The Importance of a Clear and Concise Brief

When working with a client, I always ask them to provide a detailed brief. In that brief I require as much information from the client as they could possibly provide (nearly every brief brought to my attention is lacking in some way. To combat this, after I receive the brief I then discuss it with the client further and add to the brief).

Company overview, project goals and objectives, technical requirements, usability requirements, functional requirements, proposed budget and project schedule are just some of the nuggets of information and insight required in order to design and develop an effective web presence.

So why am I telling you all this? I’m telling you because I would like to provide you with an example of what happens when this, very important, stage in the design and development process is blatantly ignored.

I have recently just finished redesigning my website. Because it was my own site I ignored my own protocols and just dived straight into the design and development phase. I thought that, because it was my own site, I would be able to just ‘wing it’.

Sadly this was not the case. What actually happened is I spent ages designing, redesigning and redesigning again. Adding and removing functionality and just generally being horribly un-organised. In the end I scrapped the whole project in favour of writing a brief and sticking to it. I had already wasted several weeks on it, time that could and should have been spent working with clients. Once I had hammered out a brief it took only a short time to complete the project and present to you, the user, a complete site that I am happy with.

The moral of the story (apologies for the cliché) is as follows:

If you do not wish to waste to waste the only real commodity we have in this world (that’s time by the way) and save yourself un-ending amounts of frustration then write that brief, and most importantly, stick to that brief.

Your project is important and deserves you at your best. Becoming frustrated because of our own disorganised nature, (even the most organised of human beings is still only human), can have a damaging effect on the project. A clear direction and a level head is what is needed to make your project a success.

While this example is focused on web design and development it also applies to most other aspects of life. Nearly all situations could be improved by proper planning and forethought. We all know this yet we all leave things to chance and hope for the best. When you come to tackle a situation, any situation, make sure you have carefully planned your course of action. Taking that little bit of time at the beginning will save you enormous amounts of time and stress later on.

I hope you have found this post interesting and informative enough to read to the end. If you have any comments please feel free to add them using the form below. I would love to hear your stories, on this or any other subject. If you wish your stories to be just between us then please by all means send me an email, to which I will reply to as quickly as possible.