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The aim is to create a brief that is as comprehensive and informative as possible to elicit accurate estimates / proposals and ultimately a brilliant website. There will probably still be a couple of questions coming back from who ever you've sent the brief to – but the first step in creating a great website (one that meets its objectives) is writing a comprehensive, actionable brief. This post explains best practices around creating a website design brief to support a new site redesign brief template I have developed for Smart Insights.
So the aim of spending time on creating a solid brief is simple: great brief in: great website out. This was my rationale behind creating the website design brief template. The ideas was to allow both client side marketers (and agency practitioners in some cases) to take a stepwise approach to formulating a brief.
"I've seen some website design (and build) projects start to go off the rails at different stages over the years and the common factor, I believe, was they all started with assumptions being made, with unclear objectives, and with an incomplete set of information to work with.
That responsibility isn't with the client alone though, any design partner has a responsibility to ask questions and to keep confirming a common understanding. But nailing a good brief will reduce the need for any remedial actions to get a project 'back on track.'"
The task of writing a comprehensive website design brief can often be skipped for a range of reasons (excuses!): you want to 'leave it open' for the prospective design company to provide 'blue sky' solutions; you don't have the time to pull the facts together for them or you're not sure exactly what information to provide. I've seen all kinds of briefs over the years ranging from a short email to a verbal 'we need a new site that looks like the BBC', often used as an apocryphal tale but in this case actually true. The website design and build projects that have been the most satisfying (all round) and ultimately the most successful are the ones where the brief was crafted and discussed fully, right at the start.
The briefing template itself will guide you through what information to provide and what questions to ask any potential design partner (where design means not just creative / graphic design but site content, functionality, navigation etc).
Aside from the actual brief though, there are some other things you should be aware of right at the outset, this isn't a form filling exercise. Here are my tips for creating the brief:
Here are some examples of where you can find providers, if you're based in the UK, they include:
So, in summary, the website design brief template now on the site (LINK) will guide you through the different steps to providing as comprehensive a set of information as possible.
The more information you can provide, even at the estimate request stage, the better. The chosen design partner will provide a whole stack of documentation – functional specs, technical specs, wireframes etc once the project is initiated but its incumbent on you as the business / brand partner to get the ball rolling with quality input for them.
All the best for your project!
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