What to Ask When Starting a Website Design Project

With over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google*, users have more content than ever at their fingertips. Whether you’re a local business, national blogger or large corporation, your website may be the primary platform that connects your users to your brand.

That’s why it’s essential to have the right web presence. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution (I’m not sure anything really is.)

With do-it-yourself platforms like WordPress allowing anyone with a computer and credit card to publish a shiny new website, the average person becomes a web designer and developer within a few hours. And some of the DIY-ers do a pretty good job using a template to create a professional looking website.

As we’ve learned from years of experience, testing and data, a website may look professional, but that doesn’t mean it’s attracting potential customers and converting them. This is why you need to ask these questions.

6 Questions You Need to Ask

If you’re a designer, you’re probably already asking these (and many more), if not, then you’ll need to start. And if you’re in the market for a new website, I suggest you read this carefully so you can ensure your designer and developer are headed in the right direction.

  1. Tell me about your business: what services do you provide / what products do you sell?
  2. Tell me about your core values.
  3. Describe your customer base.
  4. Why do your customers choose you?
  5. Walk me through your internal processes from pre-sale to post-sale customer service.
  6. What goal/purpose do you want your website to fulfill?


1 – Tell me about your business: what services do you provide / what products do you sell?

If you don’t know what you’re selling then how will you sell it? This question is essential to understanding what the website is being created for.

How the service or product can shape a web experience:

If you’ve set foot in a mall, then you’ve definitely heard of Build-A-Bear. A unique business that allows customers to build their own stuffed toy. Although they sell products, their focus is on the experience. The website translates this experience perfectly.

Visit the Build-A-Bear website >


2 – Tell me about your core values.

The core values define a company’s culture – they tell the customers what to expect.

How the core values can shape a web experience:

Zappos is an excellent example of how core values can set a company apart. Every employee is expected to learn and embrace the core values.

They’re well known for not just sharing their core values, but celebrating them.

Read the Zappos’ core values >


3 – Describe your customer base.

How can you measure the effectiveness of the website if you don’t know the target market? The customers age, geographical location, culture, social life, etc all help in creating the best possible experience.

How the target audience can shape a web experience:

Almost every parent with a young child has visited the PBS Kids website. From the choice of colours to fonts it’s clear they understand their primary audience.

Explore the PBS Kids website >


4 – Why do your customers choose you?

There is at least one reason (or few) as to why a customer decides to do business with a company. Dig deep, this information is key to selling the brand. It can be in the form of text, images or video.

How the USP can shape a web experience:

I can’t think of any brand other than Apple when it comes to this question. Apple has done a fantastic job of building a loyal customer following based on aesthetics and usability alone.

Visit the Apple website >


5 – Walk me through your internal processes from pre-sale to post-sale customer service.

Having a good understanding of the customer’s interaction with the brand can help with the content strategy and site architecture.

How the internal process can shape a web experience:

Canvas printing has come to a whole new light with the website CanvasPop. They pride themselves with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and even educate customers on their internal process with graphics, text and video strategically placed throughout their website.

Check out their process >


6 – What goal/purpose do you want your website to fulfill.

The answer to the final question will help align the client’s expectations with the customer’s needs. If the client expects sales to go up, then the customer’s needs will need to be addressed in order to meet that expectation.

How the client’s expectations can shape a web experience:

With Adobe’s new stock photography subscription users are granted access to millions of photographs once they signup for a subscription. This model balances both the expectations of the end user and the company.

Browse the Adobe stock photography website >


It’s All About Setting the Foundation for Success

Getting started on the right foot is key in any project. Whether building a new store location or a website, understanding the brand as a whole is crucial to creating the best user experience.

Free Download

Here it is: a ready to go worksheet of the 6 questions you need to ask at your first meeting for any web design project.

Click here to download >

*Reference: http://www.internetlivestats.com/google-search-statistics/

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