Writing up a web design brief is a vital part of any web design project. It’s used to ensure all members involved in the project are on the same page and ready to get to work.

It also serves to outline the requirements and scope of the project clearly.

There is nothing worse than having to go back to the drawing board in the middle of the project because a web design brief wasn’t developed at the start.

In this section, we will explain why a web design brief is critical to the overall success of your web design project. We’ll then take an in-depth look at each section a proper brief should have.

The Benefits of Creating a Web Design Brief

Writing up a web design brief has enormous benefits. It allows you to plan for and get ahead of potential issues down the line that could derail your project.

In the long run, this can save you time, money, and energy. Not to mention the headaches you will avoid along with unnecessary stress and fatigue.

With so much coordination and planning needed to navigate a web design project, project management is critical. Let’s take a look at how the web design brief helps your team stay ahead of the curve.

Ensure Everyone on Your Team Is On The Same Page

Before you can start your project, you need to make sure every member of your team is on the same page.

Meaning, everyone must be aligned with the project requirements, goals, and objectives. Plus, every individual and department must know what final deliverables they are responsible for.

It sounds like a lot, right? Well, that’s because it is.

However, by developing a web design brief, you can clearly outline this for your entire team.

Members will be able to ask questions, voice potential concerns, and give pushback on unrealistic project timelines. Your entire team will feel more included – boosting morale and productivity.

It also allows you to evaluate your web designer and make sure they fully understand your business and what you are trying to achieve before they start designing. Here, you can correct any misconceptions before they come back to haunt you down the line.

Getting your project off to a good start is critical, and a web design brief will help you do just that.

Get Ahead of Project Roadblocks

Ideally, by creating a web design brief, your project will go smoothly, and your team will hit each deadline.

However, we know this is rarely the case. Sometimes issues and problems arise that no amount of planning could have foreseen.

As the saying goes, in theory, practice and theory are the same, but in practice, they aren’t.

However, many of the roadblocks you will end up encountering can be planned for and worked around in advanced. And that is precisely what a web design brief allows you to do.

By having one central document that serves as the project roadmap, everyone will be able to plan for the project.

Plus, teams can reference it later on. That’s very important, as often in the middle of the project it can be easy to forget why you’re doing what you’re doing.

What a Web Design Brief Looks Like

Hopefully, you fully realize the value of the web design brief.mHowever, what does a web design brief look like?

Good question. Below, we’ve broken down the key sections we generally include when sending a brief over to a client.

An Overview of the Client’s Business

Before your web designer can create a website to further your business goals, they need to have a solid understanding of the ins and outs of your business.

The first section we include in any web design brief is an outline of our client’s business. Typically, this is a couple of short paragraphs and at a fairly high level.

Here, we provide a general overview of the services/products they provide, their history, and the value they offer to their customers.

We also list out any unique characteristics of the company that can be leveraged to position the brand or develop a unique selling proposition.

The main point of this section is for us to make sure we correctly understand our client’s business. This allows them to correct any misconceptions before we start the project.

An Outline of the Web Design Project

The next section we include in the web design brief is a general overview of the web design project.

In this section, we discuss the rationale for the project, scope, and key deliverables. We may also list out the relevant teams and point of contact, depending on the size of the project.

Since many of our clients have never worked on a project like this, we find this overview to be an essential part of the web design brief.

Key Objectives and Goals for the Website

The next section we include in the web design brief is a general overview of the web design project.

In this section, we discuss the rationale for the project, scope, and key deliverables. We may also list out the relevant teams and point of contact, depending on the size of the project.

Since many of our clients have never worked on a project like this, we find this overview to be an essential part of the web design brief.

If you haven’t already done this, check out the post below to learn how to set goals for your website.

Website Goals: Why You Need To Set Them Before Designing

An Analysis of our Client’s Target Audience

Build it, and they will come. Except, not really.

A website must be designed and developed for a specific audience in mind. Visitors must feel welcome and be able to make a personal connection with your brand from the second your site loads.

As the saying goes, “if you are selling to everyone, you are selling to no one.”

That’s why we write up a brief description of the primary target market(s) of our client’s customers. This allows us to confirm (or correct) the research we’ve done and will help us formulate the messaging of the website down the line.

Knowing the audience you are designing for is key to producing a great online experience for visitors to your website. That’s why we confirm the characteristics of the target audience before any design work gets started.

Request for Creative Assets

Many creative assets are needed to bring a web design project from concept to completion.

Things like brand style guides, images, videos, blogs, wireframes, and copy are just some of the creative assets your team will need to produce.

Moreover, the bigger the project, the more assets are needed. Meaning, coordination will be even more key.

The reason why outlining the assets needed is that some deliverables may be dependent on others to move along. A project can easily be held up due to the failure to plan around specific assets.

That’s why listing out the necessary creative assets and deliverables on the web design brief is so important. With so many eyes (hopefully) looking at the doc, someone will be able to notice anything that is missing.

Establishment of Web Design Project Timeline

Lastly, it is imperative that you outline a project roadmap that lists the significant milestones of the project and when they should be completed by, as well as the projected launch date.

Creating a timeframe will help your team prioritize tasks and work hard to develop a great website in a timely manner.

Not creating a timeline can lead to an environment where ideas are debated endlessly, and no decisions get made. There’s nothing worse than that.

Including a timeline in your web design brief will keep all sides accountable and increase the chances of the project getting done on time.

Conclusion

The web design brief is a key part of a professional web design process. It ensures that all team members are on the same page, there are no misconceptions, and provides a clear project roadmap.

Not writing up a web design brief is a big risk. It can lead to a disorderly project, poor communication, and missed deadlines.

We can tell you from experience that a web design brief dramatically improves the odds of producing a successful business website. That’s why we always recommend writing up a web design brief for projects (and if you’re the client, ask your designer to write one up).

The project does not move forward until the client has reviewed the brief and approved it. This checkpoint forces all parties to think, organize, and plan.

With those three things, your project will be in a much better position to succeed.

The Web Design Brief: Why You Shouldn’t Start Designing Without One

Bailey Canning

Bailey Canning

Bailey Canning is a digital marketing consultant & web designer based in Northern New Jersey. Right out of college, he founded Inbound Web Development - a marketing-focused web development firm that helps small businesses generate leads and grow online. Feel free to reach out at bailey@inboundwebdevelopment.com to discuss a project, or be featured as a guest on the podcast Business Talks.

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