How to create the “perfect” brief for designing a new website

An age old tale – you write up a brief for your new website and hand it over to the agency your business has hired. “A sleek website, earthy colours, and a working mobile version”. The agency gets back to you telling you they have everything they need, but a few weeks down the road – the website isn’t shaping up the way you would have hoped. Several feedback sessions later and a couple of weeks off deadline, you’re left feeling frustrated and annoyed that it’s taken this long. How can this be avoided?

Having realistic expectations is probably the first step. But in all honesty, the amount of time you spend on your initial brief and expected deadline is directly related to the quality of work you will receive when dealing with almost any web design agency.

Some important details to provide in your brief

Web design agencies strive to give clients their preferred and desired results. But it isn’t always easy, especially if the brief isn’t detailed enough or if the goals of the client are not made clear in any shape or form. Not having a detailed brief can result in a lot of extra billed hours and unnecessary changes that could have been avoided entirely if the whole picture was known from the start.

To avoid all of this frustration and disappointment we recommend a simple process of “asking and answering questions”. Some of these could include;

  1. What are you trying to accomplish with your website? Are you looking for conversions, lead-generation, or just awareness? Perhaps there’s something else you’re looking for that is specific to your industry – mention this.
  2. Do you know who your target audience is? Have you got a “user persona” ready to go?
  3. Do you have a brand kit that dictates your colours, themes, and fonts?
  4. Are there any competitors that have features or aesthetics that you like and would want incorporated into your website?
  5. Do you have any technical requirements for your website? Adding in a shop or checkout solutions?

Deadlines and how to set them

Wanting a website up and running as soon as possible is directly tied to your brief and your expectations in terms of completion. A thorough discussion with your agency about their timelines and expected turnaround can help alleviate any delays or setbacks in the future. Understanding how long each part of the process takes is crucial to setting a realistic deadline for your website.

Once again, the simplest and most effective way to avoid any setbacks is to ask the appropriate questions, some of these could include;

  1. What is your track record of working to timelines agreed upon during the scoping phase?
  2. Are extensions regularly needed in cases where there is no scope creep from the client?
  3. Do you have any experience designing websites that are in “my” industry – if so could I see some examples?
  4. Could you provide a breakdown of the different phases of work your agency will be doing and the expected timeframe for each of them?

Understanding the amount of work that the agency will be doing for you can really bring things into perspective and help you grasp why and what will take the most time, giving you a realistic expectation of when everything will be ready and good to go.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Having a clear cut idea of what you are after is well and good but we would highly recommend considering the opinions of professionals as well, especially ones that you are hiring to create your website.

For example, seeing a competitor website that has a lot of animations and videos could inspire you to want the same thing for your company website, but is it a realistic expectation? Will it slow down your website and hinder functionality? Having an open discussion with your design agency can help broaden your perspective and perhaps open up other pathways for you to go down, ones that you haven’t considered before that fit your brand image and company a lot better than that of your competitors.

Technical decisions and know-how

There are normally two types of clients. One that knows everything there is to know about website creation (Type A) and one that has absolutely no idea and requires hand-holding at almost every step of the process (Type B).

Developing a good website involves you knowing which category you fall under as a client. Both types of clients come with their advantages and disadvantages so don’t fret, we’ve got you covered either way.

If you are Type A, we would highly recommend a level of flexibility as mentioned in the previous section of this article. Major decisions like colour themes, aesthetic, and overall vibe are all yours to manipulate and adjust according to your requirements, but when it comes to the tools and software used to design the website in question, you should leave this entirely up to the agency you are hiring. You did hire them for a reason after all. 

If you try to make every decision for them, you will inhibit any creative process that they might have, resulting in a very drab and uninspired finished product

Type B clients should follow all the advice in this article and we can assure you that you will most likely end up with a finished product that you enjoy.

Where do we go from here?

We hope this article was helpful to you and if you’re in the market for a new website or even a revamp of your existing one, don’t hesitate, get in touch with us and book a FREE consultation. We specialise in all things software related and are in this business to help people.  Shoot us an email at or call us on (07) 4599 7300 Mon-Fri :9am-4pm

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