Building a shared understanding of your needs, wants, and vision for your website
The reasons for working with a web designer are varied. You will have already made the decision to have a website built or revamp your existing website. You might also have a reasonably clear idea of how you want it to look and function, perhaps you’ve envisioned some great design elements for your site, or you’ve got the perfect idea in mind for a new or improved logo.
Similarly, you might be unsure whether to keep your well-established brand logo and colour scheme, or completely re-brand it, or just update one element such as the logo or the existing colour scheme separately. When it comes to website design, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination and brand needs, so, with this in mind, here’s how to communicate your website design ideas and needs to your web designer:
1. Translate your ideas to the screen
At Jezweb, we do everything in our power to build a site that looks just the way you envisioned and functions the way you want it to (or, perhaps, even better!). The most frequent stumbling block for website designers in general, however, is teasing out our clients’ ideas and putting them into action.
Often this difficulty stems from the client’s difficulty in articulating the ideas they have in a way that the project manager or web designer understands and can apply. Without concrete design instructions, it can be difficult for the designer to deliver a product that you are happy with.
A good project manager will have a wealth of skills and experience in working with a wide variety of clients and gathering information that can be used to develop a set of project requirements from which web designers can take instruction. Despite this, it can sometimes be a challenge to translate the design concepts that you have in your mind’s eye into a workable design brief that the web designer can use as a blueprint to build the site you envision.
2. Communicate effectively your ideas to your web designer
The best way to communicate your design ideas to your web designer is to create a basic design brief. Your design brief needs to contain the definite information that your designer needs to know about or to include in your website, as well as some examples of things you like, and the best time to provide them with this information is right at the start.
Sharing your ideas at the beginning provides the designer with the opportunity to discuss how your ideas will work on a web page in order to avoid the possibility of disappointment later.
In a perfect world, your designer wants to absolutely nail a website’s design first time, every time, even if the reality is that it is sometimes impossible for this to happen. While the web designer might deliver a great option, or deliver exactly what the brief asks for, if you’re not quite sure what you want, or the brief isn’t fully thought out and comprehensive, it’s less likely the designer will deliver a design you’re happy with. Here’s Jezweb’s guide to effective web design communication, to put an end to as much of the headache as possible, leaving you with a positive, uplifting, and ultimately profitable, web design experience.
Write a basic design brief
Here’s quick rundown of the type of information you should include in your design brief. Each bullet point is described in more detail further down:
- Business purpose and target market
- Brand, logo and colour scheme
- Website goals
- Your competitors
- Inspiration – Existing sites, designs or functions that you like
- Website content providers
Business purpose and target market
Your web designer should be advised of your business or organisation’s products or services. This knowledge will give the web designer a clearer understanding of the industry within which your business operates and your target market. With this information in mind, they are more able to align the style of your website with your industry and communicate this to visitors.
It is also important to identify your target audience – that is, the preferred end-user of your website. Who are you trying to reach? Consider the demographics of this group, including their age, genders, needs and consumption habits. Having this information at hand early in the design process will help the web designer successfully gear the design toward the preferences of your target audience in a way that will resonate with them.
Brand, logo and colour scheme
Advise your design consultant about your established brand, with a colour scheme and a logo that you are happy with, and they can accommodate these in your website design. Likewise, if you are looking to rebrand – say, by modernising your logo or tweaking your colour scheme, but want to keep elements of your existing colour scheme and/or logo – this needs to be communicated to your web designer.
If you don’t have a logo or haven’t come to a final decision on the colour scheme you want, tell your web designer as soon as possible. A good web design company will have a graphic designer who can help you come up with a logo and assist you with branding. They will be able to work with you to develop your ideas and give you advice on which colours look good together, and in what ratios, and may be able to factor in the psychology of colour to influence the messages your website’s colour scheme sends to visitors.
Let your website designer know what the goals of your website are, or what problems you are hoping it will help to solve.
