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Web Design Brief: Setting Your Strategy

Nowadays, if you don’t exist online, you don’t exist at all. Therefore, any business should have an online identity and the best way to achieve that is to make sure you need a strong presence on a website that truly reflects your vision and values.

More often than not, web designers find themselves a bit frustrated because they have little or no information to work with in order to design an appealing website. The designer is given murky descriptions and little detail to go on, and after spending hours building a site that reflects the web designer’s own style and the client not appreciating or acknowledging the hard work made on the project, the lack of communication can translate to stress on the side of the developer. It’s never a good situation to spend hours doing work only to find out that your customer hates it.

Sure, this can be a real problem. Therefore, a key step that both designers and business owners have to go through in order to deliver/get a professional website is an efficient web design brief that covers all your business aspects and allows any designer to draw up clear project specifications.

The essentials of any design brief are:

  • A profile of the business – even if you’re just beginning with your online business, the designer has to know what he has to work with. A brief history of the company, main competition, unique selling points are just some of the major things to include in this section. Who are you? Why are you here? Why should my customer check out my web page above all the competition? Call this a business brief, if you will. You may be sending it to investors. Put it on your website also so that your customers know why you’re better than the competition and so that the customers know the story behind your business.
  • Services/products – this section is pretty self explanatory should cover detailed information on what you do and sell. Go into detail, answering any type of question that has arisen over the phone.
  • Content – build a clear list of what you expect to publish on the website: company history, products/services, news/blog, testimonials and/or client list, portfolio, contact page, forms and so on. Try to be as detailed as possible and convey to your designer details on how often you want to update your content. For example, if you plan to make regular updates to multiple pages on the site, you might need a content management system or some sort of administrative backend.
  • Key audiences – describe your target market, including demographic data and further specific patterns for your online readers. This may be used for design consideration.

  • Objectives – clearly state the main reason/s for having this website. Is it means to raise awareness for one of your services/products? Is it a public service community? Do you simply plan to sell something? Write everything in detail in the design brief.
  • Design preferences – web developers millions of colors at their disposal. They also have thousands of fonts (we might be talking millions too!). Color scheme, graphics, stock photography, font, layout, and other preferences should be communicated beforehand. Should this be a website with a detailed navigation? Should they just be simple standalone links? Getting an idea of what they’re looking for will help your designer craft wireframes (a basic site design) that will convey to you what they’ve envisioned based on the specifications you’ve provided, and this will help eliminate back and forth communication that could delay the website launch.
  • Possible constraints – this should basically define deadlines and budgets, in order to limit time waste and generally scale the project
  • Contact details – this section provides the name, phone, email address of someone who is authorized to make decisions during the entire design process.

Kick start your business or your next design project with a brief that saves time and makes everybody involved have clear expectations of the final deliverables. And be in communication regularly. Getting regular feedback from the developer (and even the client) is a surefire way to help contribute to a killer website launch that will blow everyone’s socks off.

1 comment

  1. Bryan Jul 25, 2010

    Having online presence is a necessity, if you aren’t then you’re missing a lot! I also have a business and I made a website for it and I got customers saying that they saw it online which really helped.

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