How to write a website design brief
18/06/2021 - Booking System
Your website is arguably the most important digital marketing tool in your arsenal. Your online visibility - and your positioning in the marketplace is dependent upon this little packet of information displayed on the world wide web. You can use it to ‘feed’ your social media marketing, you can direct phone and email enquiries to information on your site, and your organisation can become accessible all over the world at any time of the day and night. So it’s important to get the design right.
At Upshot Media, we work hard to make sure you don’t have to worry about the design element of your website. Of course you have full control over what your site looks like - but we try to make the decision making process as simple as possible for you.
Stand out from the crowd
Every website starts with a design brief
The design brief tells your website developer everything they need to know in order to build a site that will bring you a great return on investment.
Within the design brief, you can specify things like colours, layout, content and function. But how do you write a website design brief? What needs to be included?
At Upshot Media, we make it simple. After an in depth conversation to discuss what you need from your website, we’ll email you a design brief questionnaire which will gently lead you through the creation of your website brief.
What your website designers need to know
If your website were a person, what would be its job description? Do you want it to send people to your physical shop? Should it be taking bookings or orders? Answering frequently asked questions so you don’t have to? Processing sales? Updating your accounts program? Hosting video? In our experience - it’s usually all of these and more.
There are many different possible functions for a website and Upshot Media sites are brilliant at multi-tasking.
- Want an e-commerce site that also takes bookings or makes appointments? No problem.
- Want to make your videos visible only to paid subscribers - okey dokey, we can do that.
- Are you selling e-books or do you want to offer downloadable pdf’s of your product brochures - that’s all part of the service.
- Using filters or questionnaires to help customers narrow down their choices? We’d love to help.
Don’t feel that your website has to take the same format and function as all of your competitors. Dare to be different. If you can imagine it - we can build it. For the best return on your investment, your website should stand out from the competition by offering an all-round better customer experience.
Unique Selling Points and Key Messages
This is the part of website design that often gets our clients scratching their heads. But sadly it’s not something we can do for you.
Your website designers - and indeed your website visitors - need to know what your organisation does and why they should engage with you rather than one of your competitors.
For this part of your website brief, you need to tell your website designer as much as possible about your organisation. It helps if you can also email over copies of any company brochures too - they can be enormously helpful.
Tell us about your position in the market place. Are you high-end and exclusive? Are you successful because you offer great value? Who is your ideal customer? Age, interests, lifestyle aspirations? where might they they buy their groceries? Budget supermarket or farm shop? This will help us to design a website that will appeal to your target market.
Please don’t worry about spelling, grammar or writing a beautiful essay for this part of your website brief those things don’t matter until the site is ready to publish. Just write naturally. Use bullet points if that’s easier for you. In fact, if writing isn’t your thing, you could even take us on a video tour of your business and talk to us about each aspect.
Does your organisation have a logo and are you happy with it? Very often, your logo will be the inspiration behind the colours used on your website. If you feel as though your current logo needs an update - that’s not a problem. Our branding experts can help.
We’ll ask you about styling and which fonts to use. If you have a set of brand guidelines, it’s incredibly useful to us. But if not - that’s OK too.
Overall digital footprint
Where can your customers find out about you online? Do you have an existing website? A Facebook page? A Google My Business listing? Our designers want to get a feel for where your organisation is positioned in the market place, how you promote your company at the moment and how we can help you to upgrade your online marketing.
What’s your favourite colour?
You may, or may not already have an idea of the colour scheme for your website. Don’t worry if you don’t - our designers are very skilled at creating websites that suit your business and your wider industry. Very often, we’ll use your logo as inspiration for the colour and we’ll look at other websites in your industry to see what sort of styling your customers will be expecting.
Content and Layout
You’re probably wondering how you’ll organise everything you need to say on your website, in to a sensible order that is easy to navigate.
The designers at Upshot Media will help you to develop what’s known as a wire frame. A kind of “family tree” type diagram of your website. All you need to do at this stage is tell us what web pages and categories are going to be most important to you.
Start by writing a list of all the pages you will need on your website. Information about your business, examples of your work, product pages, “how to” pages, technical information, news, faq’s etc.
Not sure where to start? Find a couple of websites from other businesses in your industry and use them for inspiration.
Once the pages have been built, we’ll ask you for the images and text to illustrate them. If you need help with either, we can recommend a copywriter or a source of stock images.
This is where we need you to do a little bit of homework. Most of our clients find this a really useful (and fun) exercise….
We ask you to look at as many websites as you have time for. Some within your industry and some that have nothing to do with your work at all. They can be as diverse as you like. If you don’t know where to start looking - begin by visiting our portfolio page and clicking at random on our customer’s websites.
We want you to make a list of websites that you admire and add a little note to tell us what appeals to you. Is it the colours? the layout? the tone of voice? the images? or the way you navigate around it.?
Next, we want you to make a note of the sites you find less appealing. If you can, tell us why you don’t like them - that helps more than you’ll even know.
Some organisation’s websites include a reference to industry trade or governing bodies. This is a good way of reassuring new visitors to the website that you are a responsible business. For instance, a dog trainer may be a member of the IMDT. Or a landscaper may be an APL or BALI member. Perhaps you are a member of TRUSTMARK?
Think too about displaying testimonials on your website. These are another way to build trust. Would you like your website to connect to a review site like Feefo or Trustmark?
We highly recommend connecting your website to your social media profiles and vice-versa. It’s good for PR and it’s good for digital marketing too. Let us know the address of your Facebook, instagram, Linked, Twitter, Pinterest page and we’ll set the links up for you.
The website design process
Remember - our website developers don’t know your business anywhere near as well as you do, we rely on you to tell us what content is needed and how the branding should look. So we start at the very beginning with a simple design brief questionnaire for you to work through in your own time.
Once you have told us a little of what’s needed, our design team will set to work. We start by experimenting with different colour combinations and layouts for you to look at. From there, you will be able to suggest changes before we start building and populating your actual website.
It feels as though there’s a lot to do - and there is - but don’t worry, the team at Upshot Media are here to guide you through every stage of writing a website design brief and ensuring that your new website shows your organisation in its best possible light.
Call us today to discuss your new website. (Links to contact page)
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