A good website brief is essential to the development of a successful website. If possible, your brief should cover all of the following:
The Overview should lay out the current situation for the web development team. Are you planning a brand new website, an overhaul of an old site or just a cosmetic makeover?
Aims and Objectives
The Aims and Objectives section should explain what you hope to achieve by building a website. Is the site to act as a ’shop window’ for your business, e-commerce, or will it be more of a resource for information about your company?
Will you be collecting money, if so do you accept credit cards, etc?
Use this section to give us an insight into the type of website you need.
The intended audience for your website can make a huge difference to the way it looks, feels and works. It is essential to take the time to identify audiences clearly in the design brief. Please resist the temptation to say ‘everyone’, as this will lead to a website that satisfies nobody’s requirements.
The Design Specification covers how your web pages will appear on the screen – it covers everything from layout to colour. Web designers will generally interpret a Design Specification quite literally, so it is important to be as clear as possible.
Specific points to consider include:
Does your business have branding guidelines? If so, what elements should be reflected in the website design (font-face, colours, logo and branding etc)?
How will the design appeal to your audiences? This will govern how much text you want to see on a page, how you use pictures and whether you design pages specifically for a certain audience.
The Functionality Specification covers how your website will work. This includes the way people will navigate through your pages and the actions performed by any buttons or effects you want to include on the site.
It is a good idea to draw up a draft site structure as part of this section. You can do this as a basic flow-chart with boxes for pages and lines representing the links between them. This will highlight any areas that may cause additional cost and delay later in the process.
Always ensure that your Functionality Specification includes the following:
- Media requirements (just text and pictures or animation, virtual reality and sound?)
- Interactive elements (e.g. ‘Print this Page’ or ‘Email this Page to a Friend’)
- Will the site consist of ’static’ web pages or be assembled from a database?
Also consider how you will view the site as it progresses. We are able to host a ‘live’ version to which you have access over the Internet so that you can see how it is developing and provide essential feedback before it is accessible by the general public.
The Accessibility Specification gives us precise instructions on ensuring that your website is accessible to the widest possible audience and meets accessibility guidelines and legislation.
The Deliverables for a project specify exactly what we must provide by the end of the contract period. These will usually include:
- Documentation – a list of the pages along with a map of how they fit together
- Clear information on how your business will manage the site
- The website itself – usually a series of HTML pages
The Budget for your website will be a key factor in the website you receive. It is particularly important to remember that you may be charged for any changes you make to the design along the way.
It is to your advantage to provide as much information in the brief as possible to avoid incurring these additional costs. Also, interactive elements on your pages will be expensive and you should always consider whether they add significantly to the user’s experience. If not, leave them out.
Always ensure that the timetable for developing your site includes ample time for checking and evaluation prior to launch.
Also, establish clear milestones for delivery within the project, including dates for initial concepts, completion of functionality and sign-off of design.
It is important to establish clear lines of communication from the outset of the project. Make sure there is a single point of contact in your company and with our development team, and that all project-related information is passed through these two people.
dbd will be happy to work with you, as required, during this development process. We recognise that writing a website brief can be a daunting task but we are here to help you, in any way we can, through this important phase of your website creation.