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10 Things to Keep in Mind When Creating a Website Design Brief

10 Things to Keep in Mind When Creating a Website Design Brief

So, you’ve taken on a new website design client.  Before you start designing the website of their dreams, you need to make sure that you and your client are communicating and on the same page regarding their website design brief.

When you communicate clearly with your client, you can both achieve more satisfying results and develop a trustworthy relationship that will lead to a perfect solution.  

To ensure this effective communication, we suggest that you consider putting these steps in place:

1. Have a conversation with your client regarding their website problem.

Beatbox Academy  homepage.

Beatbox Academy homepage.

Ask your client to clearly present their problem for you in terms of needs and wants.  Don’t ask them to provide an exact solution, because that will leave you with hardly any creative wiggle room. 

Instead, make sure you’re fully understanding their needs and desires through the use of in-depth clarifying questions. 

If your client still insists on giving you an exact solution, assure them that you’ll take their wants and needs into account and provide them with the website they want.


2. Define your client’s product or company.

The Music Bed  website by Daniel McCarthy (USA).

The Music Bed website by Daniel McCarthy (USA).

Encourage your client to define his or her product and company in detail.  One great way to understand your client’s product is to ask him or her to explain it to you like s/he would to a target customer.  

When you do this, you’ll be familiarized with your client’s product and you’ll be able to suggest the best solution for his or her needs.


3. Define your client’s target market.

Here is an example of a persona from  Personapp .

Here is an example of a persona from Personapp.

Clarify what your client’s target market is and ask for all available information regarding the target customers.  After all, the target customers will be the users of the website!

A good resource:

  • Personapp is a great tool to create personas.


4. Figure out your client’s goals for the website features.

Target Nuclear Weapon  by The Australian Red Cross.

Target Nuclear Weapon by The Australian Red Cross.

Ask your client to be very specific on what his or her goals are for the website and website features. Remind your client that these features should follow the goals s/he set.

Encourage your client to identify the purpose for each website feature and explain it to you in detail. Knowing ‘the why behind’ could give you more ideas, which could enrich the client’s project.


5. Don’t be afraid to bring up your portfolio and ask for opinions.

Keep in mind that your client could have chosen you or your agency based on your previous work.  Make it a point to ask your client what examples s/he likes from your portfolio and why s/he likes those examples.  Doing this will give you a broader perspective as to what your client wants.


6. Figure out your client’s likes and dislikes.


Have your client show you some other examples of websites that s/he likes and doesn’t like.  

Encourage your client to be extremely specific and point out exactly what aspects s/he likes or doesn’t like such as the layout, the navigation bar, the animations, etc.

Websites in the screenshots above:


7. Ask for visual or web inspirations.


Don’t forget to remind the client that these website examples should be treated like references or inspiration. S/he should resist wanting the same thing because it might not be suitable for his/her context.

Guide the client towards looking for an original solution that answers his/her needs the best.

Website screenshots above:


8. Discuss content before starting the design process.

Manage and map your content to help you create a good web design for your client.

Manage and map your content to help you create a good web design for your client.

Most clients consider the content to be of low priority when it comes to website design. However, you probably know, that receiving the content at the end of the design process sometimes requires going back to square one.

To avoid that, discuss the content with the client right at the beginning. What content does your client have so far? Text, images, videos? Is ranking on the search engines important for your client? Does s/he know how to optimize the content for the search engines?

If so, the client should start with the keyword research as a way to define his/her content needs. If your client doesn’t have content or needs better content, how is s/he going to go about it? Will s/he hire a copywriter? Will s/he want your help to structure and define the content needs?

If so, you might need to budget more time for that.

A few resources:


9. Take a content management system into account.

Choose from the different available Content Management Systems.

Choose from the different available Content Management Systems.

A good web designer always designs a website taking into account the technical restrains of a content management system and the client’s content management plans.

Don’t forget to ask the client about this so you could keep in mind any technical restrictions and adjust your design solution accordingly.

It is a good idea to talk with a developer directly, if the client can organize that.


10. Create metrics for the project’s success.

Metric Integra  by Lo Siento (Spain).

Metric Integra by Lo Siento (Spain).

Ask your client how s/he will measure the success of the project.  That way, you’ll be able to focus on your client’s top priorities.

It’s important to remember that not every design solution is appropriate for your client’s context. Creating the best website possible for your client starts with ensuring that you understood what the client is looking for and what would be most appropriate for the client’s audience.

We hope that the tips above will help you to create a good website design brief in order to ensure the success of your project.

Good luck!

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