Not all project owners take the time needed to draw up a set of specifications. They are often too enthusiastic and in a hurry to run a business. They run out and buy a domain name and hire service providers to create a website. They provide explanations of their needs, their budget and specify a deadline for delivery of the work. What happens? They’re disappointed, they don’t get the results they want.
Why is that? They don’t have a plan. They don’t have a roadmap that outlines each stage of the design process, yet with a simple set of specifications, they could have established a solid basis for defining the needs and constraints involved in creating their shop window.
Are you a project owner too? Do you want to create or redesign a website? Do you need to formalize your web project before launching your call for tenders? But you don’t know how to write a brief. Let’s get started.
What are site design specifications?
The specifications for the creation of a website are a formal document, an essential reference for creating a new site or redesigning an existing one. The specifications have a functional and provisional content. It defines the scope of the web project, setting out the constraints, objectives, deadline, budget and criteria for selecting service providers.
It acts as a contractual document between you and a web agency or freelance service provider. It lists the charges, responsibilities, obligations and rights to be respected as part of the service.
Like a roadmap, the specification takes the form of a well-structured virtual or physical document. The specifications contain explanatory diagrams and functional models. It also includes a graphic charter, screenshots of sources of inspiration and many other elements that make it easier to understand. The volume of this document can be relatively small or large, depending on the scope and complexity of your project.
Usually, it is the project owner who is responsible for writing the site creation specifications. If it’s a team of people who want to create a site, then the specifications are written by several people. You can also delegate this task to an SEO agency. The agency will write the specifications, and it is up to you to give your approval so that the specifications are validated.
Basically, the notebook is a formal document made up of the following sections:
- Context of the web project
- Tree structure and content of the site
- Graphic and ergonomic presentation of your project
- Functional specifications
- Description of the site’s technical specifications
- Additional requirements
- Information on budget and deadlines
Why is it important to create a site?
The website creation project specification is a reference document that facilitates project development and management. Like a hiking map, it gives you an overview of your web project. It helps you anticipate constraints and understand each stage in the design of your site. And, above all, you can clearly define where you want to end up before you start work. Would you like to understand the benefits of having a project brief? Yes, I do. Let’s take a look at the two main benefits of a website design brief.
A communication tool
Drawing up specifications serves to formalize requirements. When you give specifications for your project, you are clearly stating the services you expect. The specifications therefore enable your future partners to understand how they can support you.
You share information equitably at all levels and save time without tedious repetition. You also avoid conflicts linked to misunderstandings, for a motivated team.
- A graphic designer will know which rules to follow when creating your company’s visual identity. To do this, it would be a good idea to draw up a clear graphic charter.
- The developer, for his part, will master the production constraints that need to be taken into account to meet the specifications. Their job may be to choose the best CMS to optimize your website or web application.
- The graphic designer’s job is to ensure that the site looks and feels good. They will have to think about users’ needs.
- The requirements of the website creation specification may lead the copywriter to take charge of creating content according to an editorial line. In doing so, they will use a tone that is faithful to your brand values.
- SEA experts and SEO experts will improve the visibility of your site for search engines thanks to adwords campaigns and natural referencing, etc.
The specifications allow each professional to give their best, and you get the services you want.
Writing the specifications optimizes your planning
As well as formalizing your needs, your specifications organize the progress of your digital project. Let’s say you’re working with a website design agency on the basis of a specification. You want to open an e-commerce site optimized for natural referencing.
What’s going to happen? Well, thanks to the brief, you can break down the key stages of the design. This reference document contains a forecast that shows you the costs and delivery times of the assignments. You can follow a schedule to find out when your project is behind schedule or if everything is going well. That’s why it’s important to focus on the essentials when drawing up your website design specifications.
How do you write good specifications for the web?
Do you need to write a digital marketing specification? Do you want to create a responsive site to develop your brand? As you can see, writing the specifications helps to manage the project. To draw up a specification, start by asking yourself the right questions. It sounds very simple, but it’s the key to your digital success.
You don’t create a website for your own pleasure. You do it to reach a target audience. Find out what their specific needs are and examine their online behavior. Only then can you tailor your solution to their needs. You may be thinking that you already have a successful business in real life, so why should you go through these steps? Rest assured, it’s not to waste your time. On the contrary, you’ll be more efficient.
