Too many web design projects end badly, with websites that just don't deliver the results.
At the end of this course... you'll have something in your hand:
A professional-level website brief to give to a web developer, web designer or agency.
It will be so good there's little chance they won't 'get it'.
You will give them a deep level of understanding of your business and customers, and a clear set of requirements to explore.
This course gives you a tangible output that moves your business forward
The course contains:
You will need to dedicate around one hour per activity
Some of the material we cover:
Business goals, buyer-personas, user-goals, brand story, wireframes and more.
Hi there! Welcome to the first Digital Heart course. I'm Elite Avner, the brains behind our website, Digital Heart.
Creating an in-depth design brief is one of the most important steps in having a new website designed. Without a brief, everything can fall apart. We are going to guide you through each stage needed to complete the brief that you can then hand to a website developer or agency.
At the end of this course...
You will have created a professional-level website brief to give to a web developer/designer or agency. It will be so good there's little chance they won't 'get it'. You will give them a deep level of understanding of your business and customers, and a clear set of requirements for the website.
This course is the closest we could come to holding your hand without actually being there!
Our goal for this course is to guide you through the creation of the perfect design brief for your next web project while saving you the stress or hassle of walking into the unknown. We’ll provide you with
Some lectures will introduce you to tasks that may take 2-3 hours to complete, things like analysing competitor websites and developing customer personas. Other tasks will be short and sweet.
We will send the emails every week day but if you end up a little behind schedule don't worry, the emails will be clearly numbered and you'll be able to complete tasks in your own time.
That’s it for our introduction, now lets get started.
Hello, welcome to the 1st section of our course, at the end of which you will have an effective brief to give to your web designer.
Let’s start the course by going back to the beginning and focus on preparation.
Preparing well is vital for your project’s success.
Many people who wish to create a brand new site, think of hiring a web developer as a process that is mainly won or lost by the developer. However, if you want the project to be successful, that is far from the truth. It requires plenty of preparation and acumen from the side of the small business too!
The work you’ll be doing on this course will serve to inform everyone involved in your website project on:
What your business is about
What your customers are like
What the business goals are
What the customer goals are
Without this information, it’s unlikely that your new website will produce the results you're after.
In this section, we are going to begin the work needed to make the time and money you invest into a web project worth the trouble.
Are you ready?
You’ve probably encountered SMART goals before (Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, Timely).
Business goals are created to drive the business in a specific direction, and to help the whole team make decisions. The truth is that even founders can sometimes lose track of the where they’re going, so writing goals down can help.
Your business goals can also instruct the design of your website. For example, perhaps the current payment process on your website is a known pain point for customers, and you want to develop an easier check-out. By improving this, your sales should increase.
The following exercise is to be completed with your website in mind. Think of how the website can help you achieve your business goals.
Activity 1: Website SMART chart
To start you off, we have prepared a SMART Chart template, which you can copy and fill in. You can also find it in our Download Pack where you’ll be able to save all the exercises and print them out.
Fill in around ten rows
If you have more than ten, you may need to prioritise… Rome wasn’t built in a day!
Note: Table is in the resources section
There’s no shortcut to online success, and you’re on the right path working through this email course, so well done! Tomorrow, we’ll focus on customer segments.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please hit the reply button and drop me a line. I will respond personally to every email.
Catch you tomorrow!
Elite Avner Marriott
Founder of Digital Heart
P.S. big shout to our inspired and inspirational content marketer John Whiting @JohnWhiting92, without whom this course would not have materialised
Welcome to day 2.
Yesterday we started you off with the important task of identifying your business goal, the first step on your way to a new website. We hope you managed to make progress with this and if you need clarification on anything, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tasks we will be guiding you through today are:
Brainstorming customer segments
Identifying your top 5 segments
Let's get started.
You may think you already know the answer to this question, but how much do you really know about your customers?
For example, do you know your average customers’
Marital status, age of children
Things they aspire to do
Things that make them angry
How well they use computers/mobile
Which social media platforms they usually use
It’s good to get specific because your understanding of your audience is going to impact your new website from the copy you write and information you include, to promotions, choice of images, colours and functionality. If you are struggling with this, it would be good to invest some time into conducting market research. Using surveys and talking to people will help you gain insights into who your audience are and what they are like.
To start you off, we’ve prepared a template for you to fill in (don’t forget to delete our examples). You can also find it in our Download Pack where you’ll be able to save all the exercises and print them.
Activity 1: Brainstorm Customer Segments
List at least 5 existing customer segments
List at least 5 potential customer segments
Note: Be specific, e.g., instead of saying ‘women’, say: ‘First-time mothers living in Richmond.’
Note: Table is in the resources section
Activity 2: Up to 5 top customer segments
List your top 5 segments. Your new website will cater for these people. It can be a combination of existing and potential segments.
Note: aim to select the segments that
have the highest number of people
have the highest need for your service
have the ability to pay for it
are relatively easy for you to access
Great, remember these 5 segments, and tomorrow we’ll breathe some life into them!
Being super-clear about your top customer segments is a significant part of the foundation for your web brief. It might take a few hours to complete, and that’s ok. It’s better to take more time than to rush it and end up with poor customer segments.
Founder of Digital Heart
Did you manage to complete yesterday’s work?
Today’s task depends on yesterday’s outcome. We’re about to figure out who your customers are on a deeper level. This task works well as a team effort, so assemble a few people in your favourite meeting room, download the chart we’ve provided below and work through the questions together.
