10 Pro Tips for a Smooth Web Design Process

May 17, 2024 | Web Development

Creating a great business or nonprofit website takes collaboration. Our web design experts offer up their tips for making the project process move faster.

A designer creating a website out of paper mockups

In many ways, building a website today is a lot easier than it was when we started out 25 years ago. Our designers, developers and content specialists have so many more tools and even AI at their disposal now, and the process can move much faster than it used to.

But make no mistake: building a great business or nonprofit website is still hard.

It takes focus, strategy and vision to successfully translate a client’s dream into a polished final product. It also requires continual collaboration between our teams and yours. We may be the experts in web design, but you’re the expert on your brand, industry and customers—working together is where the magic really happens.

With that in mind, we asked our design and development experts to offer up ways that our clients can ensure a smooth web design process. Here are a few of their suggestions, so you’re ready for your next web design or redesign.

Before You Get Started

Many people are so eager and excited to get a new website that they jump straight to design and copy—but a truly unified design requires a lot of prep work to bring the right pieces together. The more you have planned, the more focused and effective your outcome will be. What does that look like?

Chart out your goals and vision

Before the kickoff meeting with our web design team, take some time to define your marketing goals for the new website. Do you want to generate leads, boost brand awareness, or increase online sales? It may be more than one.

Also think about the entire menu of products and services offered by your company. Are there specific items you want to highlight prominently (or that should be minimized)? This helps us prioritize how information is presented, both through visuals and in your web copy.

Entering our initial meeting with a clear vision and expectations helps us tailor the design and functionality to resonate with your target audience and drive the desired actions.

Learn more: Why you should use a web design agency for your next site.

Know thy audience

Highlighting your products and services is important, but even more important is knowing your audience. This will help your design team build a site that speaks directly to the wants and needs of your most profitable customers. Useful customer info we will likely ask for includes:

  • Demographics
  • Customer behaviors & sales data
  • Psychographics
  • Customer feedback

Think about needs vs. wants

We understand websites can hold a vast amount of information and cool features, but that needs to be balanced with the project scope and desired user experience. More is not always better when it comes to your website’s content or functionality.

To streamline the process, categorize your requests into “must-haves” (important content and features) and “nice-to-haves” (content or features that would be a bonus, but not critical). This prioritization helps us create a focused and effective website within the agreed-upon scope.

Represent Your Brand

Your brand is your unique fingerprint in the digital world, and your website should follow suit. Dig out your brand style guide, logos, and color palettes for sharing with the web design team. If you don't have a formal guide, simply jot down notes on the colors, fonts, and imagery that represent your brand personality.

The more we understand the visual assets that make your brand special, the more seamlessly we can weave it into the website’s final design.

Learn more: Creating your brand through imagery, voice, and service.

Identify other websites you like

Are there specific websites that really resonate with you? Maybe you like how they look, they’re exceptionally user friendly, or they achieve a specific goal really effectively.

Gather a few examples and share them with us during the initial meeting. Ideally, these examples come from both within your industry and outside your industry. And don’t worry, we’ll be doing competitor research too—this just gives us insights into your preferences and the type of user experience you envision.

Read the contract carefully

While you shouldn’t need a magnifying glass to read your project contract, you do need to make sure you understand its contractual conditions before moving ahead. This document will be a guide star for both you and the agency as you work toward completing your amazing new website.

Your project contract or organizing document should spell out:

  • Key objectives & scope
  • Specific deliverables—both the what and the when
  • Milestones
  • Budget
  • Terms of payment
  • Assignment of content rights
  • Cancellation terms and conditions

Getting to the Actual Web Design Work

Once the groundwork has been laid for your new web design project, it’s time to dive into the collaborative journey. Here are some tips to make sure the design, content creation and testing portions of your project go smoothly.

Be timely with reviews and feedback

Like most agencies, we present design mockups and content drafts throughout the process. Your timely feedback is essential for keeping the project scheduled and on track. Set aside dedicated time to review materials and provide constructive feedback. The quicker your turnaround, the faster we can refine and finalize your design.

Pick the right point person

Many companies involve multiple departments—marketing, sales, product teams and more—in the web design process. This is necessary, of course, to make sure the final site achieve everyone’s goals, but if every stakeholder is providing feedback to the agency, there’s a greater risk of wires being crossed and revisions getting revised, over and over again.

Here at Informatics, we will assign your web design project a dedicated project manager (PM), who will funnel and document all agency communications. Clients also need a dedicated point person to keep communication clear.

It should also be noted that there can be a lot of communications once a web project really gets going, so it’s important that your point person have the bandwidth to handle it.

Many companies want to designate a member of senior leadership in this role to speed decision making, but these people are often already extremely busy; it’s often more effective to designate a person with fewer leadership and delegation roles, and making sure they have a direct line to senior leadership for big decisions when they arise.

Make time to create great content

Many clients choose to write their website content as a way to save money. We totally get that—but remember that your website’s messaging is often your customer’s first impression of the brand. The only thing worse than no content is bad content, so make sure you’re putting in the time to research, revise and polish your work. Don’t underestimate this time commitment!

The same goes for the images on your website. If you’ll be taking your own photos to feature, make sure they’re well-lit, properly composed, and capture your brand. Users make their decision about a brand and website in less than 2 seconds, so your graphics need to be on point.

Learn more: How to choose the right image format for your website.

Write with the web in mind

Web-friendly writing means being optimized for online readers. Your content needs to be concise, clear, and engaging. The use of short paragraphs, bulleted lists, and strong headlines will keep visitors from clicking away before they take your desired actions.

If you’re writing your own content, you also need to be cognizant of SEO implications. As part of our research process, we will provide keyword recommendations to help your website rank higher in search engine results—but it’s up to you to put them into practice as you’re creating your content. Consider referencing the many SEO resources available online, including our own whitepaper on the latest SEO tips and secrets to know.

Final Takeways for Your Next Web Design

The web design relationship does not end with the website’s launch. Every business evolves over time, and so does technology. When it’s time to make adjustments to your site, you will save time and expense if you have invested in a long-term relationship with the experts who know your site from the ground up.

Effective communication is essential at every step. Don't hesitate to ask questions, share your ideas, and keep the conversation flowing. We understand you're the expert in your industry. However, we're the experts in web design. Trust our recommendations and design choices. They're based on years of experience and best practices for creating effective websites. We'll always explain our reasoning and collaborate with you to achieve your vision.

Informatics is here to guide you every step of the way and create a website you'll be proud to showcase to the world. Contact us today and let's build something you'll be proud to share.

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