How to create a website design brief
Creating a website design brief for your website can be tough, especially if you do not know where to start. We have years of experience in this market and we understand how difficult it is to communicate exactly how you want your website to look and how you want it to work.
Here at Castle, we have put together a guide to creating a website design brief. Our guide will help you understand exactly what you need to tell your agency, which will save both you and your agency time, money, and effort. This also ensures you achieve the best outcome for your project.
Why is it important to create a website design brief?
Creating a website design brief is incredibly important so that there is no miscommunication between you and your agency, it is also important to build a positive relationship with your website team as they are going to be the main aspect in you having your perfect website. Your website brief should communicate your ideas and requirements, providing the website team with a clear overview of your overall vision and expectations. This will also allow them to provide you with a full and accurate quote and timescale for the project.
When creating your website brief it is important to provide detail, but at this stage there is no need to go too in-depth. While the website brief needs to be thorough, we don’t need to know your business strategy for the next 3 years in order to get started.
13 steps to creating an excellent website design brief
Step 1 – About your website design
The first step of the website briefing is to tell us a bit about your company give us an idea of what you want to do. It’s important to include:
- Company name
- Website address and URL
- How long your company has been running – is it a new company or are you experienced
- What exactly your company does
- Where the company is based
- Annual turnover – give us an idea of what package is affordable and the scale of your operation
Step 2 – Objectives
We need to know your short-term goals for your website and business. This includes things such as your projected annual turnover after your website is made and your target for website traffic and new customers. Goals like wanting to double conversion rates in the next year are important to know as we need to set our aspirations and targets from this, so really, we need to know what your aspirations are for this website.
Step 3 – Branding, logo, and website design
We need to know if you have existing design and logo guidelines, and if so, do you want us to stick with these, completely remake them, or develop your current logo and design. Maybe you’re a start-up company that needs us to develop an innovative new logo and design or you’re a well-established brand with a recognisable aesthetic that you want to stick with but modernise. Either way, we need to know as this will influence the whole website design brief.
Step 4 – Target audience
Knowing your target audience is crucial to the design and layout of the website. The reason this is one of the first steps is we have to examine your target audience, find out what they are interested in, and develop examples that we believe will interest and appeal to them, so we must understand the type of person we are targeting to create the perfect website brief.
Step 5 – Your current website design
It is extremely helpful if you can show us your former website (if you have one) and use it as an example of what you do and don’t want. From here you can demonstrate the aspects of the website you like and what you think doesn’t fit in or needs improving, so we can get an idea of what you want.
Step 6 – The benchmark for your website design brief
If you have seen a website that you like and want to have similar features or functionality, even if it is a competitor, it is important to show us these examples as they can act as the benchmark of what you want. It also gives us a further idea of what you like and what you don’t.
Step 7 – Your website content
It is important to get your content completed as soon as possible if you want your website brief to run smoothly. Having the content for your website before we start the design is very helpful as it can influence the design of the website because we need to fit the design around this content. It also provides us with as much information as possible on what it is that you are offering.
We need you to specify if you want us to write the website copy for you as we will also need to know how many pages you require and whether you also want visual effects like photos, videos, and GIFs.
Different pages require different website designs, a page with 1500 words will require a very different design to a page with 300 words, so you need to think about the amount and what kind of content you want from day one if you want the project to be delivered on time.
Step 8 – Functioning technical requirements
The technical functions of your website design are one of the most important and its where we need you to provide us with the most information and be as thorough as possible. The requirements could feature things like:
- Social media feeds and links
- Online booking and registration systems
- A newsfeed
- Payment or shipping information and requirements
- API Integration
If you know what you want the website’s design functions to look like and how you want them to act, we need to know. There are specific features that you may want like account registration or user-profiles and dashboards, and if we do not know what features you would like, we cannot put them in.
Step 9 – Looking to the future
I know we previously said we don’t need to know what your next 3 years’ business strategy is, but we do need to know your plans for the website design moving forward. Knowing these plans will help you achieve your goals for the website design and produce the best return on your investment in the long run. We need to know:
- Will you require features in the future but cannot afford them with your current budget?
- Is your content going to remain the same or will it be updated and adjusted to suit your future business model?
- Is eCommerce going to be a realistic option for you in the future?
Using this information, we can consider how to make your website functional for the future so that it can withstand the change that it may need.
Step 10 – Deadline
Deadlines often vary with different clients. This is because some clients may need their website design and content producing urgently as they don’t currently have a website, but some may have a website and want a new one but aren’t desperate for it right away and would rather spend the time making it perfect. If you have a deadline and it is vital it is met by that date, you need to tell us at the beginning of the project so we can assess whether it is feasible by that date and provide you with milestone dates on its way to completion.
Step 11 – Budget
You must provide us with a correct and realistic budget so that we can consider the costs of the features and information you want on your website. It is also important to remember that you are not only provided with a website but you are also being provided with award-winning service.
Giving us ideas about your budget also gives us an idea of what goals we can and can’t achieve and what kind of website we can build for you.
Step 12 – SEO
When growing your business, it is important to realise that just having a good-looking website isn’t going to get you to the top of Google, you have to invest a lot of time into search engine optimisation if you want to rank. A website is a great place to start, but it’s also important to think about how you are going to drive traffic to your website. Here at Castle, we have a team of SEO experts who can help you substantially improve your site’s rankings.
It is important to know from the start whether SEO is a key aspect to your website as it then has to be designed around it. If we are redesigning your website you must supply us with your previous analytics for your old website so we can know what kind of figures you were getting and know what we need to beat.
Step 13 – Hosting
Typically, websites don’t use third party hosts, but if they are, we need to know and we will need you to give us access to your hosting panel or FTP/SFTP access and MYSQL details.
You will also need to ensure that the host meets these requirements:
- An MYSQL version 5.6 or better is required for the installation WordPress
- A version of PHP 7.0 is required for the installation of WordPress
- Adequate disk space – we recommend at least 1.5GB of disk space available depending on the size of your website
At Castle we have 5+ years of experience designing websites for clients from a range of sectors. Over the years, we have developed over 120 websites on a range of different platforms. Find out more about our website design services on our site. If you need a new website, or want your existing site redesigning, contact Castle today on 0330 107 5347. No matter what you’re looking for we can create a bespoke site to suit requirements. Alternatively, you can follow our guide and send us a website design brief via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can send you a free quote.