So I was asked recently by a friend how I go about starting on a website design. A lot of what I do is second nature to me now as I have been designing websites for over 15 years, but I thought it might be useful to explain in more detail, the elements that I gather and the starting point for my designs and development.
- Assets – This is often the name given to all the various bits and pieces that need to be included on a website. These usually include a logo, any brand guidelines, images, copy, links to social media and contact details. It is essential to have some of these in place prior to starting working on a website. I always ensure I have a logo as the style of this and the colours influence the overall look and feel of a website. You don’t want a logo that is red and yellow plonked into a web design that is blue and grey for example! And it is helpful to have a large portion of the text and images to include if not all. Good web designers should always allow a contingency for tweaking things at a later date but it helps to have the bulk in advance. So if you’re about to embark on a website design, try and gather as much of this as possible in advance for your designer.
- Technical Information & Logins – This is helpful to have from the outset too. Details about domain names and where they are managed plus access to other systems that may need to be connected to the website. These can include social media accounts for displaying feeds, or Paypal or Stripe account details if you’re having an ecommerce website built. Sometimes Google Analytics accounts need to be embedded on the website or other marketing systems like Hubspot or Mailchimp. And knowing which of these to include ensures that space is included in the website design to allow for feeds to show and sign up or login boxes to have useful spaces on the website for easy access.
- Competitors – I always try to have a look at other websites of a similar industry to the one I’m working on. It’s good to know what else is out there and my priority is to try and outshine any of those with my designs!
- Inspiring Websites – Often I ask clients to provide examples of websites that are similar to what they’re looking for and ask them to explain what they like about them and why. It is a helpful process to get an idea of a style they like or what they don’t like as well. A bit like creating a website mood board! An idea about colours, layouts and impressions that they aspire to include.
- Functionality – And the final part is to ensure that clients have communicated to me all the things that they want the website to ‘do’. A large majority of websites just display information about products and services on static pages, but at the very least they will include a contact form. And all functional elements need to be considered from the outset so I can provide a more accurate quote and then once the design process starts, we need to incorporate all the functions on the pages as part of the content. Examples of this could be a gallery, members system, portfolio, events listing, donation facility or shop to name but a few. They all need to be incorporated into the design and the processes that they require as well.
So this is the sort of information that I need to gather way before I put ‘pen to paper’ as it were. This ensures I have all the information I need to make a start on a new website and ensure it meets all the clients requirements. If you’d like to discuss your new website – please get in touch!