© Nead, LLC

Menu Close
Close

How to Help Your Website Designer Capture Your Vision

Hiring a website developer to create your website is exciting. Finally, your vision will come to life and you’ll have the website you’ve always envisioned. You’ll generate some traffic, get some sales, build your email list, and before you know it – your brand will become well-known.

While it takes time to build a good brand and loyal following, it’s not impossible to achieve success from ground zero. However, your website will serve as the foundation for that success. That’s why it’s critical to do everything possible to help your developer truly get your vision.

You have a vision for your website; you can see it in your mind’s eye (and may be tempted to DIY your website design as a result). You may not know all of the details, but your overall vision is clear. Now your job is to communicate that vision to your developer. That’s where things can get a little fuzzy.

It’s not easy to communicate an internal vision

A good developer can bring your vision to life, but you’ll need to communicate your vision clearly. Communicating a vision isn’t something you drop in an email and wait for results.

Communicating your vision to your developer is a continuous process. You’ll need to have ongoing, frequent conversations every step of the way.

You might find it difficult to put your idea into words, and that’s okay. A good developer will ask you questions and work with you to extract your vision piece by piece.

Although your developer will ask you questions, there are several things you can do to help them understand and capture your vision.

Ask plenty of questions

Ask these questions (if applicable to your project):

  • What do you envision the user experience will be like in reference to my desired features?
  • How do you picture the layout of the user interface?
  • Have you seen anything like my idea before?
  • Have you created anything like my idea before?
  • Will the user interface be easy? Can you make user account changes automatically save without forcing the user to click a “save” button?
  • Can you see any potential problems with my idea? What workaround might I need to consider, or compromises?

The more questions you ask, the better. Make sure you’re clear on what your developer is thinking because if they’re going down the wrong path, you can steer them back on track.

Send links to websites you like with detailed commentary

When you find websites you like, it’s easy to just send your developer a list of website links and say, “these are the websites I like.” Links are great, but you also need to describe the specific reasons you like each site.

Website developers aren’t mind readers – they need specific observations and detailed instructions.

For instance, say you send your developer a link to the Shopify.com website as an example of a website you like. In your mind, you like the color scheme. Your developer might think you like the layout. If you don’t communicate exactly what you like about the website, your developer will waste time creating a layout that looks similar to the Shopify site.

Developers don’t like wasting time because each branch of a project can take several hours. If they’re working for a flat fee, they’re going to eat the cost of all wasted time caused by miscommunication. If the work takes too much time, they might end up billing you extra for not communicating clearly.

How to send your developer links to websites you like:

  • Include links to the exact pages you like. Don’t just include the home page if there’s an element you like on a different page. List all URLs and details.
  • Make a list of all the page elements you like. Do you like the color scheme? Which colors, specifically? Do you like the typeface? The line spacing? The header placement? The way the drop-down menu functions? The logo? The placement of social sharing buttons? Be as detailed as possible.
  • Utilize screenshots. Take screenshots of what you like and use a free image editing application to mark the areas you like. If you can’t mark the images online, print them out and make hand-written notes.

Send all links and comments to your developer in a word processing document rather than an email. This makes it easier for developers to access and reference your ideas.

Ask your developer to show you similar, live examples

Creating a website is a team effort between you and your developer. You’ll provide the original idea, but your developer will help you clarify your vision as they figure out what you really want.

Inner sight visions rarely match, as each person can only see from their own reference point and past experience.

Developers will automatically see your project differently than you. They’re going to be thinking in terms of functionality, while you’re probably going to be focused more on aesthetics. You know what you want the end result to look like, but your developer might have a completely different vision.

For example, say you request your developer to create a document storage and sharing platform. In your mind, you’re picturing a cloud-based application that looks and functions like Box. However, when the project is completed, it looks and functions more like Mega. Both file storage platforms offer similar features, but the interfaces are completely different.

After explaining what you want, ask your developer to send you live links to sites that are using the features you’re asking them to create. It’s possible that none exist yet, but ask them anyway. Sometimes you need to see existing projects in action to know more about what you do or don’t want.

Define your end goal in detail

Everyone needs a website these days, right? Why? Just to have a website? While most people do need a website, you still need to define a specific end goal. Your website developer will keep your goal in mind the entire time they’re designing and developing your site.

Here are some common goals and priorities that might apply to your website:

  • Goal #1: Generate sales. If your main goal is to generate sales, your developer will use a user-friendly ecommerce platform like Shopify or BigCommerce.

If your developer doesn’t know sales are your priority, you could end up with a website that doesn’t support ecommerce without extensive (and expensive) modifications.

  • Goal #2: Generate email signups. If your goal is to generate email signups, your developer will make sure your layout delivers a pop-up and includes a permanent spot for an email signup form.

If your developer doesn’t know your goal is to generate email signups, you might not be able to strategically place your email signup form on your webpages. There are definite locations that encourage more signups and you want to make sure your website is built to accommodate your forms in these locations.

  • Goal #3: Generate phone calls. If you’re working with a law firm or any business where visitors will want to contact you immediately, your developer will place your contact information in the header of every page.

If your developer doesn’t know you need people to contact you immediately, they won’t create a place for your contact information in the header. This will probably delay your project, as they’ll need to rework your layout.

  • Goal #4: Educate visitors. If you’re building a personal website, your goal might be to simply educate others. In this case, your developer will create a layout that supports a content-rich experience beginning with your home page.

If your developer doesn’t know your goal is simply to educate, they might build a complex layout better suited for a business.

  • Goal #5: Get media views/webinar signups. Do you just want people to play your videos and sign up for your webinars? Your developer will create a page template that accommodates a video or signup form in the middle of a full-width page.

If your developer doesn’t know your goal is to get media views and webinar signups, you’ll probably need to pay extra to have them create a new page template.

When your developer knows your end goal, they can plan your entire site’s design with that goal in mind. If they don’t fully understand your end goals and priorities, you might end up with a website that looks good, but doesn’t support your end goal(s) and priorities.

Communicating your goals to your developer from the beginning will save you time, frustration, and money. You’ll avoid having your project delayed and you won’t have to pay extra to have the work redone.

Allow your developer to take the lead

Your idea of how you want your website to look might not support your end goals. For example, say you really like a particular design, but that design creates barriers for your visitors. Those barriers can cost you thousands of email signups and an untold amount of sales.

Ultimately, getting a website that will support your goals might require compromising on your creative ideas. Your developer will know if an idea will undermine the features you need to achieve your goal.

Listen to your developer and be open to their input. They’ll be sharing from a place of experience.

Let website.design bring your vision to life

If you’re ready to bring your website to life, we’ll be happy to take on that task. Whether you need a business or personal website, we can create your vision.

Our expert developers love connecting with clients with creative ideas. When you work with us, our website design team will bring your vision to life and make you stand out in your industry.

Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about our design and development services. We look forward to speaking with you!

Ryan Nead

Leave a comment:

Top