We need to start treating our digital ecosystems like any ecosystem—as a living breathing thing. The old approach to the web was to redesign your website every few years (but let’s be honest it’s usually 5+ years). The problem is this creates huge barriers when trying to launch. There is so much change that it becomes a big mountain to move.
Additionally, you lose out on the constant learning you would get if you treated your digital ecosystem like a software product, where you ship new features and fix bugs that aren’t working on a more regular cadence. You can’t adjust and test assumptions about marketing ideas or best practices in the old model. In the new approach a digital ecosystem can hook into the overall sales strategy in addition to being nimble enough to adapt to marketing trends. This will ensure that our visual design is seen as a part of a growth engine rather than a cost or burden.
“According to Business 2Community, the average lifespan for a website is 1.5 to 2.5 years. Because design trends change and technology advances, this is the average amount of time that a redesign will feel "fresh" and competitive.”
A shift has to happen where we begin to look at our digital ecosystem and be ok with constant change and improvements. Similar to continual improvement in manufacturing our digital ecosystem should constantly be looked at. Our digital environment should constantly be adapting. Buttons, text size, user interfaces should improve on a cycle that’s more appropriate to user’s expectations.
As a brand we have to implement processes that will allow for this constant change. A single source of truth in a flexible system can do some of the work. We’ll also need teams to accept that buttons may look different from the last design they created.
What holds our visual brand together isn’t the buttons, but the foundation design elements like colors, typography, and voice/tone. The next visual layer above that should be easier to change and adapt. We can’t be competitive if our digital ecosystem is only looked at ever2 years.