‘If you think math is hard, then try web design’ - this is how design mavens like joking with the uninitiated, and there is a grain of truth in every joke. In this case – we can say, there is more than one such ‘grain’.
For many SaaS businesses (as well as others), web design is perhaps one of the toughest items on the development and marketing agenda, and this is for good reason. Website design is the virtual ‘business card’ of your company, the first and most memorable encounter with your products or services, the most influential impression that your potential customers get from your company to later make (or not to) a buying decision. That’s why it’s crucial to put sufficient efforts and resources in making it representative: the first impression is often the last one, too. As Ralf Speth, CEO at Jaguar put it: “If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”
However, unfortunately, designing a website takes more than one-time effort. Some design experts claim that to stay afloat in the fast-paced tech world, you should have your website re-designed once in every two years or so for. A time-consuming and costly process, indeed. (Actually, the very word of ‘redesign’ strikes as a nightmare for both designers and company execs).
GDD vs Traditional Design
If you are unfamiliar, you are probably asking yourself “What is GDD?” The term GDD was first coined and introduced by a group of web designers back in 2014. While working on a product, this group discovered that many old-fashioned design concepts are broken and flawed and, for better results, a new approach was needed. In an effort to deliver a design project in less time, they decided to abandon traditional design approaches and principles, introducing a set of new practices instead.
The main difference between the two approaches is in the timeline of delivering the final product – the ready-made website. In the case of the traditional approach, you brainstorm the design concepts based on your marketing goals, then hire (or contract with) a high-quality designer to tackle it. After the website testing and troubleshooting, it is launched with subsequent re-designs once every 1.5-2 years. During brainstorming, you hypothesize about your potential customers, their preferences and it’s always open to the possibility that your website hits the target or is miles away from it. This is a typical scenario for most SaaS companies, and other organizations that sell services or products.