You’d be surprised by the amount of planning and consideration that goes into creating a website – typically, the more you can tell us about your vision from the start, the better, quicker (and more cost-effective) the completed website will be!
So, you’ve decided you want a new website, awesome!
Step 1, (or arguably Step 0 if it exists) is to record a great website brief to outline what you think you need. We’d love to hear about what good looks like, and your goals for the new website!
A website brief doesn’t just provide clarity and a basic roadmap for our web designers, but it also makes your project real. You’ll benefit from reading back your own ideas; which I can tell you from experience, is a great way to ensure your plan checks out!
Start with some snooping – get an idea for what similar businesses in your sector are up to online. What cool features do their sites have? How is their website structured? What are the best parts? What kinda’ sucks?
It’s always a good idea to consider several web designers. Check our their own websites, chat to them, look at their recent work. Are they a good fit? Can you see a good working relationship on the horizon? Got questions? Great! The right web design company for you will have all the answers.
If you’re able to, ask for feedback from your team (and if possible) users about your current website (if it exists). What better way to hear about what people want in the new website.
The Web Design Brief
Quality over quantity! Provided that the core elements of your project are covered, it’s OK not to have all the answers yet – the right web design partner will help you make those tougher calls, offering clarity and expertise on technical and design specs. Why not keep an open mind? In our experience the preliminary spec has been known to wiggle around once the process is underway – the right web designer may shine a light on some pretty exciting ideas and possibilities!
Here’s our rough guide to what a website brief might look like:
- Introduction:Your website designer probably doesn’t know much about you, but I’m sure they’d love to learn! Introduce your organisation briefly and explain a little about what you do, the target audience, ethos and all that good stuff.
- Budget and timescale:It can seem like a good idea to see what web designers come up with in terms of time and money for your website design, but it saves a whole lot of time on both ends if you can give a rough indication regarding what you’d like to spend. Web design is a bit like any kind of design – it can be done in a host of different ways, to different specs, with different levels of finesse and detail. A good web designer will want to achieve your goals at a price that’s affordable to you. By talking frankly about this, you will know for sure whether the designers can find a way of meeting your budget and lead time requirements.
- Decision-making duties:Outline the key decision maker that an agency should be liaising with. Their name, email and phone number would be great!
- Selection: Consider how you might select your web design partner – for example by inviting agencies to give short presentations or respond to a list of questions, why not include these details in your brief along with any relevant dates/deadlines!
- Your existing website:Include details about your existing website – a like / dislike list is very helpful to folks like us! If you can remember, tell your web designer what the goals of the existing website were and why specifically you’d like to change it up.
- New website summary:Provide a rough overview of your vision for the new web system, including the goals and objectives, any changes in branding or company direction. Let us know what your team and users would like to see if you asked them earlier!
- Design spec:Let your designer know how you’d like this new website to look. Do you like a specific set of colours? Are there pre-existing branding guidelines that must be adhered to? How about images for the website – do you have a collection of originals, need help arranging a photo shoot, or would you like help from the web designer to source stock images?
- Examples of websites: Provide a few examples of websites to help your web designer imagine what you’re shooting for. Websites that you dislike are equally as helpful!
- Site structure: Provide a list or a diagram, we love those! It helps in identifying what content goes where, and in which order you think is going to work best. Think about what will be your main nav-bar menu pages. What are your feelings surrounding the use of submenus?
- Functions and features: Write a list of the functionality that should be present on the website. Do you want a video gallery, checkout system, member’s login areas, newsletter subscription?
- Ongoing support & maintenance: Now your website is built and doing its thing on the web, will you take an active role in day-to-day maintenance? Consider whether this can be reasonably done by you or your team or if you’ll need a little extra routine support from your web designer.
Send that beautiful brief to Web Design Companies!
A great website brief might raise a couple of questions from the web designers. This is a great indication that they want to understand exactly what you’re looking for! The right web design company for you should make suggestions and recommendations along the way, and may even know of a better or more cost-effective way of achieving your goals!
Best of luck with your web design brief! Why not throw it in our direction once it’s ready to go?