Taking an iterative approach to website development.

6 Minutes

An abstract image of colourful light circles

As the world of website development changes and evolves, the linear approach is giving way to a more dynamic and responsive method: iteration. Picture it as a digital dance, where each step informs the next, creating a seamless rhythm of progress. Come along as we talk about the intricacies of taking an iterative approach to website development, understanding its nuances, and exploring when it’s the right move for your company and website and when it’s not.

What is an iterative approach?

Iterative development involves incremental and repetitive changes to a website, allowing for continuous refinement and improvement. Unlike the conventional linear approach, where each stage is completed before moving to the next, iterations permit constant adjustments, improvements, and refinements throughout the development lifecycle.

The traditional waterfall method often involves a step-by-step progression through planning, design, development, testing, and deployment. In contrast, the iterative approach cycles through these stages repeatedly, making enhancements and adjustments at each iteration.

When does it make sense to take an iterative approach?

An iterative approach is particularly beneficial when requirements are unclear or likely to change, or when the project scope is extensive. It is a dynamic strategy that accommodates evolving priorities, ensuring that the end product aligns more closely with the client’s vision.

Creating an MVP.

In the iterative world, the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a key concept. It involves developing a basic version of the website with essential features, allowing for quicker deployment and early user feedback. This feedback loop aids in shaping subsequent iterations, leading to a more refined and user-friendly final product.

It’s all in the timing.

One of the advantages of an iterative approach is the ability to deliver a functional product sooner. Timelines are broken down into manageable cycles, each producing a version of the website. This phased delivery ensures that stakeholders can start benefiting from the website’s features earlier in the process.

Run with what you brung or start over?

Choosing whether to build on an existing site or start from scratch depends on various factors. Iteratively enhancing an existing site may be more cost-effective and less disruptive, but starting afresh provides the opportunity for a complete redesign and restructuring to meet updated requirements.

Why choose iterative?

There are a few reasons to choose the iterative approach when it comes to building websites.

Flexibility and adaptability

Easily adapt to changing requirements and priorities.

Quicker time-to-market

Incremental releases enable stakeholders to benefit from the product sooner.

Early user feedback

Regular iterations allow for continuous user testing and feedback, leading to a more user-friendly end product.


Identifying and rectifying issues early in the process minimizes the cost of rework.

If you’re taking an iterative approach, you can create page templates that can be used to quickly build out the rest of the site – either by your team or your agency’s.

Learn more about our go-to page builder.

Well, on the other hand.

Depending on the project, there are some downsides to taking an iterative approach, or at least some things to think about when you’re planning out your website build.

Potential scope creep

Continuous adjustments may lead to scope creep if not managed carefully.

Resource management

Requires a dedicated and skilled team capable of managing ongoing changes.

Communication challenges

Effective communication is crucial to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned with the iterative process.

Walking the talk.

At Twirling Umbrellas, we have experience with both full builds and iterative approaches for our clients. There are pros and cons to doing either one and it also depends on other factors such as budget and resources available for the project.

Here are some of the iterative designs that we’ve done lately.

Acera Insurance

Screencap of homepage of the Acera Insurance website

Acera Insurance is the amalgamation of 15 different insurance companies across Canada. They came to us to figure out how to create one site from many.

After conversations about their priorities and available resources, an iterative approach made sense for Acera. It was a good way to establish their new online presence, provided a central place for their support pages for users to make claims and payments, and allowed them to drive leads to their 60+ locations from a single source. 

Our approach started with the creation of an MVP that included the homepages for each channel: personal, business, and benefits, as well as a way to contact each office. The next steps will be to build out the rest of the site and its different types of available insurance bit by bit until the whole site is up and running.

Twirling Umbrellas

Screencap of homepage of the Twirling Umbrellas website

Our own website reflects our commitment to have a website that is constantly evolving to reflect not only modern trends but the quality of our team’s work. When we realized that our previous site was becoming outdated, we took a page from our conversations with our clients and decided an iterative approach was just what the TU site needed. 

We’ve since launched the site as a WIP that is constantly evolving and being updated instead of waiting for it to be completely done and perfect and ready (because we all know how that works out, right?). We know that there’s always something to be worked on and room for improvement so make sure you check back to see what’s changed and been updated as time goes on.

The Shore

Screencap of homepage of The Shore website

While The Shore’s main site may be fully up and running, we’re always working to make it better by updating and adding new content and upgrading the current site all the time.

New blog posts are always being added to the Shore’s Journal, which showcases local culture and hot spots, while also driving traffic through SEO and SEM best practices.

Don’t get irate, iterate.

While it may not be the approach for every brand, company, or site, an iterative approach to website development can offer a less stressful and more dynamic and adaptive methodology that aligns well with the fast-paced digital landscape.

If you decide it’s right for you and choose to embrace this model, you can help your site stay current and responsive to your users’ needs, which will help your online presence in both the short and long term. On the other hand, if you want to do a full site overhaul, our team can help you map out just what needs to be done to make that happen.

Let’s talk about it.

If you’re not sure whether your website needs a quick punch-up or a full overhaul, we’re here to help.