Time and Money Web Development Savings with a Design Brief

April 1, 2011 - 0 Comments

A while back, I mentioned the value we place in our web teams on Design Briefs, which are short summaries that outline objectives before a new project starts. They’re especially key for a redesign – even of a small area — when you’re about to spend a lot of time and effort creating or reinventing something.

The idea of the Design Brief format we use is simple: (1) Answer some key project questions in a friendly PowerPoint format, and then (2) share it with our web team and designers or (if the project is big) prospective design vendors. It’s an easy and effective way of figuring out what you’re really trying to do with a new design or section revamp.

A design brief will save you time, aggravation, and money, by answering fundamental questions such as:

  • Why are you embarking on this new web project, anyway?
  • What are your primary business objectives and success measures?
  • Who are you audiences and what are your users key requirements?
  • What similar sites or projects inspire you?
  • What kinds of customer data and site metrics do you have available to inform the design?
  • Who are the key contacts and stakeholders, and what other related projects are underway?
  • What is the global reach of the project?

We created the Cisco.com Design Brief based on best practices across industries, and we use it to catch the important questions early and get projects started off on the right foot. We’ve found projects that start with a standard Design Brief have much better success:

You can download an example of the brief we use here.

Have a look at our design brief format, and feel free to adopt it to your next web project, especially if it involves design. Enjoy!

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