If you’re involved with building a new site or reworking an existing site, think carefully about what you want to accomplish through the site. Are you just trying to get your business found? Or will you be referring people to the site for details on products or services?
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Consider the purpose. What problems should the site solve? How will prospects and customers be using the site? What action do you want them to take?
- Know your audience. Who will use the site? Are they sophisticated in their tech usage? What’s the main thing they’ll want to find? Do you want them to sign up for something? Is there more than one different group that will be using the site? You know your business and customers best. You know what they like best about your organization. You know the questions they usually have. Communicate this information and ask your designer for ideas if there are multiple focuses and uses for the site.
- Determine up front who will have input and include them in the initial discussions. There’s nothing worse for a designer than to have an additional person thrown into the mix halfway through designing. “Oh, by the way, I showed this to my next-door neighbor, and she thinks it would be cool if ….” Design is subjective. Every person will have a different opinion. If your boss will have final review, be sure you know what he or she is looking for before, and as, you communicate with your designer.
- Communicate well. Make a comprehensive list of things you (and anyone else who will be involved) want included. Show examples of sites you find attractive and why. Make a list of key words/phrases your customers might be using to find your organization if they were searching the Web.
- Agree to a timeline and stick to it. Slowdowns in Web design are often caused by the owners. Content is delayed. Proofs sit on desks waiting for review. Indecision and perfectionism stall progress. Stick to the schedule. Make decisions. Hire a copywriter if writing is slowing you down and your Web designer isn’t providing that service. Finalize the copy before you give it to the designer.
- Ask to see concepts early on … before they’re finished. An early look at designs will help you see if your initial communications were clear. Are all the tabs included? Is the main idea clear? Can a user easily find what they’re looking for?
- Don’t ask for multiple designs. Picking and choosing pieces and parts of various designs can lead to a poor design. Instead, in your initial meeting, show examples of things you like … colors, placement of button or tabs, visuals, functionality, etc.
- There is no perfect design. Don’t overwork it. Functionality is tantamount! Very few visitors will care if your logo is one-half inch too far to the left. Rely and trust your designer. Tweaking and overworking a design can dilute it. You should be focusing on whether everything you need is included and accurate — not whether it’s green or blue. If you have distinct preferences, communicate those before designing starts.
- Build an ongoing partnership. Remember that your website will need changes down the line. People come and go. Services and prices change. Locations close. Maintain and appreciate your connection with your Web designer. Also, be sure to get full copyright ownership of your site, in case you need to move it from one developer or host to another.