Writing a web design brief

If you are in the market for a new website, the chances are you’ll be confronted with the task of writing a web design brief. If so, here’s a fairly comprehensive web design brief template (or RFP) that you can use.

But why should you bother with a web design brief? Can’t you just sit down and talk it through with your web developer? Yes, you could, if you already have one. However, the web design brief serves several key purposes:

  1. it helps you choose a web developer
  2. it helps clarify what you want
  3. it provides a benchmark to measure success.

There’s the old truism, ‘fail to plan and you plan to fail’, and your website is really no different. Writing a web brief means you have to give serious consideration to

  • what you want to achieve
  • and how you’re going to achieve it.

So, in the brief you state what it is you want to achieve (increased visitors, increased sales, etc) and you also outline how this will be achieved (more optimised website, improved checkout process, etc). This tells the prospective web designer the what and the how.

When you’re writing the web design brief you should attempt to strip away all the buzz words and ‘domain speak’ in order to reach a zen like clarity with regards to what you want your website to achieve. This clarity will also help your web developer (or prospective developer) get to the kernel of your ambition. Finally, you will also have a benchmark against which to measure success 6 or 12 months down the line.

So, if you’re objective is to increase the number of visitors, then state how many you currently receive and also your desired number (remembering to be realistic). In 6 months’ time, you’ll be able to gauge the success or not of your new design. You should also then be in a position to figure out why this or that has or hasn’t worked.

Its simples really, but the more you invest in the up front stage of your web design project, the greater the return on your investment will be later on – and hopefully the fewer surprises you encounter along the way.

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