What your designer wants to know

Below are some questions for you to consider when planning your Web site project. While not all questions apply to every project, knowing the answers to the questions that are relevant to you will help your project move along smoothly.

  • Who is your target audience?
  • Why will they be visiting your website and what will they expect to find?
  • Are they worried about internet security?
  • What special needs will your audience have? Think about:
    • location and connection speed
    • Will your visitors be accessing your site with desktop computers, mobile devices, or both?
    • accessibility concerns (visual and mobility impairments)
    • language and literacy capabilities
  • Budget
  • What is your website budget?
  • What percentage of your budget is for design and development? What percentage is for marketing? What percentage is for maintenance?
  • Hosting
  • Do you have a web host?
  • Do you have a domain name?
  • Do you have the login information to access your hosting account?
  • Marketing
    and SEO
  • Have you done market research on your product/service to get a list of the most popular relevant keywords?
  • Do you have a budget for marketing your website, or will you be doing your own search engine submission, link exchanges, pay-per-click campaigns, email newsletters, etc.?
  • The Future of Your Site
  • How do you expect your site to grow and change in the future?
  • How will your content change?
  • If you plan to have frequent or extensive changes, will you make them yourself? If not, what is your budget for site maintenance and updates?
  • Color
  • What colors do you like?
  • What colors do you hate?
  • What emotions would you like your site to evoke, and what colors do you think would create the effect you desire?
  • Content
  • Do you have a logo, graphics, and/or photographs that you are authorized to use?
  • Do you have text content written, proofread, and spellchecked?
  • Have you tested your content on others to see if you are communicating your message effectively?
  • Site Function, Features & Complexity
  • How important is being able to edit your site yourself?
  • Do you need photo galleries? Animation? Audio? Video? Feeds?
  • Do you need custom forms and database applications? Ecommerce?
  • Make a list of the things you want visitors to be able to do on your site, and be aware that all of the features you list will most likely increase the cost of your project.
  • Sample Sites
  • Are there sites you particularly like?
  • What features have you seen on other websites that you particularly like or dislike?
  • Are there sites or features that you find particularly easy or difficult to understand?
  • Photos and Your Web Site

    Photographs on the Web are different from photographs for printing, either as snapshots or within a publication like a brochure.  Photos for printing usually require at least 300 pixels per inch for quality results; screen resolution, however, is a maximum of 72 pixels per inch.  This is why it’s difficult to get a good quality print from photos saved to your computer by right-clicking within a web browser.

    Therefore, when you’re sending photos to me for placement on your website, you can usually reduce their size with photo editing software to make uploading quicker.  Picasa is a free photo editor available from Google.

    You must have the legal right to use photos you place on your website. This usually means you have taken them yourself or obtained them from their legal owner. By emailing me a photo you are certifying that you are legally permitted to use it on your Web site.

    Stock photography is another good source of photographs. Morguefile.com is a source of royalty-free photos; these may not be the highest quality but you can usually find very serviceable photographs there, especially of people. Two good sources to buy reasonably-priced professional photographs are iStockphoto.com and Shutterfly.com. I have accounts with both of these sites and can obtain photos for you usually for around $15 per photo.