Project Brief

This first phase in the web design process is all about getting your ideas and requirements down on paper. A good digital agency will draw up a project brief for your website based on a few different sources.

A Project Planner or Questionnaire

This is usually a simple set of questions that not only gives the project manager an idea of who you are but also to establish the size of the project you’re after.
The questions may sound irrelevant to you at the time but they build a really useful picture of your business, who you are and how you want to be portrayed online.

Documents and Outlines

Larger companies often provide their own project briefs to digital agencies, especially when a job is up for tender. These documents provide a wealth of information and are fantastic resources for a digital agency. Don’t hesitate to get as much information as possible down on paper ready to work through with your project manager.

If you find that your documents have been rewritten into a new project brief, don’t be down hearted as this can be done for a number of reasons.

Firstly the documents provided are often written by clients who understand exactly what they want, but not necessarily the technical way to achieve it. It also comes down to the best format for the agency staff to work with and interpret the information correctly.
Secondly the digital agency will generally have their own template to use for project briefs. This template will usually split the work up into sections or phases which then make it easier to be quoted on.

Rewriting the document allows the digital agency to put the brief into terms that can be understood by both technical and non-technical readers whilst still outlining all of the functionality that the website requires.

Meetings and Phone Calls

It’s vital to collaborate with your digital agency at this point in the project. Any conversations and meetings you have will not only help the agency develop your project brief effectively, but to also get to know you and your business better.

Don’t just let the agency do all the questioning. Make sure that you are asking the questions as well. If you get to know and understand the agency you are working with, it’ll give you that peace of mind knowing that their ideas and line of thinking is compatible with your business ideals.

General Knowledge

Remember that your digital agency has done this many times before and will have a lot of knowledge about what works on the Internet and what doesn’t.

Use their knowledge to your advantage. Ask questions about other projects they have worked on and get their opinions on your ideas. However, make sure that your input has been taken on board and don’t be over influenced into using your agencies style. After all it’s your website so make sure it reflects you and who you are.

Website Functionality and Site Map

A good project brief should include a detailed list of functionality that will be incorporated into the website. A clear site map to outline the pages included in your website. With larger websites the site map may be broken down into different sections to make it easier to visualise.

There is a lot of information that goes into a project brief, but a good brief will represent a clear picture of what to expect from your digital agency. This planning stage of a website may seem tedious, but it’s vital to ensure the agency knows what’s expected of them and that you as a client are clear on what you are actually getting for your money.

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