The Ultimate Website Design Brief

Posted by Carol on 10/04/14 10:19 AM

Looking to get a new website designed?

Here are some simple tips will help you get the best outcome for your new website.

Since you are here, you probably already understand the importance of writing a great brief.

Having a brief will save your bacon if you and your web designer come to blows (yes it can and does happen).

It will also help ensure you avoid fixing expensive mistakes - many of which are overlooked.

Before you write the brief, here's an important thing you ought to know.

There is a difference between website design and website development.   A web designer makes the website look good. A web developer codes the website so it functions. These are two completely different skill sets and can sometimes be at odds with each other.

Then of course there is the web marketer - this is the person who understands what functionality you need to market your website effectively. Don't expect that your web designer or developer will know this.

So your brief should not only give guidance on how you want your website to look, it should also give guidance on how you want it to perform and also how you want to market it.

From a design perspective, here are some important points to cover off:

  • What is the purpose of your website? Is it to collect leads, generate phone calls, sell product or will it act more like a brochure. Design should follow function.
  • Who is the website targeting - Men? Women?  Is it gender neutral? What demographics is your target audience?
  • What do you want your website to communicate?
  • How would describe how you want it to look? e.g. Strong,  stylish, practical etc.
  • What other websites do you like or don't like? Why or why not?  What parts do you like or dislike?
  • Do you have a logo,  brand style guide.  What are your brand colours? What things are sacred and should never be changed?
  • If you want a redesign, are you looking for a total revamp (revolutionary) or are you looking for more of a subtle change (evolutionary).
  • Do you want to include social media buttons on your website? If so, what social media should be included?

From a functionality point of view, you need to consider the following points:

  • Minimum font size - this is pretty important if you are targeting an older demographic who typically has poor eyesight.
  • Website speed - set some expectations on this. It's amazing how this simple omission can become a problem after your website is live.
  • Browser compatibility - what browsers it should be compatible with? As a guide, you can check your Google analytics for the most popular ones.
  • Website accessibility - do any of your readers have special needs?
  • Mobile devices - what devices it should be compatible with. With mobile searches on the rise, we suggest this should be a mandatory.
  • Search engine friendliness - some websites have automated page titles and descriptions. This can be a blessing or a curse. We believe you should have ability to add meta page titles, descriptions & micro data to help search engines find your website. The number of websites we see that do not have this functionality is quite astounding.
  • Are you planning on updating the website yourself or are you happy to have the web designer make the changes for you? How much will they charge for updates?
  • How are you planning on marketing your website? Are there any special features required to assist in marketing it?
  • How are you planning on measuring your website performance? Do you need the ability to track events like user registrations, sales, contact form submissions, video plays on your website? If so, the website may need to be coded appropriately so it can handle this.

There are also some special considerations for e-commerce websites. These include:

  • How are you planning on marketing the website - we believe ensuring an e-commerce website has shopping  functionality essential. It will save you time if using Google shopping and comparison shopping sites to market your website
  • Compatibility with Google analytics e-commerce tracking - having this in place will help you measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
  • The ability to integrate your Point of Sale (POS) system so you can keep track of stock levels and have accurate sales data

So there you have it, there are a lot of things to consider before you build a website.

Taking the time up front to have a think about what your requirements are, will save you time, money and heartache.

Feel free to use these tips to craft your own website brief. You can also contact us if you want help writing your brief.

 

Topics: Website Design

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