The Role of Data in Digital Design with WPEngine’s David Vogelpohl

What is the role of data within a digital agency? Should you collect data if you’re redesigning a website? We discuss these issues on Intended Consequences.

When we redesign our website, we are given a rare opportunity to change the bones we build it on.

Imagine that your website is a doll. You start with a generic, human-shaped form and begin to turn it into something. You choose the clothes, the hats, the shoes, the shades for it. Some you buy. Some you make yourself.

Your website is similar. You rent server space from a host and drop a content management system on it. This is a generic website-shaped form that you can begin dressing. Lest you think you can do anything with this digital doll you’ve purchased, be careful.

You can’t put Barbie clothes on an American Girl doll. You can’t put GI Joe clothes on your Star Wars action figures. Likewise, the host you choose forms the bones of your site, and limits what you can make of it.

And this is why we often find ourselves frustrated that our Mr. Potatohead host can’t deliver a chic Bratz website.

If you want your website to fit into WordPress clothes, my guest today has the host for you. WPEngine is a host dedicated to WordPress websites. David Vogelpohl is responsible for marketing these hosted services.

David Vogelpohl WPEngine Intended Consequences Podcast Featured Image

David Vogelpohl WPEngine Intended Consequences Podcast Featured Image

David is the VP of Web Strategy at WPEngine. This conversation builds off the conversation Joel and I had on the last episode about website redesigns.

I’ve known him for a long time. I knew him in a previous life when he founded and built a design agency here in Austin. I’ve spoken at the meetup he founded called AUSome. So it’s rather ingracious for David to come on my podcast and counter what we preach here about Website redesigns.

David says that data doesn’t really matter for him and his team when it comes to website redesigns. He says no matter what, an agency has to use data to show customers the results – and as an agency, you have to live with the good – and the bad. Listen in as he explains…

Data-driven Design Tip

We don’t always get to research our campaign and website designs. That’s just the way it is. But every launch is an experiment.

When you get back to the office, think back to some of the campaigns or web pages you launched. Take the time to drill in on how that effort performed. Not just the results graphs you presented to the team. Ask yourself what you can learn from it.

Did your emails have different open rates? The ones with higher open rates may have had more relevant subject lines.

That service description page you launched… is it a factor in getting more demo requests from your visitors? Analytics can tell you.

The change you made to your home page, did it reduce the scroll rate? Your heatmapping software can tell you.

If you don’t know the answers to any of the questions you have, you get to figure out how to collect that data next time, on the campaign or page design you’re doing right now.

You’ll gain some insights. But more importantly, you’ll learn how to learn from everything you do.

Then get back to work, scientists.

Resources and links discussed

Brian Massey
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