How to create a website design brief

A website design brief is a document that outlines the goals, objectives, and requirements for a website design project. It is typically created by the client and is used to communicate the project’s scope, target audience, and desired features to the design team. The design brief serves as a roadmap for the project and is used to ensure that the final website design meets the needs and expectations of both the client and the design team.

A website design brief typically includes information such as:

  1. Purpose and goals: The overall purpose of the website and the specific goals that the client hopes to achieve with it.
  2. Target audience: The demographics, interests, and behaviours of the website’s target audience.
  3. Branding: Information about the company or organization’s branding, including its mission statement, values, and existing visual elements such as logos and colour palettes.
  4. Functionality: A list of specific features and functionality that the website should include, such as e-commerce, contact forms, or a blog.
  5. Content: Information about the types of content that will be featured on the website, such as product descriptions, blog posts, or videos.
  6. Competitors: Information about the websites of other businesses or organizations in the same industry, and how the new website should differ from them.
  7. Timeline and budget: A proposed timeline and budget for the project, including any milestones or deadlines that need to be met.
  8. Reference: Any reference websites or design inspiration that the client would like the design team to use as a guide.
  9. Technical requirements: Any specific technical requirements for the website, such as responsive design, CMS, integrations and other functionality that need to be considered.
  10. Maintenance: Outline the maintenance and update requirements for the website after it is launched.

Creating a website design brief is an important step in the website design process, as it helps to clearly communicate the goals, objectives, and requirements of the project to the design team. Here are a few key elements to include in a website design brief:

Purpose and goals – website design brief

When defining the purpose and goals of a web design brief, it’s important to consider the overall objective of the website and the specific actions that you want visitors to take when they land on the site. Here are a few tips for defining the purpose and goals of a web design brief:

  1. Identify the main objective of the website: Is it to generate leads, increase sales, or improve customer engagement? Be specific and clear about the overall objective of the website.
  2. Define specific goals: Break down the main objective into specific, measurable goals. For example, if the main objective is to increase sales, a specific goal could be to increase online sales by 20% within the next six months.
  3. Consider user needs: Think about the user’s needs and what they’re looking for when they visit your website. How can the design of the website help them achieve their goals?
  4. Use analytics to guide the process: Review your website’s analytics data to identify areas for improvement, such as high bounce rates, low conversion rates, or pages that visitors are leaving from.
  5. Define the target audience: Identify the target audience for the website, including demographics, interests, and behaviours.
  6. Align with business goals: The website’s purpose and goals should align with the overall goals of the business.
  7. Use a SMART framework: Make sure that the goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
  8. Be realistic: Set realistic and achievable goals that are in line with the budget and resources available for the project.

By clearly defining the purpose and goals of the website, you can ensure that the design team understands the objectives of the project and can create a design that meets those objectives. This will lead to a website that is user-friendly, visually appealing and effective in achieving the goals that have been set.

Branding session on the website design brief

Branding is an important aspect of a website design brief, as it helps to ensure that the final website design aligns with the company or organization’s visual identity and messaging. Here are a few key elements to include in the branding section of a website design brief:

  1. Mission statement: Provide the company or organization’s mission statement and values, which will help guide the overall design of the website.
  2. Brand guidelines: Include any existing brand guidelines, such as a style guide or brand book, that the design team should use as a reference.
  3. Logos and colour palettes: Provide the company or organization’s existing logos and color palettes, as well as any specific guidelines for how they should be used on the website.
  4. The tone of voice: Describe the tone of voice that should be used throughout the website, such as formal, casual, or conversational.
  5. Imagery: Provide examples of the types of imagery that should be used throughout the website, such as product photos, lifestyle images, or illustrations.
  6. Brand elements: Provide the existing brand elements such as typography, iconography, or any other visual elements that should be used on the website.
  7. Brand positioning: Provide the brand’s positioning in the market, it’s unique selling proposition, and how it wants to be perceived by the target audience.
  8. Brand messaging: Provide any specific messaging that should be included on the website, such as a tagline or call-to-action.

By providing clear and detailed information about the company or organization’s branding in the website design brief, the design team can ensure that the final website design aligns with the company’s visual identity and messaging. This will help to establish a consistent and cohesive brand experience for visitors to the website.

Content

The content section of a website design brief is critical as it outlines the types of content that will be featured on the website and helps guide the design team in creating a layout and structure that is optimized for the content. Here are a few key elements to include in the content section of a website design brief:

  1. Types of content: Outline the types of content that will be featured on the website, such as blog posts, product descriptions, videos, or infographics.
  2. Content structure: Describe the desired content structure, such as the use of categories, tags, and taxonomies, and how the content should be organized.
  3. Content hierarchy: Describe the desired content hierarchy, such as the importance of certain pages or sections.
  4. Content length: Provide an estimate of the total number of pages or total word count for the website.
  5. Content format: Specify the format of the content, such as text, images, videos, or audio.
  6. Content updates: Provide an estimate of how often content will be added, updated or removed.
  7. Content Management System: Provide the desired CMS for the website, and the level of access the client will have for updates.
  8. Audience engagement: Describe the desired level of audience engagement and interaction on the website, such as comments, reviews, or social media integration.
  9. SEO: Provide any specific SEO requirements, such as keyword research and meta tags.

