Preparing Your Web Design Project
Starting a web design project can be daunting, especially if you’re unsure with how it works. This guide is for clients or curious readers who want to send neat, digestible information to their web designer.
Prepare Your Pages
You dart between pages as you plan. This could get disorientating, so keep a separate Word document for each page’s description. This will keep things clean and tidy, and your designer will be able to address pages piece-by-piece.
Consider the following information for each page of your website:
- Page Title: Home, About Us, Services etc….
- Page Content: Your written content. If parts require specific formatting, be sure to label/highlight them e.g. two columns, sidebar.
- Unique Features: Will this page have a slideshow? Does it feature an enquiry form? If there’s something special about this page that makes it stand out, make sure you mention it!
- Images: Which photos will accompany this page? To be super helpful, label your file names accordingly e.g. About-Us.jpg
From logos and personnel to the interior walls of your restaurant – every web design project needs images. Before work begins, make sure your designer has as many photos as possible. The more they see, the better acquainted they’ll be with your business.
- Logos: Polished final designs, or mere mockups you’ve knocked together in a spare evening. Ask if these can be changed/neatened accordingly.
- People: You, your partnership or your staff. Think of your business’s context, and if possible try and take some of you ‘in action’ e.g. running a workshop, cooking, meeting clients. Passport-style mugshots are also great for professional profiles.
- The Environment: Whether you work in an office or in the open air, take photos of your working environment.
- Products: If you sell a specific item, get some nice, clear snaps of it. Try and keep a white, clutter-free background in case the designer needs to Photoshop it for later.
- Abstract: Websites are made of shapes, colours and textures. The closer these look to your business, the better. For every photo you take of your shop floor, snap another from a different angle. You never know when it might come in handy.
Remember, your designer probably has access to Photoshop, so don’t worry if the photos look rough around the edges. What’s important is they receive a bunch of material that reflects your business and personality. If you’re short on stock photos, look for commercial-use photography on the internet such as The Stocks or Pixabay.
Do you use Pinterest? Create a board of design inspiration – whether colour choices, shapes or abstract artwork you like the look of.
Nitty Gritty Details
Designers have different ways of requesting the broader strokes. I use a detailed form that gathers the essentials of a client’s business. Alternatively, map out your website on a separate Word document:
- Website URL: What is your web address?
- Number of Pages: List each page if you can think of. Will any of these have subpages? If so, what does the page structure look like?
- CMS or static? Do you need to edit content yourself? If you’re unsure, ask your designer. For an overview of static vs. WordPress websites, see this guide.
- Special Features: If there’s an enquiry form, what entries are needed? If there’s an online shop, what payment system would you like to use?
- Preferred Deadline: Give plenty of berth between your deadline and any launch or networking events. Make sure it’s realistic to your work schedule and how quickly you can deliver feedback to your designer.
- Other Websites: Is there anything out there you particularly like the look of? It can be an entire website, or constituent parts: the slideshow here, the colour scheme there. The more inspiration you can send, the better.
Web Design Project: What Else?
Besides all this, have a chat with your designer! Nothing beats an actual conversation and the more they know about your business the better. This, alongside a clear workflow will make for the best results. Good luck.