How to write a web design brief
What is a website design brief?
Whether you’re looking to create a brand new website or update and redesign an existing one, a detailed web design brief outlines the stepping stones to success.
A well designed website will complement your brand, engage your target audience and ultimately improve conversions. It’s an extension of your company and reiterates your company ethos which is why it’s so important to get it right.
A clear, detailed website brief will provide your chosen website service provider with an overview of your business along with your design preferences, project goals and expectations in regard to timelines and budget. Ultimately, a plan for your website will provide clarity on your requirements and will help to ensure that your chosen agency creates your website in accordance with your overall vision.
To summarise, a well written website design brief will:
- Ensure your website design company is clear on which direction the design will be heading, saving time and ultimately money
- Remove any ambiguity
- Reduce the likelihood of costly assumptions
What to include in your web design brief?
What services do you require?
Before you go any further, you need to be clear about what services you need. Not all agencies provide the same service – some focus solely on design and branding whereas others might provide a full service of design, development, marketing & maintenance.
Once you’re clear on what you’re looking for then you will be able to select the most suitable company for your requirements. Of course, any professional web design team will be more than happy to discuss their services in detail with you.
Who are you?
A good web designer will undoubtedly do their research on your company before progressing with your project however no one will know the ins and outs of your business as well as you do. It’s invaluable for your website design company to get your insight on the business and it’s important for you to be as open and honest as possible.
Questions you may want to consider when writing this part of your web design brief might include:
- When was your business established?
- What are you known for?
- What is your vision and mission?
- What’s your ethos?
- What is your perception of your business?
- How are you currently seen by your clients and competitors and how do you want to be seen?
What do you do?
Now that your website agency knows exactly who you are, it’s important that they also understand what you do. This section of your website specification should give an overview of what sets you apart from your competitors. What is your unique selling point? What are your products or services?
It’s worth considering how your audience currently interacts with your services and how you’d want them to interact on your new website. For example, are online sales and conversions your main focus or do you have another goal in mind, such as increasing call rates?
Who are your competitors?
Your website design service provider now understands the internal workings of your business, but in order to get a full overview, your web design company will benefit from understanding the external factors at play, such as who your competition is.
A good designer will do their research but your insight is invaluable. When planning a website, you should consider what you think your competition is doing particularly well and whether there are any competitors that you aspire to be like?
Who is your target audience?
In order to achieve your website goals your chosen web developer will need to understand who your target audience is.
When writing your website spec, you might wants to consider:
- What do your typical clients currently look like?
- What is your audience’s demographic?
- Are your current customers right for your business or is there another audience you want to attract?
- What considerations do you think your new design will need to take into account so that your website is user friendly?
What do you like and dislike about your current website?
When website planning, considering what works well on your current website and what you think can be improved is an important factor in achieving an overall design that you’re happy with.
From the intricate functionality of your current website down to the layout and colour scheme, all elements of your current design should be considered in your website specification. You can expand further on what functionality you require in the next section of your web design brief, but listing your likes and dislikes is a clear and simple way of pointing out the “do’s and don’ts” to your web design company.
Of course, a good website designer will likely identify aspects of your current design that can be improved upon and ensure that your new website doesn’t have the same problems.
What pages do you require?
This section of your brief is arguably one of the most important, it contains the basic navigation structure of your new website. This information forms the structure of your website.
Most websites consist of at least:
If you’re unsure of what pages you need, you might want to take inspiration from websites that offer a similar product or service and, of course, tailor the number of pages to suit your offering.
What is the scope and functionality of your new website?
This section of your website design brief should contain the basic website navigation structure of your new website. This will give your website design team an idea of how technically complex your new website will be. Not only is this important when it comes to designing and developing your new website, but it also enables your designer to provide you with a more accurate cost.
Potential features you might want to include are:
- News & blogs
- User login area
- Ecommerce platform
- Online booking system
- Interactive maps
- Contact forms
Does the website require any form of animation?
Something worth considering is whether you want your new website to be interactive and have design and development features such as animations, parallax scrolling, advanced transitions or moving elements. When contemplating hiring an agency, this is something that is commonly overlooked at initial brainstorming stages but can affect the overall cost of a proposal significantly.
What content do you require?
The content of your website can very much alter a design and so it’s good to be as detailed as you can be, both in relation to text and images.
If you’d like your design to be image heavy then do you have images that you can provide? Are you happy with your agency using stock photos, and if so do you have a particular preference in terms of style?
In relation to text, you might already have existing content from your current website that you’d like to reuse, but it’s also worth considering whether you expect your agency to help create content – this will likely affect the overall cost of the proposal. Either way, if you have an idea of the content that you’d like to use then give as much information as possible.
What other websites do you like?
When designing your new website, your web design partner will benefit from understanding which websites you like and, just as importantly, why you like them?
This doesn’t mean that your agency will simply copy another website design and slap your logo on it. It will however enable them to reinterpret areas of the designs you like and come up with a new design that fits your overall vision and also compliments your brand identity.
What are your objectives and how will you measure them?
Your objectives will largely be formed based on improvements that can be made on your current website, but it’s important to be clear about what you want your new website to achieve and how you will measure this? It might be that you’d like to increase conversions, make more sales on your e-commerce website, generate more leads or make your portfolio more of a focus.
When measuring success, you should consider what success looks like to you. Success can often be subjective which is why SMART objectives can often be more meaningful (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).
Do you require hosting and support?
Every website requires hosting which is where your website’s files will be stored. If you have a current website, you will have hosting already. If it’s your first time launching a website, you will need to choose a reliable web host or ask your agency to do this for you.
It’s also worth considering any levels of website support you will need going forward, such as website management training or SEO support.
What is your desired timescale?
When launching your new website, you might have a specific date or deadline in mind, however whether this is realistically achievable does depend on the scope of your project. Websites can take a number of weeks, months or even up to a year to launch, depending on their size and functionality.
Although your chosen website partner will endeavour to meet your deadline, it’s imperative that you discuss any time restraints and as to whether your expectations are realistically achievable.
What is your budget?
Again, it’s important to be realistic with your budget vs your expectations. You might be looking for a custom website design with advanced functionality but it’s unlikely you will achieve a quality website if your budget isn’t able to stretch far.
There are still some agencies that promise to create low budget websites for just a few hundred pounds but this is unlikely to be of high quality and will almost certainly not help you to compete in search engines or contend with your competitors.
It’s important that you are as transparent as possible with your cost expectations but also realistic. Most agencies will be able to offer you a number of price options to suit your budget.
Who are Webpop Design?
Webpop Design is a team of highly experienced web designers and developers, achieving award-winning designs and consistent five-star reviews, time and time again. We have successfully overseen hundreds of projects of all sizes, from design to launch, and have experience in delivering beautifully created websites to clients across the globe.
Now you know what to write in your web design brief. Why not send it to us using our project planner?