What is a web development / design brief?

A development / design brief is an essential document that you produce for your web developer that covers the task at hand, the objectives of the project, the strategic direction of the design and the elements that the website must contain.

Taking the time to create this document ensures that both the client and designer are on the same wavelength throughout the design process and leaves no room for second-guessing, assumptions and mistakes.

As a client, the intrinsic result of writing a good brief is that you have considered in great detail what you want to achieve from the project. Your expectations are far more likely to be realistic and the communication during the process of building your site will run smoothly.

Every project is different, therefore the guide below may vary depending on the project.

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How do I write a brief?

The first thing is to ensure you get executive or management buy-in before you approach the developer / designer. If key stakeholders of your business have participated in defining the goals of the website, you can be confident in handling the rest of the project.

The next stage is to answer the series of questions below. By systematically working through these you will consider everything you need to in order to provide a web designer with enough information to meet, or indeed exceed, your expectations and help you achieve your business goals.

1. What is your budget?

Too often, clients are reluctant to discuss budget in the initial stages of communication. If this is a sensitive subject for you, consider these points:

  • By being open and frank about your available budget, we can create a realistic proposal for the project and manage your expectations from the start.
  • A freelancer may seem cheaper initially but you are paying for one individual’s skills and experience.
  • A web develment company with marketing knowledge brings the combined skills and experience of its team, and the reputation and recommendations that come from working with a greater number of clients. The support and ongoing site maintenance is often better too!
  • When do you need the site to be completed and live? By being honest about budget and timeframe, we can plan an appropriate work schedule.

2. What is your business?

  • How big is the company and how many employees?
  • What is the history?
  • What are the company values?
  • What are the short term and long term goals of the business?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • How do you differ from your competitors?
  • What is your USP (Unique Selling Point) ?
  • Who are your customers and prospects?
  • What ten words would you use to describe your company?

Don’t assume we will already understands everything about your business. A local company’s website will be entirely different to that of a global company. Is one of the aims of a new site to appeal to a wider audience perhaps? Or meet the needs of your current market more efficiently? The demographic of your target market will significantly affect the look and feel of the site. An explanation of the business decision behind getting a new site is often really helpful.

3. What kind of website do you want?

  • Why do you want a new website?
  • What did you like and dislike about the old one?
  • What DON’T you want from a new site?
  • What other websites do you like and what is it you like about them? (These don’t have to be industry specific!)
  • What do you want your customers to do with the site? (Is it to encourage purchase, to inform or educate? etc)
  • What are your long term plans for the site?
  • Who will liase with the designer and provide copy and images?
  • Who will be responsible for updating the site? (How tech-savvy are they? This may prompt a discussion of maintenance agreement options)

Be specific about what you like about another website – is it the overall design, typography, layout, colours, images, ease of use, the atmosphere the design creates etc? If you have different long term plans for the site, we may be able save you money in the long run by developing a CMS that can accommodate different requirements in the future.

4. Content and Function

  • What pages do you want and how many?
  • How much content is there and when/by whom will it be written?
  • Do you want to gain subscribers? (RSS or newsletter)
  • Do you require certain social integration with your networks? (Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook etc)
  • Do you require a site search facility?
  • Do you require a Googlemap?
  • Do you require an online form?
  • Do you need a Domain for your website?
  • Do you require Hosting for Website & Emails?

By answering all of these questions you have written a great design brief. To write the ultimate one, however, you can provide a sketch of page layout, of headings, of how you want pages to interact with each other, of where you want certain images placed etc .

Are you ready to give it a try?

Send us an Email us or Call +27 21 913 7872 to find out more. For our UK clients, call +44 (0) 1344 266033.
We will gladly send you details on costs, what is involved and what we can do for your company.

Contact Us

Phases of the Web Development Process

The Web design process is not unlike other communication processes. If you are familiar with developing a creative brief, a public relations plan, a communication plan or a new product, the phases will look very familiar. The phases of the Web development process include the following steps.

1. Defining the Project

Organizations have a need to communicate to stakeholders their positions on issues and make audiences aware of their products and services. Many times the communication need, such as a Web site, is triggered by a change of strategic direction or a new offering. Identifying the reasons of the site’s existence and what it is supposed to achieve are the first step in the process. The goals and objectives that are established at the outset of the project inform all future decisions, from site structure and naming conventions used in the navigation to the visual design of the site.The first step in the definition process is interviewing the organization’s stakeholders to identify the strategic goals of the site, understand key audience needs and identify key competitors. The goal of the definition step is to identify three measurable key outcomes that are directly related to the strategic goals of the organization. The challenge in this step is limiting the number of goals. Most organizations will have more goals than they know what to do with, and each department believes their individual unit’s goals are the most important. Being able to bring focus to organizational goals will make developing the site easier and make the final product more effective.

Once all the information and assessments gathered from the stakeholder interviews are completed, they should be collected in a well-formatted project brief. (The assignment for Lesson 4 will contain a project brief outline you can refer to.) The brief contains the following elements.

  • Project summary: Outlines the general overview of the project, organizational background, the environment the organization exists in, the people the organization serves and the unique value it provides to its audience.
  • Goals: What are two or three specific measurable goals that the site should achieve? Clear goals allow the Web team the ability to focus on what will provide the most impact and move the organization forward.
  • Target audiences: Who will help the organization achieve its stated goals? Most organizations speak to multiple organizations (such as customers, stakeholders, internal audience, suppliers, partners, shareholders and/or government institutions). Audience profiles include demographics, psychographics, brand perceptions, audience needs, online goals and tasks routinely performed.
  • Messages: What are the key messages that attract and motivate key audiences to engage with the organization? What are the key brand messages that help differentiate the organization from its peers?
  • Competition: Who are rival organizations that provide similar offerings to your audience? Include an overview of competitive organizations’ Web sites, considering visual branding, messaging, navigation, calls to action and key differentiators.
2. Project Scope
3. Wireframes and Site Architecture
4. Visual Design
5. Site Development
6. Site Testing
7. Launch
8. Site Maintenance

The more specific you are about your goals the better!

Communication is everything!

Are you ready to give it a try?

Send us an Email us or Call +27 21 913 7872 to find out more. For our UK clients, call +44 (0) 1344 266033.
We will gladly send you details on costs, what is involved and what we can do for your company.

Contact Us

About us

E:

We are a web development agency located in Cape Town, South Africa & Berkshire, United Kingdom. We design great looking websites. We are CSS enthusiasts. We specialise in Content management systems. We are a professional Team with over 30 years of experience. Learn more.

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Office South Africa

E: za [AT] raramuridesign [DOT] com
T:
 +27 21 913 7872 
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Mon - Fri 09h00-16h30 (ZA)

Office United Kingdom

E: uk [AT] raramuridesign [DOT] com
T
: +44 (0) 1344 266033 
F: +44 1344 266069
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