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WEBSITE DESIGN BRIEF

Websites are a bit like houses...

website planning

If you decided that you wanted to build your own house, you would almost certainly draw up a few plans before you started work. For example, you'd probably start out by deciding where you wanted to build the house and what materials you wanted to use. Then you'd decide what rooms you wanted, what each room was for, how you would access each room, and so on. At the same time, you'd have to think about what furniture and open space you wanted in each room. Things like that.

That's more or less the same approach you need to take when considering getting a website for your business. To ensure we know what our clients want from their website, we ask every client to provide us with a website design brief. A Design Brief is a description of your aims and objectives, a description of what you want the website to do. You don't need to write a book, and the description doesn't always need to be long, but the more information you give us, the better.

As a bare minimum, you need to tell us what you want your website to do, how and why, and also who your target customers are, how the website will be linked to your business and who your main competitors are. Without this information, your website designer won't be able to tell if the website and its page contents are structured correctly.

describing objectives

Writing a website design brief...

It's worth saying that a website design brief can be as long as you like. Any information you provide will be useful because it helps your designer understand what he needs to achieve. Your designer will cut and paste the important things into a reference file which will be used as a guide throughout the design process. Whilst we only need the bare essentials, the more you tell us, the less likely you are to forget something important!

Where to start..

Start out by telling us something about yourself and your business. We're not asking for an autobiography, just enough information to help the designer understand a little about you. Next, tell us what the objectives are for your website, however specific or general they might be. Experience tells us that while explaining these things, clients invariably include information that they forgot to include in their page contents, so it is a useful exercise in more ways than one.

Who are your target visitors?

You wouldn't open a shop without first identifying who your potential customers were. You'd work out who they were and why they would choose to visit your shop. The same applies to a website. Your website, the text and images it contains and even the style of the website has to be created with your target customers in mind. Ask yourself who you want your website to attract, who they are, where they are from, what they will want to find on your website, and so on. What do you want these people to do when they visit your website? These things affect how your website is structured.

Other Items

Tell us about the things you want added to your website. This might be things like photos and videos that you want incorporated into the website, or things we need to create or edit. If you want it, tell us about it!

For example
  • If you have a specific colour scheme you want us to us, perhaps to match your existing marketing, tell us which colours to use (provide the HEX code), how and where.
  • Do you have a business logo you want us to use? If so, explain how and where you want it used, whether alterations are possible or required.
  • Do you have instructions regarding your business/company name, registered trademarks, brand names, and so on?
  • Are you going to provide your own images for use on the website? If so, tell us about them.
  • If you don't have any suitable or appropriate images, are you planning on hiring a photographer, or do you want us to use stock (generic) images?
  • If possible, send us a copy of all the text copy that needs to be included, preferably in clearly named individual files (for example, 'front page', 'about us page' etc) plus any instructions.
  • Do you want or need a multilingual website? If so, specify this clearly, including which languages are to be used, and tell us if you want us to arange the translations or if you will provide them.
  • If you want us to have your text translated for you, specify the language(s) in the brief and attach ALL the text that needs translating with clear instructions.

Upgrading an existing website?

If you already have a website for your business and want to upgrade it, for example to make it responsive (accessible for vsitors with both normal browsers and also mobile browsers), give us details of the existing website, and then answer the questions below as well as you can.

  • Why do you want to replace the old website?
  • What things DO you like about the old site?
  • What DON'T you like about the old site?
  • What DOESN'T the old site do that you want the new site to do?
  • Do you maintain your existing site or does somebody do it for you?
  • Will you deal with maintaining and updating the new website, or does somebody else do it for you?
  • How often do you expect to update pages, or add extra pages to the new site?
recent website designs