Would you build a house without a blueprint? You could try, but your new home would probably end up being a complete mess (not to mention an absolute nightmare to build!)
The same goes for building a new website – if you want things done right the first time, you need a solid blueprint in place. When designing a website, the equivalent of a blueprint is called a design brief. It may be technical and time-consuming but, when done well, it’s worth the effort.
What is a website design brief?
A website design brief is a diligently-written project management document. It adds clarity and refinement to the creative ideas and concepts being discussed between your company and our web designers. Ultimately, it enables us to bring your vision into reality.
The design brief should be laid out to assess any restraints or issues you or we may encounter, and then we can identify ways to resolve such issues. In essence, your design brief offers direction and guidance throughout the web design process.
Why is a website design brief important?
A website design brief is important because it enables us, as your web designers, to develop an engaging, inviting, customer-friendly website that fits your needs perfectly.
The design brief encompasses vital and valuable information such as an overview and scope of the project, timelines, goals and objectives, competitor analysis, and budgetary means.
Having this plan in place gives everyone on the project clarity, as the full scope of work can be confirmed before the process commences. In short, an excellent design brief is imperative to doing great work – and it saves time and energy in the long run.
A website design brief is useful for you as the client, as it allows you to identify any obstacles early, find solutions, manage your expectations around scope and budget, as well as fine-tune and streamline your vision of your brand new website. Additionally, you’ll feel involved and enjoy the website redesign process – with your goals and vision heard, understood, and executed.
The design brief is useful to a web designer for many different reasons: it allows for the designer to better manage client expectations, it provides the designer with the knowledge and insight to truly understand the client’s wishes, it offers a hugely detailed vision of what the client imagines, it can keep the project on track and on budget, it helps to keep the client and designer goals aligned, and provides the designer with various design and development specifications.
What do I need to include in a website design brief?
Background information on your company
Tell us about yourself!
We want to know all about you! To design and build your ideal website, we really need to know and understand your company. This includes the most basic information: Who are you? Where are you? What exactly is your product or service? As well as your big ambitions for the future.
Tell us what drives you, your history, the size of your team, your mission and values, why clients choose you. Do you have any plans to expand? Do you have a website project manager for us to work with? Who on your team should be our point of contact? What is the best way for us to reach you?
Essentially, we’d like you to define your identity for us:
- Who are you?
- What are your unique selling points (USPs)?
- Who are you becoming?
- Who do you dream of becoming?
There are two important documents we require from you:
- A list of the pages you want us to create.
- A description of what you want on each page.
The objectives and goals of your project
So, now the fun begins and we can move on to the planning phase. We set our major goals and objectives. On a smaller scale than objectives, we have milestones that we can tick off as we go.
Have a look through your website and decide which elements you like and wish to keep, and which may be outdated or less relevant. What would you like the goal of your new website to be? Promotion, an increase in consumer engagement and conversions? Perhaps you wish to increase your SEO ranking, build brand awareness or make your website more user friendly? Determining the goals and objectives of your design project helps with direction and focus.
Talk to us – we’d love you to specify exactly what you would like done. It could be a new logo or a landing page, an EPOS integration or a new booking system. Whether or not the goals are met will lead directly to the success of the project. So, the more specific you are, the better the outcome!
Once we have a good grasp of your vision, you can relax and trust us to take it from here! Having objectives allows everyone to stay on the same page and manage expectations
The budget and deadline of your project
Now to the tricky bits. We are all aware that budget is an integral aspect of any project. As website designers, we need to know what kind of work we will do before we are able to issue any quotes. Therefore, both parties must be in agreement on a budget from the start. This is why the early, clear consultative stages of the process are so crucial.
We are open, honest and flexible but sometimes it can happen that a client’s budget will not deliver the results they expect. However, we will be as collaborative as possible. Please let us know if you have a specific time frame in mind. Once we have all the information we can issue a quote and estimated date of completion.
Who your target audience is
Do you keep track of your audience on Google Analytics or your audience segmentation? If you have any specific demographic data, we would love to see it! It helps us understand who uses your website and why, what they do on it, and what their behaviours are. This information can influence everything from a cart design to imagery choice.
Think about the feeling of your website. What feeling do you want it to evoke for visitors? What emotions would you like them to have while browsing your website?
Please tell us about your audience and your ideal client. This is called ‘building a persona’ and it aids enormously in targeting your audience through your online presence. Who are they? What do they do? What do they need? And ultimately, what action would you like them to take on your website?
Who your competitors are and what you know about them
Always do your research on your competitors! Allow yourself to be inspired by them. Ask yourself what you think they are doing right and what you think they are doing wrong.
Tell us your unique selling points (USPs) and how you differentiate your company from your competitors. When you can answer these questions, it is easier to capitalise on your differentiating factors and stand out from the competition.
Examples of websites you like (and don’t like)
We’re certain you’ve been on eye-catching websites you’ve admired. Perhaps you’ve seen features you would like to incorporate into your own website or an eye-catching layout. Show us! Tell us all about it! The more detail you give the better.
What assets do you have and what do you need help with?
Content creation can be overwhelming! If you have existing creative assets such as brand colours or general brand guidelines, let’s use them. Maybe you have existing content you can use, or content that needs to be freshened up. Maybe you have no photographs, videos or text. That’s okay too – we are here to make your life much easier in this arena. It’s important not to leave this step until the eleventh hour. So, if you need help, we are here and delighted to assist you! We just need to know details such as: what pages you’d like us to do the content writing for, if you need us to provide graphics or pictures, or if you need us to provide a photographer or videographer.
This is an area that could seem almost insignificant to you but is in fact incredibly important. Make sure to detail the specific technical requirements your website will need.
How often have you found it useful to look at the location map on a website? Do we need to integrate one of those into your website? If you want to increase the conversion rate on your eCommerce site, you’ll want to send automated abandoned cart recovery emails. Will you be maintaining databases or will your clients need to access login portals? Remember when we were talking about knowing your demographic? Where are your customers from? Will the website need to be multilingual or be accessible to a variety of currencies? Do you need a contact form? If so, what details will we include in it? How about a calendar for making bookings? The options are endless!
Your website should complement your brand and product or service. It does not replace either and is not a stand-alone entity.
What are your marketing needs? Are you aware of all your options?
We want to make sure your digital marketing strategy is the best it can be! An attractive, innovative and engaging website is fantastic – and it’s a must! – but without an effective marketing strategy, you are not reaching your potential just yet.
We are here to help you! Our campaigns result in growth. Talk to us more about what we can do for you. Just some of our services include: pay-per-click marketing (PPC), search engine optimisation (SEO), A/B testing, video production, content marketing, inbound lead generation and email marketing.
Support and maintenance needs
Do you need ongoing help or do you have an in-house person/team to manage going forward?
If the prospect of website maintenance makes you shiver, you need not worry. It can be inconvenient having to keep a website in good condition. This is especially so if IT is not your preferred area.
With us, you do not have to worry – you can simply go about running your business and leave it to us. We offer excellent and innovative care plans to assist you. We are more than happy to offer 24/7 monitoring, content updates, SEO reports, run updates, and fix any small problems that may arise with your website during day-to-day operations. These are just a few of the benefits of our care plans. As you can see – your site will be safe in our hands.