By providing detailed information about the content in the website design brief, the design team can create a layout and structure that is optimized for the content and that will provide a great user experience. This will help to ensure that the website is easy to navigate and that the content is easy to find and read.

Timeline and budget

The timeline and budget sections of a website design brief are crucial in determining the feasibility of the project and ensuring that everyone is on the same page about the project’s scope, timeline, and costs. Here are a few key elements to include in the timeline and budget sections of a website design brief:

  1. Timeline: Outline the expected start and end dates for the project, and provide a detailed breakdown of the different stages of the project, such as research, design, development, testing, and launch.
  2. Milestones: Identify key milestones that need to be achieved throughout the project, such as the completion of a design mockup or the launch of the website.
  3. Budget: Provide an estimate of the total budget for the project, including costs for research, design, development, testing, and launch.
  4. Payment schedule: Outline the payment schedule for the project, such as a deposit, milestone payments, and final payment.
  5. Additional costs: Outline any additional costs that might be incurred during the project, such as third-party services, content creation, or photography.
  6. Maintenance: Provide an estimate of the ongoing maintenance costs, such as hosting, updates, and security.
  7. Contingency: Have a contingency plan to cover for unexpected costs or delays.

By including detailed information about the project’s timeline and budget in the website design brief, the design team can create a realistic plan for the project, and the client can be confident that the project is feasible and that the costs are in line with their budget.

Reference session on the website design brief

When creating a website design brief document, it is important to include any reference websites or design inspiration that the client would like the design team to use as a guide. This can help the design team to understand the client’s design preferences and to create a website that aligns with the client’s vision.

Reference websites should be chosen carefully and should be relevant to the project; they should have similar features or elements, design style or aesthetic, or functionality that the client would like to include on their website.

For example, if the client is looking for a website with a clean and modern design, they may provide reference websites such as Apple.com or Airbnb.com as examples of the type of design they are looking for. Or if the client is looking for an e-commerce website with a specific type of product, they may provide reference websites such as amazon.com or etsy.com.

Additionally, the client can provide design inspiration, such as images, mood boards, or sketches that they would like the design team to use as a guide. This can help the team to understand the client’s design preferences and to create a website that aligns with the client’s vision.

Overall, including reference websites and design inspiration in a website design brief document can help the design team to create a website that meets the client’s requirements and reflects the client’s design preferences.

Technical requirements on the website design brief

In addition to business objectives, target audience, branding, content, and design style, it’s important to also include technical requirements in a website design brief document. Technical requirements outline any specific technical needs or functionality that the website must have in order to meet the client’s needs and goals.

Here are some examples of technical requirements that may be included in a web design brief document:

  1. Responsive design: The website must be designed to adapt to different screen sizes and resolutions so that it can be easily viewed on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
  2. Content Management System (CMS): Specify which CMS the website will be built on, such as WordPress, Joomla, or Shopify, etc.
  3. Integrations: If the website needs to integrate with other systems or platforms, such as social media, email marketing, or payment systems, this should be outlined in brief.
  4. Accessibility: If the website needs to meet certain accessibility standards, such as WCAG, this should be outlined in brief.
  5. Performance: If the website needs to have specific performance requirements, such as page load time or scalability, this should be outlined in brief.
  6. Security: If the website needs to have certain security features, such as SSL certificate or two-factor authentication, this should be outlined in brief.

Outlining these technical requirements in a web design brief document will help ensure that the website is built to meet the client’s specific needs and goals and that the design team has a clear understanding of what is required to deliver a successful project.

Maintenance

In addition to outlining the technical and design requirements for a website, it’s also important to include information about maintenance and update requirements in a website design brief document. This will ensure that the client and design team have a clear understanding of the ongoing responsibilities and expectations for the website after it is launched.

Here are some examples of maintenance and update requirements that may be included in a web design brief document:

  1. Software updates: Specify the frequency and schedule for updating the website’s software, such as the CMS, themes, and plugins.
  2. Content updates: Outline the client’s responsibilities for updating the website’s content, such as blog posts, product descriptions, or images.
  3. Backup and recovery: Specify the frequency and schedule for backing up the website’s data and outline the process for recovering the website in case of data loss or website failure.
  4. Security monitoring: Specify the frequency and schedule for monitoring the website’s security, and outline the process for responding to and resolving any security issues that may arise.
  5. Analytics: Outline the client’s responsibilities for monitoring and analyzing the website’s traffic and performance and specify the frequency and schedule for providing reports to the design team.
  6. Support: Outline the client’s responsibilities for providing ongoing support to website visitors, such as responding to customer inquiries or providing technical assistance.

By including information about maintenance and update requirements in a website design brief document, the client and design team can ensure that the website is properly maintained and updated after it is launched and that it continues to meet the client’s needs and goals over time.

In summary, creating a website design brief is an important step in the website design process, as it helps to clearly communicate the goals, objectives, and requirements of the project to the design team. It should include information about the purpose and goals of the website, the target audience, branding, functionality, content, competitors, timeline and budget, reference, technical requirements and maintenance. This will help ensure that the final website design meets the needs and expectations of both the client and the design team.

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