Commissioning A Website? Here’s How To Create The Perfect Design Brief

Some business owners’ idea of a design brief is to email their designer or web company a screenshot of a web design they like, with a note saying: “can you clone this for me?”

Fair enough, it’s a reasonable starting point from which to open a dialogue. But it’s also helpful for both parties to have a comprehensive briefing document they can refer to regularly throughout the duration of the contract.

Having a properly defined brief in place will do two things.

It will:

  1. Enable shortlisted designers to produce an accurate estimate for the amount of work involved.
  2. Guard against potential misunderstandings once the project has commenced. Arguments that what the designer has produced didn’t meet expectations can ruin the client-creative relationship, so it is preferable to detail what is required from the outset.

Both parties have a responsibility to communicate with one another throughout the contract period and to clarify points they are uncertain on. Frequently projects which ‘go off the rails’ share one of three common factors:

  • A lack of detail
  • Assumptions made (by either party) but not clarified
  • Incomplete information (with the intention to ‘fill in the gaps’ later)

These 6 Web Design Tips will help you keep your project on track:

  1. As the client you should set aside a reasonable amount of time to devote to creating your brief – at least one whole day (or two half days).
  2. What do you want your website to do? Consider both your marketing and overall business aims when addressing this point.
  3. What is your budget?
  4. It’s wise not to invite too many freelancers or agencies to ‘pitch’ for your business and if at all possible, personal recommendations are preferable. And if you belong to a Chamber of Commerce or local trade organisation, it’s worth looking among your network for likely creative services providers.
  5. When do you need the job completed by? At what stages will you expect your web designer to provide updates? Log these milestones in your diary and on your briefing sheet.
  6. Will you require an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) package? Is this something your designer can provide within their team? Or will he or she outsource the requirement? If it is the latter, you may prefer to engage your own seo expert to take on this aspect of your brief.

Using the services of an experienced digital marketing consultant could benefit the outcome immensely and a comprehensive and informative brief will not only ensure you engage the right web designer for your project, but that your new website is completed on time and on budget. And ultimately – that you will be highly delighted with the finished result.

Having a solid design brief in place before commissioning a website is vital if you want to achieve spectacular results. Often, (as clients), we may assume that the web designer is ‘on our wavelength’ – and that they share our vision – but to avoid costly mistakes and missed deadlines a comprehensive briefing document is essential.

Written by Chris Jenkinson, founder of Jenkinson & Associates Ltd.

Jenkinson & Associates undertake marketing and business consultancy for businesses in different sectors and industries requiring business marketing and consultancy services including local, national, international and global trading companies.

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