If you are about to embark on a new website design or thinking of redesigning your existing one, the chances are it will be a major investment for your business. So, it is important to get it right. Taking the time to write a proper web design brief will save you both time and money in the long run. It also gives you a project specification that you can pull your web designer up on, if they don’t deliver what was promised or get off track.
Bravr have put together a guide to writing a website design brief to enable you to get a better outcome from your web designer and start as you mean to go on.
Most website designers will offer an initial consultation meeting if they hope to win your business. This is your chance to pick their brains over what you are hoping to achieve. They should be able to tell you if your ideas will work or not, and give you additional advice that you may not have thought of such as making sure the site works on mobile devices with responsive web design. It helps to go to this meeting with some basic information about your project so the web designer can begin to get a good idea of how they will design the site. If you have a current website provide information about what worked or didn’t work, and if you have it, bring along your current web analytics data. This will help the designer work out why your website is no longer performing as you wish, or what to improve upon.
Structure your brief
Once you have talked through with your website designer what you want, you can use the information gained to help you write and formalise your brief. A standardised brief will also ensure you receive like for like proposals, when approaching a number of companies for quotes.
Consider the following:
- Objectives: What do you want to achieve from your website? This could be increased sales or brand awareness, or improving customer service.
- Your Company: List your main products and service areas as well as a background to your company, including your company ethos and unique selling point.
- Your Competitors: Who are they? Which ones have better websites than others? Which elements of their websites do you like?
- Your Customers: Who are your target audience (adults, children, male, female, social class, income etc) and where can they be found (location)? Consider how they will use the site i.e. from their smartphones, tablets or desktop computers.
- Look and Feel: What is your existing company branding? Provide the designer with brand guidelines if you have them, or at least the colours and font used in your logo as well as any design files you have.
- Page Content: How will your page content be structured? Who will write it? Do you need copywriting help?
- Imagery: Do you have enough images in house or will you need a photoshoot / additional stock photos?
- Technical Requirements: Do you already have a domain or do you need hosting? If an Ecommerce website design who do you bank with (to help decide on payment gateway)? Will you need to cater for special needs / disabilities e.g. colour blind, deaf, elderly, learning difficulties etc?
- Ongoing Maintenance: Will you require the site to be maintained, or be able to make updates yourself? If a database site this will need security patches applied regularly, and if you want to update the site content you will need to consider a WordPress web design or similar as an easy to use Content Management System.
- Online Marketing: How will your site be promoted once live to help gain traffic? Do you need additional search engine optimisation, email marketing and social media marketing services or an online marketing plan?
Budget and Timescales
Specify your budget for the project, this allows the web designer to tailor their package and the technology required to build it accordingly. Tell them the budget you have for the initial build of the website, plus if you have the budget for ongoing support / maintenance as well as online marketing. As the project progresses keep an eye on the budget and bear in mind that if you make additional changes to the specification agreed, it may incur additional costs.
Timescales are very important also and they need to be realistic. There is no use trying to rush your designer as most are usually busy with multiple projects, so book your project in with them well in advance and monitor progress.