If you’re reading this, there is a good chance that you are planning a professional web design project (either to new website or improve the existing one). Regardless of your situation, a good brief would ensure that customer and designer are on the same page in regards to the design process and reduces the chances of misunderstandings that could jeopardise the success of the project.

What is true, though, is that even the most professional web design team in the world will not be able to deliver exactly what you expect if this fails to be communicated properly and promptly.

For the duration of this aryicle we will assume you are not the person who will be designing the website and this wil be delegated to another person or company. If you are thinking of doing a DIY website yourself make sure to read our article covering some of the pitfalls DIY websites Vs Professional Web Design Services?

If we have convinced you of the value that a brief can bring to your new or improved website project, keep reading and consider including these five key components in your brief:

1. Your Business

your business

A good starting point is to provide your web designer with information that allows him/her to get a better feel on how your website should be designed. Essential questions that you should consider including the answers to are:

  1. What does your business do?
  2. Who are your customers?
  3. What is the size of your business?
  4. What are your company’s mission and long-term vision?
  5. Who are your main competitors?
  6. What are your business’s unique selling points?
  7. How would you like your brand to be perceived in the market?

2. The Website


Now that you have communicated who you are, it is time to let the development team know what do you want. Easier said than done, the only way you can make sure the new website lives up to your expectations is to be clear about what you want (and don’t want) before your development team starts working on the project. On this light, you should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. Why do you need a new website?
  2. If you already have a website, what do you like and dislike about it?
  3. Where do your visitors come from? How do they access your site? What are the top browsers and platforms that they use? (Tip: you can learn how to get this information and more by visiting the following link)
  4. What is the new website aiming for? (i.e. encourage purchase, provide information, entertain, educate customers on your industry, increase leads, etc.).
  5. What are your long-term goals for your website?
  6. Who will be responsible for updating the site?

What features and functions do you require (search box, social media, maps, sliders, e-commerce, newsletters blog, etc. you can see a full list of what Marketers believe every website should contain here.)

3. Professional Web Design

Here you should describe what your new website should look like. To help your team get a better idea of what you want, it might be a good idea to share a handful of sites that you like (not necessarily related to your industry), so you can give an example of color schemes of, the navigation, or the interactive elements of your ideal site. Some questions you should answer are:

What would your dream website look like?

  1. The overall design
  2. Typography
  3. Layout
  4. Colours
  5. Images
  6. Ease of use
  7. Example of images or materials that you like

Technical requirements & Maintenance

Often overlooked, it is a good idea to start thinking about the technical requirements and maintenance of your website at an early stage of the project. In particular, you should evaluate:

  1. Do you already own the domain?
  2. Will you require hosting?
  3. Who will be responsible for the on-going maintenance of the website?
  4. Do you have the skills, resources and time to maintain the website in-house?

Your Budget & Timeline

Last, but not least, a fundamental part of any project is to clearly define your budget and establish the relevant timeframe in which it should be accomplished. Providing this information at an early stage will help your team manage your expectations of what is achievable with your resources and plan a professional web design work schedule. Some key questions to ask yourself in this section are, therefore:

  1. How much do you have to spend?
  2. Is there a budget for ongoing support and maintenance?
  3. What is your budget for digital marketing?
  4. When are you looking to get started?
  5. Do you have a hard deadline?

By answering these questions, you’ll be on the right track to write a killer brief for your new website. As you can see, communication with your team is essential for the success of your project, ensuring you’ll get a professional web design experience. Taking the time to document your requirements will ensure that everybody agrees on what is needed to develop the website of your dreams.

Good luck!