Successful Website Specification

It can be a little daunting knowing quite what you need when setting up or refreshing a website. Although a good web designer will be able to advise on how your web presence can support your business it never hurts have thought through the basics. Here is one way of breaking down the areas you need to discuss with you web designer.

Firstly, be really clear what the website is trying to achieve. That sounds simple but may not be as intuitive as you think. Some initial questions you should cover to start the discussion:

  • Who will visit the website?
  • What will they want and expect from it?
  • How will those people become aware of the website?
  • What do you want people to do when they visit?

Once you’ve answered these questions they will influence what your website should be. Every decision you make should be supporting what you want to achieve with the website. Be clear about the demographic your website is targeting. The more you can tell your web designer, the more appropriate your website will be.

Style

Do you want to look professional, to look fun, to be bright and colourful or use elegant muted tones? Your websites style is not about personal preference. It is about presenting the right image to website visitors. You can be as specific or as vague as you like about this. Some clients have a very fixed idea about what they want; others give just use a couple of adjectives and then leave it to the rest to their web designer. If you have existing imagery or logos make that clear upfront. Finding the best of the competition for you web designer will help them too.

Most importantly it should be conversation. You know your business. Your web designer knows how produce websites. The best websites are created when both sides understand one another.

Content

What text do you want on the website? How will it be structured and how will it be broken across different pages. Think about a structure that will make sense to visitors. Your web designer will advise on structure and tone. They are a fresh pair of eyes who can give the all important outside opinion. Ultimately though, you know your business better than anyone else so the content should be created by you.

Functionality

Functionality is the ways your website can automatically react to visitors. For instance: calculating custom quotations, feedback forms, a full ecommerce shop or just an enquiry box.

Complex functionality has the potential to be expensive to produce. It is generally more costly change than style or content decisions. Be really sure that any functionality on your website adds value. The wrong functionality for your customers will do more harm than good.

Summary

Deciding what you’re your website should be can be a little daunting at first. Breaking a specification down into Style, Content and Functionality will make it easy to think about and agree. By documenting all of the above with your web designer you should everyone involved knows what you’re working towards. Clear specification is essential to a successful outcome. If you would like to discuss the design or refresh of your website contact eSlice today.

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