Preparation Before The Design Process

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Preparation Before Design

Designing a web site is the creative side of the process and involves the expertise of the site owner, marketing and advertising departments, artists, photographers, writers, technical writers, programmers, and code experts. This list of experts can be a whole team or one person. Either way, it is a team effort to combine all these skills and talents to complete an interesting and professional web site.

Web site design requires clear direction from the research within the web site development plans. Focusing on the user’s access to the information, a solid navigation menu is critical, helping the user find the information they need.

Web site design and layout needs to combine navigation and content with graphics and photographs that help guide the user and showcase products and services. Web site designers are constantly battling between new technologies and their creative desires and bandwidth, seeking a compromise between the three. It’s not an easy task, and requires good coding and design skills, so this isn’t part of developing your web site that should be cheap. It is the largest part of your web site budget.

Along with the design comes the writing. Search engines can’t find you if there is no text to search. Quality written content is critical to a successful web site, rich with keywords and web site style writing. While the look of the site is critical to its visual success, what it has to say is also important. Content matters, so make sure that it is well written.

Here is how to get prepared!

Other Websites for examples?

Do your homework and make a list of examples of other websites you like, and explain what you like and dislike. These sample sites can be related or totally different from your business. This is not for plagiarism but makes for a great starting point.

What is the purpose of your web site?

Clearly understanding a web site's purpose is the most critical factor in developing a successful web site. A given product or service should have the following:

The product or service site should be designed to provide useful information to the visitor.

The web site should have a goal to enhance the value of the product or service.

To further clarify the web site purpose, you should answer the following questions.

What do you want your visitor to take away from your web site?

What is the essence of your message? What are the top three to five points?

What defines "success" for the web site? What outcome do you want to achieve?

What features do you anticipate you'd like to see added to your site over the next six to twelve months?


What is important for your customers to know about your company?

Include the history of your company, special processes, methods, technologies or expertise that set your company apart from the competition.

Try to assemble at least two or three paragraphs of company background information. This can also include personnel, references, history, etc.

What does a potential customer need to know in order to make contact with you?

This should include addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and perhaps store / office hours, possibly driving directions or a map. Try to cover all of the potential questions on these topics that you or your staff often spends phone time on.

Any artwork (logos, product photos, etc.), and color schemes currently used in your business.

Ideally scans of camera ready art or digital photos will be needed in order to use the material on the web site.

For each product or service you offer, assemble the basic and detailed information available for it.

This may include photographs, specifications, sizes, colors, seasons, etc. Try to include a brief summary that a potential customer may use to identify the item as something to consider, and then as much detailed information as possible to help them through the purchase decision if applicable.

Note -- if there are common support issues or questions with this product, this is another area on the web site - possibly avoiding a support phone call.

Compile a list of the top ten (or more) questions that are asked about your company, products, and services.

Any of these questions that can be answered directly on the web site may assure a potential customer, or make unnecessary a support call from an existing customer.

Gather any promotional material used (currently or in the past) for your company, products and services.

Having this material together often stimulates ideas for ways of presenting material that might have otherwise been missed. In the case of current material, it also allows your web site to more closely match your other promotional material.

Text Content.

Prepare the text content for each page and/or section in Word doc.

Layout the names of each page for your new site like Home, Contact etc.  This is critical to having a defined and accurate navigation for your visitors.

After preparing the above information, you can meet with one of our design staff, and we work with you to fashion a plan to build a site that best meets your needs. This process typically takes around an hour.

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