Here is our guide to a smooth design process
1 / Briefing
Think about what you and your business want to achieve
You might be starting a new business venture or growing an existing one but regardless of where you are in your story its worth sitting down to think about your aims and objectives for any design or development project. Thinking these through and getting clarity on what you need is going to ensure you get the right results.
If you need specific functionality (such as ecommerce) think about how you want it to work or if easier how you don’t want it to work!
If you have budgetary limitations (and of course everyone does!) then you may want to prioritise your ‘must haves’ and ‘nice to haves’ and work with you agency to maximise available budget.
Being able to clearly brief an agency will help on a number of fronts. Firstly, you will be clearly communicating to designers and developers what your expectations are and secondly you will be showing potential agency partners that you are serious about your project and expect them to respond to you in a timely fashion.
2 / Consider the assets you have available or those that you might need
This is something you can incorporate into the first step above or you can ask an agency to give advice and guidance on.
Some clients come armed with plenty of website content and others with nothing at all. Some bigger projects may require the design agency to work with other suppliers such as PR agencies or marketing teams.
When discussing a project with an agency let them know what you already have and if possible give them access to examples of your assets (such as written copy and photography) so they can give you advice on its suitability.
Polished photography, video or other forms of compelling content can make a huge difference to your online visibility so bear in mind this may also be required.
Great copy is not only important for SEO it forms an important part of your overall company or personal brand and sets the right tone for the conversations you want to have with your visitors. If you aren’t confident in creating copy yourself or don’t have an in house function for this ask the agency to factor in copywriting services for the project.
4 / Do some homework and talk to some agencies for advice
If you aren’t sure who to approach have a chat to members of your network who may be able to refer you to an agency. Referrals are a great way to find an agency and
Not sure about something? Ask!
There are so many elements to consider with a web project from hosting through to ongoing support and maintenance. Your agency should be able to provide to you clear information relating to their services and what you may require once your site is live but its always worth asking the questions if anything is unclear.
Some people use different terminology so always clarify if you are unsure of something it will save confusion or frustration further down the line. Neither party should make assumptions about what the other means.
5 / Find a team that you trust
Ideally you would find a time to sit down and meet an agency but this isn’t always possible and telephone or online conferencing can be just as helpful (we work with clients all over the UK and in the US). Getting to know each other is a great way to build trust, get expert advice and come up with great design ideas.
Finding a team that you trust is a key ingredient in a successful project. They should be open and honest and be able to show you similar work they have done in the past. You should also be able to see real testimonials and, if you want to, be able to call a past or current client for a reference.
Agencies with good standards don’t make unrealistic, sensational claims about want they are able to do, but there are plenty of people out there who will so beware.
6 / Communicate and collaborate
Understandably some clients come to us holding their cards close to their chest. They want to be sure that they are talking to a reputable and trustworthy bunch of people and they want to ensure that they won’t be oversold, overcharged or any other number of scary scenarios.
Take some time to look at an agencies portfolio, testimonials and social media. As I mention in point 5 you can get a good idea of how an agency works by looking at past projects and references.
Once you have done your due diligence, chatted to your agency and accepted a proposal then its time to open up!
Tell them about your business and treat them as part of your team. Collaboration is the only way to work as far as we are concerned. The more honest and open you are with your agency then the more they are able to understand your business, help you solve problems and come up with effective creative ideas.
Take on-board your agencies expert advice, they will have lots of experience in their field and will help you avoid common mistakes and steer you to the right solutions for you and your business.
If you have perused any of the projects on our website and like the look of them then it is because of a great collaborative relationship, its the magic ingredient!
Give us a shout on 0033 111 0064