Whether or not you’ve been part of a web design project, chances are you’ve at least heard someone’s opinion of their experience with one. It could be singing their praise about how amazing their new site turned out to being the most awful experience ever. So how can there be so much variance between design projects?
Have a plan
Having a plan goes far beyond knowing the ultimate goal. Having a plan means both the web designer and customer have a clear understanding of the steps it will take to reach that final goal as well as having an idea of the different phases of the project?
The best way to accomplish this is to deliver a design brief to your web designer. A good design brief can not only provide all the project information and expectations on paper, but its a perfect opportunity to show what kind of website you are looking for. It is also good practice to include the design brief as part of your contract. A good design brief should have the following elements:
Establish points of contact (including subject matters etc)
- Website Objectives
- What are the main challenges and goals for this website?
- What does success look like for this website?
- What does failure look like for this website?
SMART Goal Creation
- What are the Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely goals of this website?
Are there current goals set in place for the website?
- Traffic? Leads? Customers? Revenue?
- Sitemap – Content – Imagery – Stylesheet
- Completion date – When is the first round of designs due? Is it just the homepage or are sub pages included in the first round of deliverables as well?
- Revisions – How long is the revision period? How many revisions are there? What can be included in the revision process?
- Imagery / Content – When is final content and imagery due? Who provides what? Are there any additional costs involved?
- Testing – When will testing begin? How long will testing last? What will be tested?
- Launch – What is the launch date? Any redirects necessary?
- Next Steps – What happens after launch? What sort of follow up is required? Any ongoing maintenance or additional work?
- Any domain, hosting, social or other credentials necessary to complete the project.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- If SEO will be part of the project, what considerations will be taken during the design and development of the site to ensure good optimisation practices?
Without quality content, it doesn’t matter how great all your initial ideas are and chances are you will not be happy with the finished product. This is why relevant and quality content is so important.
Your content must ALWAYS be targeted to your target buyer personas. Every aspect of your content should focus on solving for your customers.
The most important piece of advice I give to my clients looking to have a web redesign, it is to invest a great deal of time and money if necessary, into producing quality content.
Whether this means investigating in a Video crew or photographer to come into the business to take some professional photos or film of the staff, location, and activities. Or it might be hiring a professional content writer to write the verbiage for the site. Either way, the investment you make in having quality content will have the greatest Return of Investment (ROI) of any aspect in your web design project.
Make sure both you and the Web Design company ask each other lots of questions.
If I have a solid understanding for your company and your project, I can determine if we are a suitable fit. And more importantly, I can determine if my team can successfully execute your project.
The more questions I ask, the more prepared I am to offer a solution. As the buyer, you should want a solution and not just an estimate.
Identify and Articulate Your Requirements
At Silicon Technix, every web design client we take on is unique. Our goal is to obtain a solid understanding of a client’s needs and adapt our standard development plan or process to meet those needs.
Many times we receive requests for proposals where the client has not yet thought about the website’s functional requirements or even what type of visual presentation they would like.
A lot of enquires will include the word “simple” but the reality is that the design of the website is not be at all simple.
If you have a list of aesthetic or functional needs in mind, document these and present them with your inquiry. This will provide a great starting point for discussion
For more simple projects this can be determined within the sales and scoping process. For more complex projects, it would be best to have paid discovery phase where a trusted WordPress developer is paid to work through the definition and documentation of your needs.
Require Proper Documentation and Agree All Pertinent Items in Writing
The more your web design company and yourself document at the start of the initial project how you perceive the final website to look like, the less you’ll debate about this at the latter stages of the design process.
The more project deliverables are defined and documented up front, the less confusion and misunderstandings will occur midway through the project. The proposal is there to give a project outline and it will include terms and conditions. It is carried out so both parties know exactly what will be delivered. This documentation also gives you, the buyer, an opportunity to review and validate if what is expected to be delivered will match your expectations for the project.
The proposal also gives a baseline for both discussion and modification if necessary as well as a reference point if there is confusion later on in the project.
If at this stage, the proposal lacks lacking in details, ask for more specifics. If you feel something was missed, ask for it is to be added. If something doesn’t make sense, ask for clarification.
Ongoing Communication is Critical
The cornerstone of any great design project is communication. Without communication, your project is doomed from the start. Communication must be open and often, from the beginning of the project, until even after the project is finished.
From the client’s perspective, they usually have an idea of what they want in their heads. However, it is often hard for non-creative types of people to explain what they want their end Website to look like. This could cause the entire project to get off on the wrong foot.
At Silicon Technix, we normally put together a creative brief for our clients to read through at the beginning of the project to help guide them through the creative process.
By following all of these key points, will help you to have a successful web design project.
By maintaining an open dialogue from the beginning, where you ask questions and provide feedback throughout the process, you will make sure that expectations are aligned and both yourself and the web design company can ensure that the finished objective of a satisfactory website is met.