We ask questions, lots of them, in order to understand a new design project and its goals
A look at the questions we ask when we start working on a new client project.
Author: Kris Jeary
Published: 11th October 2014
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Here are some of the most common questions we ask when we start working on a design brief:
What are the goals of your web project?
The first and most important question. Your answers here will help us begin to understand the needs of your business and plan our design solution accordingly. It could be any number of things, some typical examples are:
- To increase enquiries by -X-
- To increase sales by -X-
- To increase brand reputation
How can we measure whether these goals are met?
Quantitative goals can be measured via analytics etc, more qualitative goals are slightly harder to gauge but typical ways include monitoring media outlets.
How will the project make money?
This question isn't just for eCommerce, a goal for the website may be to gain enquiries and those enquiries to be converted off-site.
If the problem is well defined then the design will solve that problem and be a success. Done well a website will only ever make you money, it isn't a cost or even an investment.
What is an average sale worth?
This helps us gauge the right focus. Larger purchases require more thought and persuasion than smaller purchases. You may also have a business that requires a regular payment for a service. (childcare is a good example). Again this isn't just for online sales.
Who are your current customers?
As well as finding out whether you are a B2B or B2C company, we want to discover all about your current customers:
- B2C we would look at; age, gender, purchase amounts, location etc.
- B2B would also include such things as company size, company type, job title/position of purchaser.
These all ensure we don't alienate your core business with a new focus.
Who are we hoping to attract with this (re)design?
Goes hand in hand with our previous point. You may want to attract more people like your current customer profile or you may want to increase and widen your target audience.
Do you have any data from your current website?
This can give great insight to how people are researching your product or service as well as showing us where your current website is letting you down. It will also give us another metric by which we can measure your new website's success.
Who are your competitors?
We don't need (or want!) a list of websites to copy but it will help us to see what your competitors are doing well as well as discover opportunities to do better.
What do they do well?
We are not just talking about their websites here! We want to know how they compete against you and where they have an advantage.
What do you do better than them?
What helps you stand out in comparison?
What can you aim to do better than them?
This can be a great project aim that we can certainly help with.
What does your brand sound like?
Not an easy question we appreciate! It helps us set a design tone as well as co-ordinate everyone around a single voice to ensure all aspects of the design flow. We wrote an article on the subject : Who is your brand?
Do you have any established brand guidelines?
These maybe tone guidelines or layout guides surrounding you logo, any of these really help. If you don't have these we can work with you to establish them as we research and work with you. This ensures your core message is communicated across all your marketing activities.
Who will be responsible for supplying us with initial content?
It helps to know who we will need to liaise with over content and content strategy.
Who will be responsible for maintaining and adding to the site's content?
A website can be thought of like formal garden, it needs to be both planned and maintained in order for it to flourish. Identifying who will be responsible for this within your organisation is a key early decision.
Will you be using an experienced copywriter?
Content can certainly benefit from having an experienced copywriter work on it to ensure the site flows as intended. We can help with a recommendation here, if needs be.
Who will be responsible for imagery?
The web is a visual platform and imagery needs to work within the design to help it deliver on its goals. We need to identify how this will be sourced as we will need to work with this person in order to obtain the images that will help deliver the project's goals.
Do you have imagery suitable for the web?
This can be a constraint we must consider in design and without suitable and relevant (not stock!) imagery it can be akin to designing with one hand tied behind your back. We can certainly help you find external help if required.
We wrote an article on this very subject : The Importance of Photography in Web Design.
Do you require a content management system?
A Content Management System (CMS) allows you to add content to your website yourself. The main alternative would be to pay us to make content additions. Whilst adding a CMS is an extra cost to consider, its benefits more than justify it.
How to you intend to promote the website?
No matter how well we solve the digital problem you still need visitors! Common solutions can be to use and SEO company or a PR agency to promote your website. We can certainly recommend the right people if required.
Who will have any say in the project?
We like to know who are the best people to speak to when gathering our research, as well as who to present our findings and solutions to. Please don't surprise us half way through with a stakeholder we haven't spoken to!
Who is ultimately responsible for final sign-off?
It helps us to know who is co-ordinating the efforts of your team and who is our primary point of contact for setting meetings and gathering feedback.
What is the project budget?
Design finds solutions to problems within a set of constraints, your budget can be a big constraint but we will find a solution that matches your budget. We don't scrimp on design, irrespective of budget, but the scale and scope of the solution will vary accordingly.
When is the project due to launch?
All about scheduling and finding the solution that fits both the budget and the timescales.
When will you be ready to start?
Another vital question when planning the schedule and dates for the deliverables.
When will you hire the design team?
Yes, scheduling again.
Do you or any other stakeholders have any notable holiday planned?
This can affect delivery dates from our side as well as from your side.
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