When you make the decision to set up a new website or improve your existing website there are plenty of things to consider. When you approach a designer or agency you are likely to be faced with important questions about the aims of your website so they can get a feel for what you do and what you are looking for.
This is why before you go out looking for the right agency or individual for you, you need to have answers to these questions. This might sound daunting and difficult if you are at the very beginning of your process but it really doesn’t require too much detail – just the basics that relate to the objectives of your site.
Don’t get me wrong – no one is likely to turn you away and refuse your project if you don’t have a brief, if you contacted Pedalo our sales team would work with you during the enquiry stage to get this information pinned down and help you understand what you need to be thinking about to enable us to provide the best possible solutions for your project.
This post will simply give you some tips and an idea about what you should think about when going ahead with a new web design project as it will help you see what your project requires from you and will help speed things along.
1. The background of the organisation
The first and foremost detail to provide is what you or your organisation does. The type of your website you will require will vary dependent on your background so any agency or designer you contact would need to know this.
2.Your aims for the website
This is very important and will shape the ideas presented for your website. For example, if a charity approached us wanting a site to increase donations we would consider this in the design phase and make sure that we think carefully about the placing of the donate button and would suggest functionality to enable donors to submit donations through the website.
If you outline your objectives for the website from the offset it will be so much easier for you to create a definitive plan of how you will use the website to meet those objectives.
3. Who is your main audience
This is important for different reasons. The audience you are trying to reach will influence the design as the designer would think about what appeals to them and what they are likely to need from the website. If you are launching a site targeted at young children then a designer would probably think about using playful fonts, bright colours and lots of imagery.
Another reason why this is important is because of accessibility considerations. If your site will be used by people who are elderly or people who may have difficulty with their vision you need to think about adding features on your website such as a font resize button to allow them to increase the size of the text on the site to suit their needs.
4. How you will manage the website
By this I mean are you looking for a website you can update and manage yourself. This answer is usually a yes and is not a problem, we always recommend open source tools to our clients which means they can update the site at their own convenience and the system is not bespoke to us so you are not tied in.
It is also an idea to consider who might be updating the website once the site has gone live – will it be a team of people? We offer training for our clients once the project has been completed to make sure they are ready to take over and are happy going forward. It is important to think about how many people may need training so you can ensure this is included in the time schedule for both parties.
5. What technical elements you require
This includes elements such as whether or not you require the website to be mobile and tablet friendly or if you require domain and hosting provision. We can talk through the options with you before you make a definitive decision and we would provide information so you can make an informed decision and one that suits your needs.
6. Examples of websites you like and dislike
This is really helpful as it gives us an idea of what kind of designs you like. We will evaluate the examples you send over and give you suggestions on what we think of them and how well they suit the objectives of your website.
This is a tricky one to answer. I understand that without having a real understanding of the approach a designer or agency takes you may feel apprehensive about saying how much you have to spend. The truth is this question is one of the most important because in actual fact, how much you have to spend gives us an idea of what solutions best meet your project.
If you have a high technical specification and low budget it is really important to share that if you want to get the best advice to meet your needs. A rough guideline of what you are looking to spend can be really helpful in understanding how we can meet your needs.
If you have a set launch date for your website that ties in with an overall marketing campaign or event it is best to say from the very beginning especially if it is a tight deadline so that everyone has a clear understanding of what needs to be done and by when.
9. Ongoing support
I mentioned earlier about the training and outlining how many people you want to train. You also should think about the ongoing requirements for the website. This includes things like, is there a phase 2 of the website project, do you want us to provide you with traffic reports or an annual review of your website. You can make those decisions during the project process rather than at the offset if needs be but it would be really beneficial for you to think about this so you can ensure that you have thought about your website going forward.
10. Offline promotion
It is a good idea to create a buzz around the launch of your website whether it is a new project or a revamp. Use social media tools such as twitter to let people know it’s coming soon – especially closer to the go live date.
If you have a campaign running alongside your site with marketing materials it would be good to let us know so we have an idea of what is happening and also so we can see any existing materials and the design of them. Any existing branding guidelines that you have should also be made clear.
Although this may seem like a lot of information, don’t panic! There is no need for it to be overly detailed or set in stone…we can work with you to get some of this information tied down so that we can provide effective solutions and give you the best advice possible.