This part of the process can quite often be the longest. It involves putting together all the various components of design that will ultimately shape your clients experience whilst visiting your site, and whether they return.
If your customer can quickly and easily reach the service or product they require, and acquire it with ease, then your website has performed it’s primary job, and you are much more likely to receive return visitors.
The more ideas you have about color scheme, type of images, major sections of your content that you have, the shorter and smoother the design process will be.
Here are a few questions that, once answered, will help ensure that your Web site´s message is as appealing as its design. Go over these points with the designer before the design process begins as the answers will help determine the direction your Web site´s design should take.
What Is The Purpose Of Your Web Site?
Hopefully, the people that work in your business have a job to do. The same could also be said for your Website. So what sort of jobs can a website do? They can do the job of your Marketing person, informing the viewer about the range and quality of your services. They can be an important addition to the sales team by selling your stock online. They can also take the role of your Administration staff by handling enquiries and providing important information such as contract terms and your contact details, they can even do the job of the Manager by giving information about the way you do business, the ethos of your organization and encouraging input from the particular community it serves.
By defining what you expect your site to deliver you will give the designer the information required to create a Web site that will best serve your needs and appeal to your target audience.
Who is my target audience?
Your target audience will consist of anyone that you want to attract to your Web site. They could be potential and current clients/customers, future and current employees, possible investors, etc. Anyone who might be interested in your business and its products or services is part of your target audience. If your are able to correctly identify these people you will be able to build a site that will speak directly to them.
Look at it from their point of view.
Imagine your Web site through the eyes of the people that you hope will use it. You know best who your clients/customers are, so put yourself in their shoes and list the things that they would expect to find to fulfil their needs as well as the things you could provide to surpass their expectations.
What content should be on my Website?
Obviously your Web site content will be driven by the nature of your business. If you’re a real estate agent, your site will feature photographs of homes you have for sale and information on buying and selling a home. If you have a car repair shop, your site might feature before and after photographs of some of the work that you have done. Take into account the job(s) that your site has been given and develop to content that allows it to do the job!
What’s the competition doing?
This question can be one of the most important. Have a look at the websites of your competitors and do a Google search for similar businesses. Have a look at the design and content of the sites and see what messages they convey. List the things that you like about them and the things that you don’t and consider any options to differentiate your site from them. This is useful information for you and your Web designer as you embark on the development process.