What is a web design brief? What should be in it? Here are 9 tips.

Web design briefs are crucial to the success of your future business website. The better more accurate the brief, the better your website will be built to deliver the results that you need. It really is as simple as that.

In this post we look at the elements of a web design brief that should be covered in detail. The aim is to ensure your business is well supported by your business website.

Your Business

Any web design agency worth its salt needs to know what your business offers and the industry it operates within. This will shape your site both in terms of look and feel and how it achieves its objectives.

Business Objectives of your Site

In recent times web design has evolved from making clean, professional, and pretty websites into making websites conversion machines. With this in mind your objectives may include the following:

  • Lead generation
  • Making sales
  • To inform
  • Increase brand awareness and online presence
  • To educate
  • Bespoke offering for customers and clients – holiday rental websites are a good example of this.

By default, your new site should be mobile responsive. It is arguably business suicide to ignore the rise in mobile web browsing use. If you are re-designing your current website, and have any features from your current site you want to retain, list these in your brief.

Your Target Audience

Your new business website should be geared to serve your target audience. This is true in both in terms of how the site looks and feels, and how the site functions. So if potential new customers access your site is it easy for them to purchase or sign up? It should be so they go away feeling like they have had a satisfactory experience.

In many respects providing your design team with your ideal client will help them create a better, more accurate site.  Think about:

  • The age range of your customers / clients
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Motivations to buy – They follow ladies’ fashion, they want a second home on the sea front, they are in the market for car accessories are good purchase motivators for example

Competitors and Sites you Admire

In the brief include your competitor’s sites and sites you admire. Try and separate sites you like with features that would be good for your business to have. So yes, you like the way a site’s sign up option works but if it doesn’t work for your business which is taking an entirely different approach, you may want to leave it out of the brief.

Do include appealing visuals such colour schemes and video/image use and sites you feel are easy to use and have good navigation.

When it comes to competitor sites you will probably find aspects you like and do not like. Make these aspects clear in the brief.

Technical Requirements

It is important to be as thorough as you can with technical requirements. This tends to be a costly part of the build and if an aspect is omitted and has to be built in later, then this can change the cost and extend the deadline considerably.

So, does your site feature:

  • User logins? If so how do you want registrations to operate? What needs to be on the user dashboard? Make sure you include everything
  • Is your site e-commerce enabled? What product categories are needed, payment options, shipping costs, tracking codes, discount codes, and referral options
  • Do you need to have a “listings” type website for a real estate, classifieds, or job vacancies?
  • Do you need API Integration? If so you need to be able to give full details of what’s needed and show examples
  • If you have in-house coding guidelines your design team will need to see these

As well as the complex requirements decide if your site needs any of the following

  • News / blog
  • Social media feeds
  • Team page
  • Interactive maps
  • Events
  • Email marketing subscription forms
  • Portfolio
  • Forms, for things like booking, contact, feedback, reviews
  • On-site search

The more thorough information you can provide the better your website will be and the faster it will be developed.

Look & Feel

The look and feel of your site often guides your user experience. One way to approach this is how you want your clients and customers to feel. This can be achieved by thinking about the design aesthetic in terms of your offering.

You can also have a look at what your competitors may be doing and highlight what you like and don’t like about their sites to your design team.

Deadline and Budget

In some respects, tighter deadlines drive up the budget so it is a good idea to try and give your team some room where a deadline is concerned. That said if the site needs to be ready by a certain date, provide this upfront to give the agency time to plan resources.

Budget is an important factor as it gives the agency some flexibility in what it can and can’t do for your budget. Bigger budget projects could see considerable UX design research to determine what works. Lower budgets will not have this feature.

Bear in mind that is not just a site you are buying but people’s expertise, time and guidance.


Graphics, images, videos, and copy that you want to feature on your site should be given to the agency on day one. The more a site takes shape the sooner it can be finalised which is best for all concerned.

As your site is undergoing a transformation process, it is a good idea to review your content. You may want to perform keyword research to ensure your content is attracting the right users, you may want to identify underperforming pages and revise, and you may want to refresh your logo and other elements.

Don’t forget to include aspects such as meta descriptions and the various SEO tags so the design agency can implement these straight away.

Include social media accounts as well so the team can put these into place and they are ready to go come launch date.

Final thoughts

Although a little abstract, think about your client and customer experience. Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:

  • Satisfied
  • Engaged
  • Informed
  • Rewarded

This is hard to pin down from a design perspective but passing this to your web design agency will help them shape the site on a subconscious level.

Start your Project

Our experienced design team can help you make your business website a conversion machine. Start your project today and increase your online presence and business revenues.