- Is your website going to be used simply as a project gallery, to showcase your work?
- Are you hoping to use your website to increase the number of enquiries, or generate leads and sales?
- Is your website expected to increase awareness of your brand and improve your online presence?
- Is your goal to improve your website’s search engine ranking?
Providing this information to your web designer will help them to optimise your website’s design and content.
Let your web designer know about your list of your main competitors. This enables them to highlight your key points of difference, to help set you apart from your competition.
Inspiration – Existing sites, designs or functions that you like
Make a list of any sites you have seen that you like, whether it be the colour scheme, the content, design elements, animation, graphics, or the way the site works.
Website content providers
Let your designer know whether you will be writing or providing all the written content for your website, or whether you will hire a copywriter. A good web design firm will be able to provide you with professional copywriting services and, if your budget can stretch to include these services, it is strongly recommended that you take advantage of them. This allows your web design firm to take a holistic approach to your website design, so that the content and design can be developed simultaneously to complement each other and create a better, more cohesive end-product.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
…P.S. functionality is the small stuff!
Web designers cater to your potential customers (we call them users), typically focusing on user experience and user interaction. They work to combine artistic visual elements with navigational and interactive elements to enhance the user experience and influence user engagement, optimise usability and create a truly interactive and enjoyable experience.
Functionality: Keep it simple
Web designers have the knowledge, skills, and experience to build the functionality your website needs, so you don’t need to worry too much about the nitty gritty. Provide your web designer with a basic idea of how you want the site to work, considering the needs of your business or the nature of the services you offer, and you can then leave the specifics up to your web designer. Easy!
Functionality: Be contactable
At the highest level, this means you should think about whether you want to include social media integration and Call to Action (CTA) buttons scattered throughout your site (such as “Call Now” or “Get a Quote”).
If you do, you need to consider whether you want to include a simple contact form or an online quote system to gather the information you need to formulate a quote quickly and easily. You can also decide whether you want your site to have an e-commerce function to support an online store, or a booking system that your clients can use to schedule an appointment or book a room.
So long as you communicate these factors to your web designer, they will be able to build the functionality you need and deliver a fully optimised website that looks great on every platform.
Be decisive and give clear and constructive feedback
Web designers work best when given clear, concise, and constructive feedback. If your web designer provides you with a design, take the time to look over it and compile all your feedback into a document to avoid sending through multiple requests with single changes – the process of building your new website takes longer when your web designer must keep going into your website design to make minute changes. It is far easier and faster to make changes when they are compiled into one request, than having to continuously make single small adjustments.
Likewise, be clear and decisive. Try to avoid saying things like “I want it to look ‘classy’” or “try to make it ‘pop’!” – if you have a colour scheme, font, or other design elements that you need or want to use, let the designer know upfront. If, on the other hand, you’re open to leaving some design decisions to the web designer, trust that they know what they are doing.
Web designers will often push you for information or ask lots of questions, to ensure they have the information they need regarding your business and your design preferences, however some of the design decisions your web designer makes will be prompted by a need to ensure your website is optimised for both desktop and mobile devices and that it will load quickly and efficiently.
At Jezweb we will factor in user experience and interaction, your business goals, SEO, marketing, and brand positioning when designing your website, so it’s important to trust that they have made some design decisions based on their knowledge and expertise. Having said that, if there is something you hate, it’s important to communicate that as soon as possible so that the crinkles can be ironed out.
Jezweb can help you build a fully optimised website with a design you love
At Jezweb, we have a team of fantastic web designers who can help you to bring your website vision to life. We will help you come up with concrete design requirements and build you a website that not only looks amazing but has the functionality required for it to work the way you need it to, so your website can meet all your business goals.
For more information about how Jezweb can help you to translate your design concepts into a cracking website that you and your target audience will love, contact Jezweb on 1300 024 766 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, fill out our contact form to have one of our friendly and super helpful staff members contact you as soon as possible.