A well-designed website is a must for businesses nowadays. Since creating one is a complicated, multi-level process, your web design agency needs a proper brief. For one, a brief is crucial for the designers to set off with the work. Another thing is that it enables the agency to give you an estimated price for the service. This is the first step in designing or re-designing and adjusting your website according to the latest trends. Because a professional-looking website is vital for your business’s success, you should make sure that the brief you provide has all of the necessary elements.
What is a creative website brief?
A creative website brief doesn’t vary from other creative briefs. The main premise is the same —providing an explanation of your goals, expectations, and technicalities for the agency. Prior to writing the brief, it’s good practice to use a time and material contract template. While there’s no one-fits-all brief for websites, there are some elements that need to be included. Even though it may seem like the more information you provide, the better, it’s not that simple.
You don’t want a ten-page essay about your company’s values and a meticulous description of your pixel-perfect website—and neither does the design agency. In reality, a brief needs to be concise and straight-to-the-point, just as the name suggests. On the other hand, giving too little information will do no good either. You will need to hit the spot with conciseness, data, and volume.
A website brief should be prepared according to your company’s exact needs. It’s best to discuss it with the management, marketing team, and the creative team. This should be a group effort, and any input is valuable. Using an RFP for website design is another good way of providing instructions.
Why do you need a well-written website brief?
First of all, the most pragmatic reason of all is that it makes the job much easier. With a proper brief, the agency knows almost exactly what you want, and you’ll have a better chance of being happy with the result.
Another reason is that it’s common practice to write one. No design team can start working without a brief.
Finally, since this is the backbone of your future website, it’s critical to spend enough time and resources on the brief.
What do you need to cover in a website brief?
As I said, there isn’t an exact formula for any website brief, but it has to include some elements.
This is one of the most important points. You will need to write everything about your company so that the agency knows who they’re working for. They will need to know your values, history, and future plans. Let them know your advantages over the competition, what makes you unique, and your strong points. Make sure to bring up your most popular services/products, as these will probably need exposure on your website.
On top of that, it’s worth mentioning the characteristics of a given industry you’re in. This will make the process much easier, as there may be some standard practices among your competition.
What do you want to accomplish with your new website? There can be many goals you’ll want to achieve from brand awareness, through increased traffic, better online presence, to sales. As a matter of fact, sales are the end goal of any business—they’re the resultant of all the other elements.
Make sure to pinpoint who your visitor and buyer persona is. This acts as a guide for web designers to make the site appropriate. Mention the demographic, describe your customers’ expectations, and what you want their behaviour to be like. To tell the truth—say anything, you know.
It wouldn’t hurt to tell the agency what other particular audience you’d like to target with the new website. If, perhaps, you’re just redesigning your old website, mention what works and what doesn’t about your current one.
I can assume that you know who your competitors are. Again, I can also take that you like some of their websites. Don’t hesitate and include the ones you dig.
It’s also worth describing what you think your competition does better and what they do worse.
This is the point where you describe the scope of the whole operation. You want to avoid scope creep, which is something that affects a lot of businesses. Scope creep is when you inadvertently increase your project’s extent because you want to add every feature you find.
You want to describe what you wish to the website to look like—the colours, images, qualities, the overall style, features, and the feel. You might want to prepare a sitemap for the agency. This involves mapping the website’s linking structure.
In short, describe what pages you’d like included, how to get to them, the navigation, headers, footers, sidebars, and CTAs. Of course, it’s also common to add your site’s back-end structure—registration, data management, payment methods, discounts, newsletters, membership etc. While it’s not necessary, it makes the job far easier for the provider.
Mention the technicalities, maintenance, say what hosting provider you use, whether you want to use WordPress templates, languages you will translate it to, and include any password-protected pages.
Simply put, it depends on your budget what technology will be used for the creation of your website. If you’re willing to invest a lot into the site, you can expect custom-built solutions based on the newest technology. If you’re on the low-end, the agency will probably use templates and CMS software. You could also ask for a quotation.
Again, depending on how fast you need it done, the price and technology will vary. If you’re willing to allocate more time to the development, you can expect better results. A typical website takes a few months to complete.
Taking a bit of time when writing a website brief and thinking it through will undoubtedly make the whole process much more seamless and straightforward. Since it’s such a grand project, you should dedicate the right amount of research and resources to it. As I said before—don’t make the brief too long or too short, focus on the right things, describe your goals and expectations, and provide detailed information about your audience as well as competition.