Writing website specifications can be hard work, but “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”. Find out what the key parts of an effective website brief are and why they’re important.
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When working in the development of digital marketing platforms, capturing the client’s specific business needs and contexts is vital to reach the optimal solution. However, more often than not the need to clearly define requirements goes overlooked (it’s actually one of the most common problems that cause projects to derail!).
Whether tailored for a leading web content management system (WCMS) like Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) or an open-source platform like Drupal, every website project should start with a specification brief. This should outline its scope and objectives, along with any deadline or budget constraints, but also go as deep as possible into particulars. Below we've outlined 8 key questions you should be prepared to answer next time you're considering a new website.
1 – What’s your company or brand overall business strategy?
A deeper understanding of your business will help your digital partner better identify the critical elements that should be integrated into your project.
2 – Why are you launching this project?
Detailing what’s your digital strategy, what your digital landscape currently looks like, as well as pain points or missing functionalities are key to match the solution to your needs and vision for the future.
3 – Who will be using your website?
This not only helps determine if it’s a corporate website, a blog, an online shop, something in between or even a mix, but it also positions your brand authentically in the eyes of your audience.
4 – What are your corporate core values and how do you express them to your visitors?
Provide all brand guidelines, manuals and any other materials that the site needs to match with in some way, as well as any websites with designs that you like.
5 – Do you have a completed site architecture for the new website or will this be part of the scope of work?
Outline the content structure, number of pages as well as languages or regions you aim to target. Include different types of pages and content, as well as any page wireframes if you have them ready.
6 – What types of actions do you want your visitors to take on your website?
Describe the functionalities or options on your current website that you plan to keep, as well as any gaps or frustrations. A good exercise is also looking at what your current competitors’ websites have that you wish to have.
7 – Do you have a budget you are trying to meet?
This will help to match your website specifications to a realistic cost projection, as well as determine whether to phase developments, readjust priorities or propose alternative solutions.
8 – What is your time frame for total project completion?
Ensure you provide a realistic timeline for the project, with sufficient time for all the website development stages, including content authors training, content creation/migration and translation.
9 – Who will be involved in the project?
Appoint the person or team who will be the contact point for the project, who will be managing the website upkeep, if there are any other contractors involved, as well as whether your team will need training for making website updates, content publishing guidelines, and so on.