Thanks to this approach, you can tell the difference. You can distinguish between reality and virtual life. What’s more, it’s easier to express your needs when you know all the details before you draw up your website design specifications.
Keep it simple. If you find it difficult to write specifications, entrust the task to a reputable company. SEO.fr is a website design agency that can help you write your specifications. We will take charge of producing your specifications and delivering the services you expect. Perhaps you feel capable of writing the specifications yourself? Then great! Take inspiration from an example of a creative brief available online. This will help you to structure the different parts.
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The 7 essential elements
1. Setting out the company’s information, your projects and your objectives
By way of introduction, a good specification should present the context of the project. Whether you are creating or redesigning a website, this part of the specification explains what is at stake. It enables your website design agency or service providers to know who you are and what you want to achieve. The right questions to ask? At this stage, if you want to write your website design specifications properly, talk about yourself.
Who are you? Give the name of your company, your sector of activity, your values, your social capital, your targets and your competitors.
What is your web project? Write in the specifications whether you want to redesign your site or create a new one. Whatever you plan to create, specify the CMS, extensions, hosting, deadline and your targets (B2B or B2C).
What do you intend to achieve with your site? Here you need to specify your objectives, the site’s activities, the desired results, etc.
2. Description of the site architecture
At this stage of the specification writing, be clear, because a good site structure greatly improves the conversion rate. If you have detailed functional specifications for your project, include these in your tender documents. What should you do? Draw up a diagram showing the tree structure of your site and enter the number of pages. Although these different aspects of the site are evolving, you should still write them down to avoid omissions – every detail counts.
For the content part, specify your requirements: blog articles? Video content? Images? Downloadable e-books? Would you like assistance with content writing? Mention this in your website design specifications. How often do you want to publish? What human resources do you need to complete the project? A project manager? Developers? Graphic designers? Do you understand the idea? In the specifications, make an exhaustive list of your content requirements. Creation of pages. Specify the different players available and those you are looking for.
3. Graphic and ergonomic description of the site
Don’t write this part of the web design specification without thinking about the user experience and your brand image. The site’s graphics and ergonomics have a major impact on browsing time, customer loyalty and conversion. It also affects your branding.
To do this, start by listing all the key graphic elements you have. Do you already have a graphic charter, visual identity and mock-ups? Do you want to re-use them or create new models? How many designs will your web designer need to submit as part of the project? Be explicit when drawing up the specifications.
Give your web design agency a clear understanding of your needs. If possible, provide a list of competitors as sources of inspiration. Define your graphic design requirements. Aim for efficiency when drawing up your website design specifications. You can ask your service provider to use parallax to attract visitors’ attention and make you stand out from the crowd.
As far as the ergonomics of your site are concerned, the specifications should insist on :
- Simplicity (flat design is an asset).
- The responsive aspect, etc.
4. The site’s functions
At this stage in the design of the specifications, carry out a functional analysis of the website. You can also specify what your web showcase will offer users. Describe visible elements such as videos, contact forms, etc. Make sure you cover the relevant features of your CMS.
5. Technical aspects of the site
This is the time to talk about the technical constraints associated with your site creation or redesign project. To write this part of the specifications properly, start by mentioning your requirements in terms of the site’s accessibility. Would you like your developer to use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to create a site with a high level of accessibility? State your requirements.
Next, ask yourself the right questions about the site’s compatibility. Which browsers and devices can support your site? Will your platform be responsive? Do you have any priority technologies or computer languages? What are your CMS requirements? Do you prefer management software? Which CRM and ERP software is right for your project? Are there any particular extensions you’d like to use?
Finally, provide specifications for the site’s hosting and performance. Bear in mind that loading speed is a determining factor for natural referencing. What’s more, this criterion has an impact on navigation and user experience. So choose a web host that meets your expectations and the requirements of the specifications.
6. Additional requests
Do you want to divide up the tasks and complete your project on time? If so, your website design specifications should mention any additional tasks that your web agency needs to take on. What exactly are they?
- Web content creation (copywriting, image and video production)
- Handling modifications and page layouts
- Monitoring and optimization of SEO and Adwords campaigns, etc.
7. Schedule (forecast)
It is counter-productive to write a website design specification without indicating your maximum budget and the deadline for the deliverable. Avoid this. Write down your overall investment and give the schedule. That way, you’ll be perfectly organized to ensure the success of your project.