Better website design briefs

Design & Brand Strategy

2 July 2020

There is no such thing the perfect website brief, but take our word for it we’ve seen more than our fair share of imperfect ones. To be honest, that’s hardly surprising really when one considers that it's a process that usually happens every 3 years, with the remit of selecting suitable agencies whilst pulling this document together falling to the already overworked marketing department. It's not an easy task at all, and, understandably, this sort of role is sometimes outsourced entirely to a third-party.

Many of the documents we’ve looked at over the years are either light on detail, preferring instead to focus on cool features which inevitably lead to a lot of unknowns when pricing up. Another issue is that what appears to be a simple bullet point, can actually be referencing a fairly complicated piece of functionality that any agency or creative team will want to know more about, before being able to fairly and accurately estimate the time needed.

Design team due diligence

The uncertainty involved in selecting a new website supplier this way is that there are always numerous follow-up questions. Some businesses welcome the opportunity to speak to potential suppliers before receiving the final proposal, however many don’t wish to partake in anything considered prejudicial, preferring all communication to be kept to a minimum until their preferred agencies have either been whittled down or presented some element of beauty pageant pitch work (thankfully a practice far less prevalent than in the past).

For the commissioning company, this presents a problem. How can they compare proposals fairly when the agencies themselves are often reduced to guesswork and will err on the side of caution in their quote pricing. Particularly problematic are tenders sent to multiple random agencies, often containing granular detail on the business itself, the budget and timeframe, but with limited background on the sector or marketplace that it operates in. Without this vital knowledge that can only be discovered having spoken to stakeholders, agency owner's are reluctant to commit too much time or resource to winning the project.

Creative Brief photo

A fresh way to produce a brief

Only very rarely do brief’s contain truly useful information, such as Google Analytics stats, brand guidelines or functionality requirements. Even then, they can often be too prescriptive in regards to the deliverables, that it leaves little room for manoeuvre, recommendations or creativity - which is presumably why the design agency is being approached in the first place.

At DUAL, we favour a different approach entirely which we refer to as Brand Strategy. Rather than expect you to do all the upfront leg work, we prefer to help you devise a web brief completely bespoke to your business and your audience. You know the goals, challenges and growth opportunities within your industry far better than we do, so by working together to tease that information out, examining any assumptions.

The result of this collaboration is the Creative Brief document, which provides a digital roadmap towards the final website with the aims clearly defined and agreed. By treating the brief as part of the first proper engagement, rather than as a tool to first instigate, then qualify proposals, we believe that it offers more value, saves time and avoids inevitable (and potentially costly) misunderstanding.

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