-Through Rates (CTR)

At critical junctures of your website, such as key product pages and the checkout.

Internal Search Queries

Does your internal site search data show users searching for products, SKUs, sizes, services, or technical information on your website that they can’t find? This implies bad navigation that can be fixed by a few simple design tweaks.

Landing Pages

Looking at your landing pages and the traffic and conversion rates associated with them is very important in the site architecture phase. Think users don’t care if you remove or consolidate some pages? Check how many visits those pages bring in before deciding to cut them.


Methods Of Research For Gathering Qualitative Website Data

Qualitative data is non-numerical information that describes a specific topic rather than precisely measuring it.

  • Usability tests – testing and watching someone using your website to see how easy it is for a customer to interact on it. It often helps to record them so you can watch the sessions back afterwards and analyse them.
  • Clickmaps and eye-tracking heatmaps – tracking user interactions helps with understanding user behaviour. Heat mapping analytics software understands user behaviour on websites, including where people are clicking and scrolling.
  • User surveys – close-ended questions to achieve quantitative data or open-ended questions for asking opinions on the design. This can also be done in focus groups.
  • AB-testing or ‘split testing’ – test different pages with different designs. You show half your visitors the red version and half your visitors the green version – This is where half of the traffic to a website is diverted to another version of the site that is exactly the same except for the new feature that is being tested.
  • UX testing platform or service

What Do You Do With The Results Of Website Data Analysis?

How does this data relate to your user’s needs? Consider improving your call to actions, based on what your users are doing on your site (and where you want them to go next). If, by using Google Analytics, you know that no one is clicking on your ‘shop here’ button, it needs looking at. We can also adapt the design process, based on your individual business goals and priorities.

The data from this research enables us to make informed decisions on how to correct the website flow, navigation or get better results from the traffic that comes into the website.

It’s important not to just focus on data-driven design – remember your creativity and intuition.
A skilled website designer will combine this data with creativity and experience and use it alongside your branding.

It’s important to know what to do with this carefully measured data. A good website designer will analyse the data and use the results to direct the design. Ultimately, it will provide a good user experience as well as encourage users to take action.

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