How To Create A Successful Website Design Brief

What Is A Website Design Brief, And Why Do You Need One?

Let's check out the different types of web projects you might want to work on:

  • New business with no existing website
  • Improve an existing website with a website makeover
  • Adding extra functionality to your existing websites, such as eCommerce or booking systems

The amount of work involved in each case is complex, and even the most straightforward website design considerations can throw a spanner in the works.

A website design brief is a document that outlines a website design project's goals, objectives and requirements, created in collaboration with the client (or stakeholder) and used as a reference point throughout the project.

A website design brief helps ensure everyone is on the same page and that the result meets the client's expectations. Without a clear brief, it's easier for scope creep to set in and for the project to stray off course.

It allows you, the website owner, to provide our designers with detailed information about what you want your website to include and how you envisage it functioning. 

By creating a concise document outlining your project details, you can ensure the website designer understands your requirements and can deliver the desired results.

Outline Budget Limitations From The Beginning

Let's talk about your website design budget for a bit because this is always a sticking point, and it does not need to be that way.

When we ask what the budget is for a new website design project, we are typically met with the "how much will it cost" response as the client either does not want to divulge how much they have allocated for the project or, worse, doesn't know what they want to spend!

There are several very good reasons why the budget needs to be set from the beginning.

First, you don't want to waste your time; likewise, we don't want to do the same. Spending an hour on a discovery call without divulging your budget will result in a proposal that probably misses the mark by a long distance.

You don't have to list every penny you have available to spend, but a rough guideline is a good start so that everybody knows what they are working towards.

Being upfront with your agency about the amount of money you have to spend means that we can also explore government grant initiatives and other business funding avenues to help with cash flow.

There are many more advantages to being transparent with your budget from the outset than trying to hide it.

Elements Of A Great Website Design Brief

A well-written website design brief should cover several key elements, including

  • Website Purpose - What is the primary purpose of your website?
  • Target Audience - Who is the website intended for?
  • Key Features and Functionalities - What website development features and functionalities do you want to include on your website?
  • Branding Guidelines - Do you have existing branding guidelines to which website designers should adhere?
  • SEO Strategy - What keywords do you need to include in website content, headings, and titles?
  • Content Management System (CMS) Requirements - If you need a CMS, what type of platform are you looking for?
  • eCommerce system - are you looking for a recommendation, or do you have a specific eCommerce platform in mind?

Providing website designers with this information upfront will help them create a website that meets all of your requirements, saving time, money and frustration by ensuring the website design process is completed efficiently.

How To Write A Website Design Brief

Writing a website design brief can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. There is no need to make it complex, and brief sentences describing the salient points are the order of the day.

Start by understanding your website goals and jotting down any ideas about features and functionalities you need to include. Once you have clarity on what outcome you want from your website, start building out the website design brief by addressing each element mentioned above.

When writing a website design brief, ensure that all information is clear and precise so website designers know what they are requested to do. Be sure to include details such as deadlines or budget limitations so website designers can plan accordingly.

Benefits Of Creating A Website Design Brief

Creating an effective website design brief offers many benefits for website owners and, most importantly, provides transparency between the owner of the project and those entrusted to bring it to life.

It provides website designers with the information they need to deliver a website that meets all your requirements, saving time and money in the website design process.

It gives website owners confidence that their website goals are being met by providing clear expectations to website designers from the outset of the design process.

Tips For Creating A Successful Website Design Brief

Give an overview of your current business situation.

The more detail you can give your website design agency, the better. No one likes to work in the dark or spend time developing website features that are not required.

Include information about any existing website properties you have and what products or services you offer; the more detail you can provide, the better, as it gives us the ammunition we need to meet your needs.

Explain the website's purpose and goals

Consider the website's target audience. Who do you want to visit the website, and what do you want your visitors to do?

Also, consider website usability. How easy is it to navigate around the website and find content? Do you want website visitors to be able to purchase products or services online?

List the website features and functionalities you need

Think about website features and functionalities that will help visitors get what they need quickly and easily. 

For example, do you want users to be able to search for information on your website or create an account with you? Other features may include a blog, contact forms, eCommerce capability or booking systems.

Include a timeline of when you want website designers to complete the project

Be realistic when setting deadlines for website design projects. Allow enough time for website designers to complete the project, yet consider website launch dates, if applicable.

Describe your target audience and explain what elements should to include

Understanding website visitors and their needs are critical in website design and development. 

When writing the website design brief, provide information about who will visit your website, what they will be looking for and what language they speak. Add any other relevant elements that website designers can use to create a website tailored to the target audience's needs.

Provide website design guidelines if your website will have its own brand identity

If you have an existing brand identity or are creating a new brand for the website, include information about logo usage recommendations, website colour palette and website typography.

If you have a house-style guide, then that would be great!

Be specific about website content management system requirements

If you need a website content management system (CMS), let website designers know which one you prefer or if you are open to suggestions. 

Additionally, provide details about website hosting, such as hosting type (shared vs dedicated), as this will impact the final cost of the website design project. 

You can reuse your website design brief as supporting documents in website design meetings and provide a framework for website discussions. 

Website likes and dislikes

It helps to list two or three websites that you like the look of and what appeals to you about them. List the URL and the company names.

Contact information

Depending on your company's size, it may just be yourself involved in the website design process (in which case that's easy!), or many people may all have a stake in the finished product.

In the latter case, it's best to appoint one person as the lead point of contact who can act as the conduit between the design agency and the company. Websites designed by a committee never look pretty!


The website design brief is a document that outlines the website's purpose, goals, target audience, website features and functionalities, and design guidelines (if applicable).

It also provides contact information for the website's stakeholders and a timeline for completing the website.

If you'd like us to help you work on a proposal document, please contact us.