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Before you Begin The Importance of Planning in Web Design

Published on April 26, 2012
Tags: Web Design London

A lot of the focus in the world of web design is often on the process of design – and with good reason. Poor design can easily ruin the very best of intentions, which is why it is so important that we take the utmost care over every single site we create. However, not quite as much attention is paid to the bit that comes before the actual web design stage – the planning. This is the part that is generally the responsibility of the company in need of the website, and it’s important to get it right as this can have just as much effect on the outcome of your website as the design itself.

Let’s have a look at five key stages that give us an insight into the importance of planning in website design.

What is its purpose?

This first point is something that is likely to sound obvious to a lot of people, but – what is your website for? Without a good answer to this question, it is unlikely that your site will be as focused as it could be and it will make the rest of your planning more difficult, as well as making it harder to create a compelling design to go along with the plan.

For example, your site could be to raise awareness of an issue or a business, or it could be to entertain or inform, or it might be that you want to focus on ecommerce. It might also involve a combination of purposes, which is fine – the main aim of this exercise is to determine what they are.

Who is it for?

Then we come onto the issue of the audience, which in many ways is wrapped up in the above point. You need to know who your website is going to be aimed at – will they be stakeholders, customers or someone else? What age are they likely to be? What do they typically use your company for? What are they looking for in a website from you?

This stage of the planning process can involve a bit of research, such as surveying your target market or having a look at competitors’ websites to see how they have targeted their information. This can help you get a better idea of the kind of information you will need to include.

What information will you need?

This brings us on to the next stage of planning – the content. What information will you need to include on your website? How are you going to put this across? It’s perhaps inevitable that your website will end up including a mixture of written content, graphics and interactivity, but you need to decide exactly how this is going to be broken down and the part that each piece of content is going to play.

The navigation of your website is also linked to this; it needs to be easy for web users to get around your website, so when you are planning what content you are going to include, make sure you have a good, simple plan that makes it easy for people to work out where everything is.

What should it look like?

Of course, you also shouldn’t neglect the look of your site, and you can have quite a lot of fun deciding what you want it to look like. For example, you could choose to include your existing company branding to ensure continuity and make sure your site is instantly recognisable to the people who use it.

You might also like to give some thought to the kind of feel you’d like your website to invoke, such as whether you’re going for a clean and professional look, or something a little funkier.

What’s your long term strategy?

Finally, as well as your initial website plan, don’t forget to engage in a little bit of blue sky thinking and develop a strategy for the longer term. It’s extremely likely that there will come a point when you’re website needs an upgrade or even a complete overhaul, so you might want to think about how you might manage this. What is your goal for the site? How will it need to adapt over time to deal with this?

Even simple things, such as deciding who will be updating your blog or news section should be considered so you have a clear plan for delivery, and so you’ll be able to get straight down to business once your new web design has been completed.


By Chelsey Evans

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