Good luck and if you need any help, please leave a comment
We’re moving on to developing your online brand story. We’ll build it over the next couple of days, starting with a few simple, fun tasks.
This is another team exercise and a chance for everyone to reflect on how the company operates, where it excels and where improvements could be made.
Keep in mind during this task:
There are no wrong answers!
Download the task documents for the instructions and templates to fill in.
We’re at the halfway point of working through your detailed brand analysis. Today is all about brand values. This is an important task and you can find out the reasons why in the next section. We’re going to be working on two core exercises:
Core values exercise
Don’t rush this task - values touch people’s most personal preferences and principles - so listen carefully to yourself and to your team. If you’re wondering how this task relates to creating a website, then be sure to read our suggested post about Lego at the bottom.
Download the task sheets and let's get going!
We’re approaching the halfway point in the course and also the end of our section on branding.
Today we have two exercises that should help you clarify what makes your company unique in words everyone understands:
Crystallizing your brand story
Brand personality scale
Explore and have fun creating a narrative about your company.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the examples below.
We hope you have been enjoying the course so far! Have you managed to complete all of your homework? ;)
By now you have (hopefully) nailed down your business goals, what your different audience groups are like (Personas), your company values and brand story.
Today we’re going to focus on (one of my favourites!) competitor research. This is an extremely important section that helps you to understand:
What your competitors are doing with their websites
How to position your company and website in a different and more attractive way than your competitors
Basically how to out-do them...
Take a look at the downloadable tasks and start investigating!
It’s finally time to list your high-level websites requirements. You knew this would come sooner or later…!
It’s a big one, and will take some time to do - it’s perfectly normal to stretch this task over several hours.
To list your requirements, we’re going to consider all the exercises you’ve already completed and focus on 3 tasks:
From personas to user goals
User-needs-based requirement list
Business-needs-based requirement list
Let’s get started...
Oh, you’ve come a long way!
You’ve taken huge strides towards creating your design brief, so well done.
Today we're going to look at the content your new website should contain. You’ll be analysing your current website (if you have one), and filling in a content-plan spreadsheet (obviously, skip this if you haven't got a website at all yet).
We’re edging closer to having a completed design brief, so be sure to stick to the tasks. It takes time to complete but every minute spent at the beginning will save you time and money in the long run.
After completing the behemoth task yesterday of compiling all your web pages into a spreadsheet, today’s activity should seem much more relaxing and fun. Your homework for today involves interviewing your colleagues, friends and family.
This task is important because you’ll receive honest feedback from real people about your site. Sometimes it is tough to hear criticism even if it is constructive, but keep in mind all of this data is necessary to take your website to the next level.
One aspect many small businesses overlook is the amount of new content needed when creating a new website. Text for the ‘About’ page, taglines, contact details, information about products/services, marketing messages - these are all required. The designer isn’t supposed to create this content; you are. It’s necessary to include the creation of this content in the project timeline as delays may hold up the designer and the launch of your website.
Luckily for you, you’re well ahead of the game and can plan ahead by completing the activity below.
Today's session is centered on the creation of your site’s structure. The tasks are group activities that invite everyone to think how individual site pages should be linked to each other.
The two exercises today are:
Have a go and email or tweet at us if you need any help. (@Elite_Avner)
We’re nearly at the end, we’re so glad to see you’re getting through the course and hope you’re finding it useful. You should know a lot about what your website should contain by now, and how to structure it. Today we are going to create a sketch of a web page called a wireframe.
*This is an optional task - it needs to be done, but if you’re finding it difficult you could leave it for your designer/developer to do it, just don’t forget to ask. Skipping this step means risking a website that perhaps looks nice but doesn’t deliver the results you’re after.
In any case, let’s have a go at wireframing.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final day of the course! Take a moment to congratulate yourself for all the hard work and effort you’ve put into this. You’re so close to finishing. All that is left is to compile all of your research into a slide deck.
A slide deck is a powerpoint presentation containing the important pieces of data/research you have collected over the last two weeks. You’re putting it into a format that any developer or design agency will clearly understand.
When presenting the slide deck to your developer/or agency, you’ll pair it with the spreadsheets you’ve made. They’ll be referenced in the design brief for the developer to refer to. The information on the spreadsheets is too much to go into the design brief; that’s why they will be supporting documents.
I work with both big and small business on delivering great digital products - web, software and everything in between.
I'm passionate about taking the best methodologies from the world of big budgets and big business, and re-sizing them to fit smaller budgets.
WHY DO SMALL BUSINESSES NEED EXTRA HELP WITH THE WEB?
Small businesses rarely have the resource and skills to create exciting, or even simply effective digital solutions. This puts small business at a disadvantage in a rapidly digitized market.
I set up Digital Heart to help bring top-notch skills, creative and innovative thinking to those who need it most.
At Digital Heart, we're on a mission to share knowledge and skills with small businesses everywhere. To encourage and open up this vast digital world of opportunities.
Nobody has to be left behind.
My name is John, and during the last 4 years I've worked in the exciting world of startups with a focus on marketing, web design and user experience.
I've created and executed marketing plans on 6 successful crowdfunding campaigns, created a variety of websites for clients, and much more.
I'm a marketer by trade and have a passion for constantly learning and working on exciting projects.
I'm fortunate to enjoy the work I do, and teaching through Udemy is a way I like to share my knowledge with others. I look forward to answering your questions and am available for 1-on-1 chats with all students.