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How to write a first class web design brief


Are you in the process of establishing your new business? Perhaps you are expanding your operations, requiring a major overhaul of your current website? It’s possible you’re preparing to take your already existing business online for the first time. In any case, you’re going to need to provide your web design company with a fool-proof web design brief. This blog will remind you of the major points to include, ensuring you get a first class website in return!

STEP 1 – Company Overview

The first step – possibly the most essential – is to give a thorough, well-rounded overview of your company. Declare clearly what your company mission is, for whom and for what you stand, emphasising your unique selling points, key business targets and desired audience. It is also worth delineating who your major competitors are, plus their relative strengths and weaknesses. Putting all of this into clear language (although sometimes a tricky proposition) can make a world of difference when it comes to your designers’ understanding of your project.

STEP 2 – What to Include

Consider carefully what you want from your website. If you’re updating an existing site, analyse and present the aspects that weren’t working along with those that worked well. In either case, research the websites of competitors and other businesses in your sector. Find the sites whose structure you’d like, or would loathe, to emulate.

It’s vital to have a firm idea of the different pages, or sections, which will make up the framework of your site. Think about each page’s purpose, message and what it will provide to the site user. Here is some food for thought:

• Your main home page or landing page might include:
– Key text about your company
– Images/sliders to catch attention
– Links through to other primary pages
– Calls to action which strengthen your business
• The about us page may display:
– The history of the company, emphasising your mission statement
– Overview of your team, for that personal touch
– Charities or causes supported by the company
• A products or services/page will ensure to present:
– The user’s updated shopping basket
– A clear and functional payment gateway
– In-depth descriptions and methods of contact on non e-commerce sites
• On a Portfolio or Projects page, maybe consider:
– Adding testimonials from happy customers
– Including detailed case studies, demonstrating your method

Ideally, each page you want to see should come coupled with a solid vision of its role and the way it will be presented. And while clarity and functionality are paramount, don’t be afraid to occasionally experiment and differ yourself from the competition.

A website in 2016 will pursue prominence through standing out, and often this is achieved through different levels of interactivity. There is a plethora of different features you can include on your website. In case you’re short on ideas, here’s just a fraction of what you might incorporate in your brief.

• Social integration – icons or feeds that link to your social accounts
• Integration with other systems – whether it’s a back end admin system, or 3rd party software
• Ecommerce – for if you are directly selling things from your website. Think about how they will take payment – Paypal, Sagepay etc
• Live chat – for instant customer service satisfaction
• WordPress bloging
• Galleries
• Forms
• Account/membership/newsletter subscriptions
• Maps (Google/Bing)
• Sliders (sliding images that display different images)
• Search facilities
• Backend admin system – for updating the website or aspects of the website yourself
• Calls to action

Let your web design company know what you are planning to achieve with your website – after all, it should exist for more than its own sake. It should be doing something for you and your business’s position. Perhaps you are looking to gain more leads, achieve more sales, increase your Google search ranking, or your social following? Each will require a distinct approach and your designers will be grateful to be aware of your needs beforehand.

Infographic for how to outline a website build

STEP 3 – Design Choices

The design and ultimate appearance of your website needs to be consistent with your brand guidelines, if you have them. If you don’t, you might be rebranding, or else deliberating such a move. At any rate, ensure your brief includes a fairly rigid synopsis of your company’s existing visual identity. That means making certain of the face you wish to present. Will it be personal and friendly, or more corporate and serious?

Provide information from a technical standpoint, too. Examine whether your site needs rebuilding from the ground up or only requires a minor polish in some areas. During this process, compile any images, assets and content that you think ought to be included in the final product.

This technical overview might also involve recognising what the user experience says about your company or the service it provides. Would you prefer all of your content separated by different pages? It may be you want one single scrolling page, taking you on a journey smoothly through different sections, so the experience is relatively unhindered by transitions through hyperlinks.

it’s never a bad idea to deliver some examples of existing website designs. Include those you think are either good or bad, then your designers can take your preferences into account.

STEP 4 – Budget/Timescale

Clearly, it’s important to specifically convey your budget, as how much you have to spend on your project may affect your designers’ output. Think, too, about whether you have funds to allocate for ongoing support and maintenance, or relevant digital marketing activity. If you have a tight deadline, or clear target, for when the website needs to go live, then let your website provider know as soon as possible. In most cases, they will want to ensure the project can be carried out efficiently and on schedule.

GML’s prerogative is fully understanding your business needs. We will maximize your web presence using the most cutting edge design, development and SEO techniques, helping you to climb up the Google search engine results pages. Ultimately we’ll make sure your business rises head and shoulders above any competition! To discuss a project you have, please feel free to contact us today and speak to one of our friendly professionals.