On knowing the ‘Why’

Dave Shea has posted some thoughts on overcoming the dreaded designers’ block.

I’m most interested in this coment:

What’s more important than a planned process, however, is the due diligence (DD) that must happen before a design begins. Gathering materials like existing branding, project objectives, content, and anything else available is essential for the design process.

I couldn’t agree more.

Too many designs (and I’ve been guilty of this in the past too) are just slapped together without thinking about the website’s objectives. Logo here, nav there, photo here…

I had a meeting with a client a few days ago and we were discussing improving the conversion rate for their website. Their home page looked nice in a generic sort of way, used their logo and colours, but it had no real purpose. We identified a couple of concrete activities that a visitor could do, but the design in no way encouraged anything.

So here’s what I’m thinking. Whether you have designers’ block or not, here’s what you should have before you even think about starting:

  1. Existing branding
  2. Project objectives
  3. Content (or at the very least an outline of what the content will be)
  4. “Anything else available is essential for the design process” – which should include:
    • client preferences (if any)
    • potential audience or target market
    • Specific actions you’d like the reader to take

If you don’t have this information, you’ll really battle to make your design work. It might look nice, but the commercial reality is it needs to do more than that.