Through our 18 years of business and running a web design agency in birmingham, we have seen many great websites, yet on the other hand we have also seen many many more really bad websites.
Through our experience this often comes down to one reason: Poor planning.
Sure, choosing the wrong designer/developer can play a part in that, but as long as you choose someone with a proven track record then it most often comes down to poor planning that lets your web design project down.
Before your web designer starts designing you should sit down with them, not just to see if the two of you are a great fit but to plan out your project to ensure you are both on the same path and that the end result your web designer delivers is what you are visualising.
Here’s some tips to get your website off on the right foot:
Be clear in your own head – If you aren’t clear in your own head it can be difficult for your web designer to deliver what you want. Sure, a great web designer will ask the right questions and elicit the required information from you, but it’s best that you go into your meeting with your web designer with a clear idea of what it is you want from your website.
Have a core focus for your website – Most people lose focus on their websites core goal and the core goal for each page of your website.
Without a core focus your website will be unclear and cluttered and confuse your visitors.
Think about what it is you want visitors to your website to do:
- Call you?
- Buy your product?
- Research your product?
- Fill out your enquiry form?
These are just a few goals, but have a focus on what it is you want your website visitors to do. This will be the anchor to your homepage and all your sub-pages – Your core focus and goal of your website should be clean and a focus of your homepage, and, also play a secondary role on your subpages.
Many people want to do everything on their homepage, they lose focus by diluting and distracting their website visitors from what it is that they really want them to do.
Create Wireframes – You may not be able to find the words in your head to describe what it is that you want your website to look like. Many times, we have had clients say, “we’ve looked around the web and there’s nothing we really like – we want something better than what’s out there.”
This can be difficult to transcribe to pixels on a screen so why not use some wireframing tools such as MockFlow or invisionapp They can allow you to put boxes and text and other elements into a layout across different desktop & mobile devices to help you get across the core elements of your page.
Speak and communicate with your web designer – You’d be surprised at how many people don’t! if something doesn’t feel or look right then tell them. There are lots of ways to leave feedback whether it’s at a face to face meeting or through something like invision or in an email – It’s important that feedback is relayed and your web designer delivers you the end product that you are looking for.
Keep referencing your original plan and original wireframes, sure things evolve and change but are your goals still the same and are they still easy for your website visitors to find?
Solicit outside opinion – If you run a business then speak to your clients and get an idea of what they think about your website. Ask if it represents who you are and what they would expect from your company/brand.
You can run online tests. You could use usertesting.com or Five Second Test to get some feedback. This will allow you to ask questions, set tasks and get independent feedback on your website and usability.
It’s your website and you are likely to be paying a lot of money with it, so ensure to plan properly and get the relevant feedback to help you fine tune and grow your website as necessary.
Planning doesn’t have to be a chore, difficult or time consuming. Once your design gets underway and you cut and change things with your web designer you can lose focus very easily of your original core goal – A simple 1 page document can help you stay on track and not lose focus.