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How to brief a website designer

1 Dec 20

How to brief a website designer

Before you commission a website designer, take a step back. Think about what your site needs to achieve and what the website designer will need to know. If you complete a website design brief, you’ll be in a better position to create a project that meets your goals and runs smoothly from the start.

Here’s an outline of what we like to know before starting a website design project at Uproar Creative.

A bit about you

What is your business or organisation?

A key point is understanding what you do, how you do it and what sector you work within. And it’s helpful to include some historical background about your company and any other relevant details.

Do you have an established brand?

What is the extent of your current branding – does your branding appear on van livery, clothing or stationery? Do you follow a set of brand guidelines or have a strategy? Whether you have a brand strategy in place, or not, we'll need to know about your brand positioning.

(If you need more help, take a look at ‘What is a brand strategy’.)

What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?

Your USP is one of the key influences on the website design, content and structure. A USP is what your business stands for and what sets you apart from your competition. It’s crucial if you want to stand out in the marketplace.

Who are your competitors?

Why not take a look at your competitors’ websites and see what they’ve been up to? What makes their sites successful, what features do you like, and what don’t you like? You can also learn from any mistakes they’ve made or how you can do things differently.

Do you have an existing website?

If you already have a website, why do you want to update it? Perhaps your business direction has changed, the functionality needs updating, or you’ve had a rebrand, and it’s not reflected in your current website.

Web brief content 1

Your objectives

What are the goals of the website?

A new website is a substantial investment, so it makes business sense to take a robust strategic approach to your website goals. In fact, your goals and objectives are the most important factor of the website brief. Your goals could be to increase sales, lead generation, or to promote events. Your website designer will need to have a clear understanding of your goals and objectives to incorporate them into the web design.

User research

Who is your target audience?

You could be targeting groups of a specific age or gender, people with a particular interest, businesses working in a defined sector, or individuals who are seeking a solution to a problem. Fine-tuning your research can allow you to build up separate audience personas that represent your target audience.

What will a user be looking for on the website?

Will your audience be looking for something specific on the site where they need to take action? It could be a user guide for a product you sell, directions to an event location, or a price comparison chart to help with a purchase decision.

Do you need to consider accessibility?

All websites need to be accessible to everyone, but in some cases you’ll need to consider the needs of your target audience and whether extra support is required.

Web brief content 2

Your marketing activity

What marketing activity do you do?

Consistency is always crucial in marketing, and campaigns need to be seamless across all platforms. Your website shouldn’t exist in isolation from your other marketing activity. Otherwise, the brand messaging dilutes. It’s helpful for the website designer to be aware of what marketing activity you’re involved in to bring consistency to your website branding.

Special functions

Will the website need any additional functions?

Is there any specific function that the website needs to include? It could be a password-protected area or a site search form. Does the site need to include a third-party integration, such as a CRM (customer relationship manager) or booking service?

Website content

Do you need help with content?

Website content is an essential part of the mix. Content takes time and resources to create, so you’ll need to decide whether you need to outsource any content development, such as the copywriting or photography, or will you prepare it inhouse?

Web brief content 3

Technical considerations

Will you need a content management system (CMS)

A CMS will allow you to keep your site updated, as well as store contact information and integrate with a CRM (customer relationship management). You may already use a CMS on your current website. If you do, you’ll need to include the detail in your brief. It’s also worth reviewing if the CMS is up to scratch or if it’s become cumbersome and worth considering an alternative.

What about your hosting?

If you already have a website, make sure to include your hosting details within the brief. And it’s also vital to check that your hosting platform is suitable for a website upgrade.

Is search engine optimisation (SEO) important?

SEO will ensure your website has a good chance of appearing in a results page on a search engine such as Google. It’s worth considering this at an early stage, to allow the website framework to be developed around the chosen keywords. If you have already commissioned an SEO agency, they will be able to provide input to the site structure at the planning stage.

We’ve tried to keep this post short and succinct, but there are many other things to consider as well. Having a conversation is often more insightful. So why not get in touch? We do like a chat!

Camilla Sharman

Written by
Andrew Sharman

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