The Pop Website Guide to Marginal Gains & Continuous UX Improvement

Kaizen is a Japanese term meaning “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.”

At Pop, we work on the principle that a successful website really comes from marginal gains & continuous improvement. Improving text, speed, structure, images, forms, graphics, animation, security…the list goes on. The theory of 1% improvement on hundreds of small items on your website can compound huge gains. Sound boring?

Too often, we talk to potential customers who think that massive success requires massive action.

“We want quick wins!”

“Can you double our conversions in the next 3 months?”


The internet is full of these stories, we even have examples ourselves. But these are really just cherry-picking. The truth is increasing conversions and generating more enquiries is hard work. Sure you can have success in a short period of time, but to keep doubling sales or enquiries every 3 months, over and over again?

Meanwhile, while some companies continue to chase utopia, companies who work with us understand the power of marginal gains & continuous UX improvement. Although we have case studies showing where we have made big impacts quickly, we have hundreds of other examples where year-on-year companies grow due to  continuous improvement (CI).

The aggregation of marginal gains.

If you haven’t heard the story before, here’s a fantastic, and famous, example of this theory. Dave Brailsford was hired to improve the fortunes of the GB Cycling team. Brailsford’s approach involved the constant measuring and monitoring of key statistics & targeting specific weaknesses.

He looked at improving everything from the riders’ seats to their pillows and how they slept at night. They tested various fabrics in a wind tunnel and they tested different types of massage gels to see which one led to the fastest muscle recovery. He had a relentless commitment to a strategy that he referred to as “the aggregation of marginal gains.” He could have just worked on fitness or strength, but he looked at making improvements to everything.

Did it work? At the 2004 Olympic Games, Great Britain won two cycling gold medals, their best performance since 1908. It was a resounding success. They then went on to win 8 gold, 2 silver, and 2 bronze at London 2012.

How to target weaknesses, and look for opportunities on your website.

There are 100s, actually 1,000s of ways to keep improving your website. There are two main things to list, but I’ve listed a few below.

  • Keeping bug-free
    Every time something is updated, it can create bugs, issues, problems with loading. Measuring this is important so it can quickly be fixed.
  • Monitoring and improving speed
    You can improve your website’s speed & performance by the infrastructure of the website, Continually monitoring and looking for opportunities to make things faster and work better is essential.
  • Improve your forms
    How you layout your forms, and how you ask people to enter information can always be improved. User testing, screen recording and analytics can help with this.
  • Testing navigation
    Checking how users find the information on your site should be constantly looked at and tested, do users understand where to find information?
  • Write copy that makes sense
    Do people who visit your website understand what your offer is?
  • Remove distractions
    Clear out any information that isn’t needed or isn’t of any use to your visitors

This list could go on and on. You have two challenges here, one is discovering how to make the website better, the other is working out how to prioritise your work. That’s for another time.

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