How to brief your web designer
Working with a web designer essentials
This is relevant whether you already have a website or not
Websites – the function
Think from your customer’s viewpoint!
- Before your Web Designer can begin with the design/redesign of your website they will need to understand what your business does and how you would like it to be received. Do you know your ideal target market? Who do you want to call on your services? This can tell the designer how to communicate your offering.
- What do you need your visitors to be able to do on your website? Do you just want them to read about you? Do you need them to be able to look at photos in a gallery? How do you want them to contact you? Do you need a form on your site for them to fill in? Do you need to take payments on your site? Do you want your site to link to your social media accounts?
- Is your site going to be responsive? Your clients may not view your site on a mobile but you won't know that until it’s live and then it's too late. Can your web builder build into a fluid framework so your site adjusts to smaller and larger screens?
Websites – the backroom stuff!
You don’t need to know it all but you should check it is being dealt with.
- Do you want to be able to update your website content yourself on a regular basis? For this you would need a content managed system and it could mean a certain platform and monthly charges for that system.
- If you have your site built into a template system make sure you know who owns the code. If you had to move your site, would you be able to pick it up and move it or would you need it rebuilt.
- Content managed systems don't have to be expensive but you do need to be fully aware of what you will have control of once you sign up.
- You can move domain registrations around so if you are not getting a good deal you can have them transferred.
- Basic html websites don't need content managed systems so can be picked up and moved to any hosting space. You can link to or from any page internally to your site or externally. How you display that link is up to you.
Websites – The visual design
The more guidance you give the shorter the design process should be.
Do you know if you would like a modern website or a more traditional feel?
- Do you know what typefaces you like and dislike?
- Are there colours in your industry that are received better or in a negative way? Make sure you tell your designer about them. Do you know what colours you like and dislike? If you don't like them it's unlikely you'll be happy if they are a main feature of your website design.
- How do you want your social media accounts to be linked to? Do you want the standard icons that everyone has or do you want them tailored to suit your brand?
- It's important to flesh out the design before building because the design phase often throws you curveballs on how it should function as well as look and if you have built it already it's going to be more costly to change.
- You need to understand that colour is not consistent from one screen to the next. So many variables can change this on individual machines, let alone people's personal browser settings. Remember people can switch off images in browsers. They can make fonts extra large and turn off style sheets all together. So... does the content of your website still make sense in its flow.
- Copy is so important because not only does it need to speak to your human viewer it also needs to work with the search engine robots. Write your copy firstly for the benefit of the human person - he will be the one buying your product. Secondly It is also important to include keywords that will benefit the ‘Search Engine robots’.
- Keep it fresh. Once you have your website up and running don't neglect it. Add or change up the content regularly to keep it interesting.
- Google fonts is a great way to get the fonts you want into your website, again they don't charge for this use.