As a web design and development company we have seen different levels of preparedness amongst our 400 plus clients to date. This has ranged from having no clue what was wanted all the way up to having wire frames and basic designs already mocked up. Starting your own business is a big step, starting an online based business is an even larger step. Hopefully, this short guide will help you in bringing all the necessary information and materials to your designers/developers and saving you, and them, money and man hours.
Have Your Content Planned Out
I can not stress this point enough, not having your content prepared is the most common reason that a web project is delayed. Clients can get upset that their project is not yet completed even though their designers and developers may have been waiting on parts of their content for days or even weeks. However, this isn’t just a problem on the client side of things. It is also a project manager’s worst nightmare. A project manager typically sets up a scheduled date and time for each of the different parts that a project may contain. When the client isn’t prepared with their content this means rescheduling those times for not only your project but other projects as well. This can cause productivity loss and more importantly what we like to call “Project Lag”! So, the key here is be sure to have at least some documentation for each page of your website even if it’s not your final draft it will at least serve as a great placeholder until you’ve worked out all the bugs in your site’s content.
Choose Colors and Fonts
Though some clients will give “free will” on their site’s design, when it really comes down to it there is a color scheme and overall look that is appealing to each one of them. Some people prefer a clean open look and still other would rather have more information and images than can fit onto a page. Whatever your style, make sure you come to the table with some basic colors and fonts picked out. Now, by fonts we mean web-safe fonts, no crazy off the wall fonts because even with the advent of CSS3′s @Font-Face some browsers still do not contain the compatibility for such features. If you don’t know what the web-safe fonts are, take a look here. There are also color limitations but to make things simpler, we have a great tool that can help you choose not only the main color of your site but an entire color scheme for your site.
Check out Adobe’s Kuler, this is perhaps one of the greatest color selection tools we have ever found. Once you have picked out your colors, you can actually save them as an Adobe swatch that you can later provide to your designers. They will LOVE you for this because it saves them hours of finding the right color combination to suite your preferences.
Know How Your Business Will Use the Site
It is one thing to know your business yet it is an entirely different thing to know how you business will use its new website. For some, like those with an e-commerce platform, the business use is a bit more obvious. Even then though using that platform in the most efficient way possible is not always planned out. What we are getting at here is that you should know and understand the process that your users will take while visiting your site. If that process doesn’t make sense to you, it will be like a trip down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland. So, think how you would want to traverse through your site’s information or products and create a simple flow chart for the developers working on your site. This seemingly small task will help shorten the amount of time spent creating a business cycle and thus lower the amount of money you spend to have a site developed for you.
Theses are just a few tips to help you lighten the load on your designer/developer and get your project running more smoothly and efficiently. For more helpful tips we recommend a trip to the library where you can find a few books we think offer great advice on the web design/development process and what will help it become more fluid: