Friday, May 25, 2007

Some pointers on briefing for website design

Time is a commodity that is in very short supply for most people. And, I've found that my clients are no exceptions.

Working without a proper brief has been a fact of life for many years now and I've worked my way around this by filling in the blanks as much as possible. I take the attitude that it's better to take a communication job, be it an ad, a brochure or press release to the next stage ASAP.

Giving the client a word doc (for a press release), or a PDF for an ad or brochure, for him/her to look at is easier and gets the job done faster than waiting for a better brief, or more material to take a job to the next stage.

There are however some jobs that I just cannot take any further without a proper brief. One of these is the preparation website.

First of all, why do you need a website? What are you going to use this for? Who do you expect to influence? What message do you want to leave with them?

These are the first considerations for any brief for a communication piece. With a website, more things have to be considered.

After answering the above, one has to consider the content for inclusion. Will there be product brochures, flyers, maybe whole catalogues? How will these be grouped? Are they going to be in separate pages? What about photos?

As photos have to be optimised for the web, these have to be small in size for quick download. And, with the medium able to use JPEGs ( a lossy format), quality of the photos need not be super quality. (No out-of-focus shots, please.)

Also, considerations as to how often these have to be changed. Will the website be purely static? Are there any interactivity considerations? What about e-commerce?

There are a lot of other considerations covering search engine optimisation, meta tags and what about building a community, or a blog to be incorporated in the site.

As you can see, it's not just straight forward.

More on this in another blog.

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