Providing a Website Development Brief

Often times the project brief doesn’t get the attention it deserves. To avoid miscommunication and conflict it’s best to iron out each and every knowable detail before work on a website build begins. The project brief (if done right) will be the most valuable reference for the organization’s management team and the design and development team you’re hiring to build-out your project. Never rush through this phase of the website quote process.

It may seem as though this process is time consuming and difficult, we can assure you, it’s worth every minute. This outline will help you communicate your hopes and needs. It will also allow your design and development team to catch missed items and possible conflicts while compiling a clear outline of requests, objects and goals.

In order to provide a guideline for discovery, bold items are essential to providing a brief to Spark Logix Studios. While ALL elements are useful, the bold text is highly important in gathering detail for the project build.

The Organization

  1. The Purpose and Mission of the Organization
  2. The Purpose and Mission of the Website (What’s the website’s role/objective?)
  3. Services and Products Offered
  4. The History of the Business
  5. Are there branding guidelines to follow? Provide all branding documents in detail. Explain all requested branding guidelines to adhere to on the website. Include: logo, color schemes and all other notable branding detail.

Target Audience

  1. Where do your prospects live (geographical area)?
  2. How do your prospects currently find your product/service?
  3. Explain in detail your target audience.

Project Management

  1. Who are the decision makers?
  2. How is a final decision made, approved and submitted?
  3. How frequently does the organization need updates on build progress?
  4. Will there be meetings requested by the organization? How frequent and in what format? What is expected?
  5. How are disputes to be handled?
  6. Will the decision maker &/or project manager be available for communication via Basecamp throughout the week?

Project Background

  1. How many developers (teams) have worked on this particular project? Were there issues? What were those issues?
  2. Are there any third parties assisting in this development? Who? What will be their role and how will they communicate?
  3. How long has this project been active?

Content

All Pages

  1. Complete Sitemap (all pages)
  2. A list of all current pages
  3. A list of all newly requested pages
  4. Top Level Navigation (including all levels of dropdowns in list format)
  5. Are there 301 re-directs and newly requested URLs for existing pages? Please list all.
  6. (from Design Requests: label groups of pages that will include the same design layouts)

Pages (Written Content)

  1. Which pages will keep the exact content?
  2. Which pages will require modified content?
  3. Which pages will require completely new content?
  4. What content needs to be written? Include: each page requested, expected word count and if it’s (modified content, all newly written content) | Who will write it? Will they indicate the H1 and H2’s (and so on)?
  5. Will the Title Tags and Meta Descriptions need to be re-written? Who will write them?

Images

  1. Which pages will keep all of the exact images?
  2. Which pages will require new images?
  3. Who will be providing the images?

Site Functionality

  1. Define the exact functional elements of the website (If there are functionalities more so than a User reading text on a page it should be notated in vivid detail.)
  2. Define the User’s experience. Showcase typical User flow (sometimes visuals help). What happens? What’s accomplished? List each unique User experience and specify their exact functionality flow.
  3. Will content be provided via XML or CSV?
  4. Explain all integration needs with third parties and expected server compatibility.
  5. Are there specific forms to be used? How many? Where? What fields? Any conditional logic? Who receives correspondence or confirmation?
  6. Are there specific WordPress plugins to be used? What are they? What’s their purpose?
  7. Where will the site be hosted? What is the Developer’s responsibilities in relation to hosting?

Design Requests

The items included consist of the client’s use of websites they like and how they’d like to modify those designs to fit their vision. It’s important to highlight the design requests for the following sections of the site:

  1. Header/Preheader (Top of Page and Navigation Design and Function)
  2. Body Concept (Design and Function of Homepage)
  3. Footer / PreFooter (Bottom of Page Design and Function)
  4. Internal Page Concepts (Design and Function of Internal Pages) -How many internal page layouts will there be? List the needs of each and group together (as listed in the Content section).
  5. Color Palette/Scheme (as indicated in the Organization list).

eCommerce (if applicable)

  1. Explanation of products or services to be sold online.
  2. Product Content (manual data entry, CSV, XML, another source). Who is expected to load the products and all content related to products (written content, images, attributes, price variations, titles, meta, etc)?
  3. What configurations will be needed? Attributes, Variations, Shipping, Tax Scenarios, Payment Portals, etc.
  4. Explain the shop experience in detail. What is expected? Define the User flow in detail.
  5. Detail your plans for security including SSL or off site payment processing.
  6. What reporting methods are expected? Indicate reporting needs in detail.
  7. Include terms and conditions of purchase.

Testing and Revisions

  1. What is expected to be tested and under what conditions?
  2. In addition to the Development Firm, who else is expected to test functionality?
  3. When will testing take place and for how long?
  4. Changes and revisions in relation to testing: Who is responsible? How is it paid?

Project Schedule

  1. Specify all deliverables and milestones for the Development Team.
  2. Specify all of your deliverables and milestones.

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