Are you about to engage a web design agency to build your website? Oftentimes, business owners struggle to articulate what they would like their website to look like in terms of design, functionality and user experience. It becomes even more challenging for business owners who do not have the technical skills to describe what they are looking for.
Before you get started on your website, you need to write a website design brief. Your brief will help you and your web designer create a site that meets your business goals. To do this, though, you need to know what information should be included in your brief.
In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to write a concise website design brief and the information you should include in one to ensure your web designer has a clear understanding of what you are looking for.
What is a Website Design Brief?
A website design brief is a document that details the requirements, goals and objectives of your website. Spending some time to create one is beneficial to help you select the right web design agency to build your website to ensure that the design meets your expectations. A web design brief helps you:
- Identify the main objectives and goals of your website.
- Understand what content you want to include on your site.
- Write down any ideas and inspiration that you have for your site.
- Plan for your website with your customer in mind
- Establish a standardized basis to evaluate different web design agencies for your project.
Let’s dive into the 7-step guide for preparing a website brief for your web design project.
1. What is the Purpose of the Website?
The purpose of a website is to accomplish one of the following:
- Sell a product or service.
- Increase brand awareness.
- Provide information.
- Help people find jobs, housing or other services.
It is important to clearly define the purpose of the website as a start to defining the design approach and the functionalities the website should have.
2. Who is your Audience and how will they find you?
The next step after defining the purpose of the website is to determine whom you’re trying to reach. Who is your target audience? What are their demographics? What are their interests? What do they like to read and watch? Where do they spend their time online, and how can you best get them on board with what you have to offer? Answering these questions will help define a customer persona which is crucial to designing a website that they can relate to.
Every website is a marketing tool. A key consideration in preparing a brief for your website is planning for your future audience or how customers will find your website. Most users start their search on search engines. For this reason, It’s important that your design brief include recommendations for optimising your website for search engine rankings, particularly Google.
The website should be handed over with basic on-page optimization done to ensure they are primed for ranking on search engines. Some of the basic on-page SEO that a website requires include; adding title meat and meta descriptions, adding sitemaps, optimising images used on the website, mobile optimization, etc. So, your brief should include these points as part of the scope.
This will give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t, as well as give you some inspiration for your own site design. Including brand guidelines, if you have one, is crucial here to give the designer the scope limits to design to ensure that they stay consistent with your brand.
3. Are there any Examples you like?
You should take a look at other websites that offer similar services to yours and also look for ones that are completely different
If possible, it’s best if these examples fit with the kind of audience demographic that your company is targeting; this will help ensure that the web design brief meets their needs while also providing an accurate representation of whom they are going after as potential customers or users.
4. How long do you think the site will take to build?
In order to ensure that the design process fits in with your business objectives, it is essential to define the timelines for the build. As some of the inputs are dependent on you as the owner, the answer to this question will depend on how much content you have and the complexity of your site.
Building a website can take anywhere from a few days to several months. A site with no design or coding requirements (just HTML) could be built in just a few hours by someone who knows what they’re doing. On the other hand, if you have lots of custom features or third-party integrations, it could take weeks or months for it all to come together.
Understanding these factors and the time required to prepare inputs for your designer will help you come up with a realistic estimate of how long the project will take. You can speak to different web designers at the preliminary stage to get more information on time estimates for the type of project you want to build if you lack the technical know-how to do this yourself. Once you have an estimate that is representative enough, you can include this as part of your web design brief.
5. What are your Competitors doing Online?
A website design brief can be an invaluable tool for helping you and your new website designer get on the same page about what you want your site to do for your business. To create a successful website design brief, however, you need to know what questions and information are important—and which ones aren’t.
It’s best if you have some idea of what other websites out there are doing before meeting with a designer. This allows them to see how their ideas fit in with current trends in web design — or how their ideas could be improved upon. A good website design brief will help you and your web designer build a website that gives you an advantage over your competitors.
6. What are the Design Requirements and Specs for your Website?
Defining, all the relevant technical requirements and specifications for your website can save you several rounds of revisions in the future. If your designer has a very well-detailed brief, the likelihood of mistakes and re-work is significantly reduced.
In defining the features and specifications, think through the user journey. What features provide the most optimal experience for your website visitors? Some of these features will vary for different types of websites. For example, a brief created for an online store will include a list of product categories and variations, payment methods, discount codes, shipping costs, etc. while a corporate website would have more informational pages or login features for customers if the website is linked to an internal database.
7. What is your Budget for the Website?
Other than the fee you pay to your designer to design your website, there are other cost factors to consider for your project. Hosting, maintenance of the website, 3rd party plugins, etc. It is important to consider all of these and come up with a complete budget.
The cost of building a website is a very important addition to the website design brief. A lot of projects are abandoned midway due to cost overruns or unexpected costs that were not budgeted for. The budget influences several aspects of the project, including what kinds of tools will be used to build the site and the overall scope.
For instance, if your budget is on the low end, your site may be a little more basic and rely more heavily on templates. This can mean using a Content Management System like WordPress or Shopify. However, if you can put more money towards it, the web design team can spend time on complex design or high-end service to give your project a unique spin.
A well-written website design brief will save both of you time and money, as it means that you can move forward with confidence knowing that everything is in order. The brief should be thorough enough to ensure that the web design company you select fully understands the scope without leaving out any crucial part for the successful development of your website.
The best way to get started is by writing down what you want from your new website; this includes:
- What is its purpose?
- Why do we need it?
- What problems does it solve? If necessary, create a list of objectives for each section of the site (i.e., sales page, blog post).
- Who is our target audience?
- How do we communicate with them best on their terms?
- How much money do we want to make from this project?
- What resources are available within your budget for design/development costs along with hosting fees, etc?
Based on the answers to these questions, you can put together a clear and concise brief that will help you shortlist, evaluate, and select the best web design agency suited for your project.
We hope that we’ve helped you understand how to create a website design brief. Now it’s time to get started on your own!
Here is a simple template you can use to create a website design brief for your project.