Why Is a Brief Important for a New Business Website?

After getting a couple of website directives from new clients and being somewhat surprised at the lack of planning/effort, I thought I would put up a few words about web design briefs.

If you don’t tell me exactly what is needed, I spend much of my time trying to “think” about what you need. So instead of spending my time making your site look great – I waste it trying to figure out what you, the client actually need and want.

A “Brief” is a written specification of your website. We, the website developers need it and you, the client, need it.

Some clients phone me and the conversation goes like this.

“I need a website – 6-7 pages – some menus, how much?”.

Huh? OK I can quote the client, but he and I are both heading for a crash. One, he has something in mind for his pages – Flash, images, calculators, https://www.newbusinesswebsites.co.uk/ quotes etc, etc and two, I’m thinking – here’s a budget guy – so I will quote him for some simple pages. Down the line – “SMASH!”. I produce something – the client wants more site and then I want more Money. meh!.

A brief is important for a couple of reasons.

a. You get to work through what your site will do.
b. You get to chop out what you don’t need.
c. You actually get what you want.
d. You are Happy, your developer is happy and you have a long and prosperous relationship.

Here are some bits that should go into your brief.

1. Business Objectives or goals.
What are you trying to do – Are you selling? Providing Contact information? Starting an information site? You cannot do a website with out a clear goal.

2. Consider your target audience
Successful websites satisfy their user requirements. A briefing document will outline a key summary of who and where your target audience is and what you want them to gain from the website. If you have market research it is best to make a summary available.

3. Use high level functionality as a guide
Create a clear mock-up if possible. Even if you use MS Word, PowerPoint or some tool. Anything to help the designer understand what you have in mind is helpful. Show the developer where your menus, logo and content must go. Let them know if you have any special photo galleries, blogs, quote calculators or contact-us requirements.

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