As many website designers can attest to, creating a website is frequently anything but simple. The client usually provides a brief with the aim of achieving particular goals. The challenge for the designer is how to best reach these goals in the clearest and most engaging way, while sticking to the budget. In this article we offer some insight into the workflow of our Studio’s website design team – from the initial briefing, right up to crafting cutting-edge and engaging web designs…

 

THE INITIAL BRIEFING:

Briefing conversations vary from one client to the next and from one project to the next. Whether they be lengthy and highly detailed or short and sweet, both parties should have a short list of questions and, in the case of the client, they may have some requirements and guidelines for the design team. Our designers will typically ask about your target audience, closest competitors, and brand assets. Some of our clients have presented us with highly technical and detailed briefs, whereas others have given us a basic concept or idea and leave us to it so they can get back to running their business. But there are a couple of questions to consider that may not be so obvious that can really aid the design process:

 

Are the requirements of any ‘must-haves’ crystal clear?

The freedom to create a brand identity with a fairly loose set of guidelines can be a real pleasure for a designer to work with. It offers the flexibility and space to explore different possibilities when developing concepts, and can let designers improve upon on an existing brand or logo design. With this freedom, on the other hand, designers may stray too far from the client’s expectations.

A fully comprehensive list of requirements can provide the client with some reassurance as to the final outcome. Designers can progress confident that they are working to the client’s specific taste and style. The downside to this approach is that more creative avenues may be dismissed, and designs may be forced to fit particular styles.

The key is providing a clear brief which is sufficiently detailed to guide the designer in the right direction, while allowing enough freedom to explore innovative and different concepts. In return, the SOS design team invest a significant amount of time to establish a clear understanding of the project and client’s guidelines – enabling us to question the client appropriately yet not excessively, and set clear expectations of how we intend to interpret and design your idea.

 

What is the budget for the project?

It’s important both parties have a transparent understanding of the financial aspect of a project. The cost of any project depends on a number of things, including but not limited to; whether the client provides their own content text and images or whether this is created by the design and SEO/Marketing teams, the complexity of functionality, the size and scale of the project. We’ve made websites for clients ranging in price from $500 to $12,000 – from one-page websites to sites with tens of thousands of words and hundreds of pages.

For the designer, it’s important to know the budget (or at least an approximation of the budget) for a project from the outset. This lets the designer make the best decisions of what’s possible in terms of the complexity and functionality of your design. Does the budget allow for an HTML5 background video? Can the budget afford the time required for designers and developers to create parallax scrolling effects and other similar features that really bring designs to life?

For some clients, it’s important to know what their project idea will cost them before making any firm commitments. At Scroll Out Studio that’s absolutely fine! It’s perfectly understandable that clients want to know what they’re getting, especially if it’s the client’s first project, or is unfamiliar with websites, SEO, or whatever the project may involve.

After we have a solid brief for a project, we start researching.

 

 isfx-design-team

 

A DESIGN ➜ BUSINESS CONVERSION MINDSET:

All designs have a purpose. Whether we are commissioned to work on logo concepts, graphic design or website design, there is an aim behind any visually stunning piece we craft. Taking time to understand our clients’ business and objectives is one of our greatest strengths and equips us to create the most effective and highest converting design concepts for our clients.

We always take time to thoroughly understand the real business and economics behind any project. We’ve worked with several businesses and individuals over the last few years to create visually stunning results – no matter how serious or how crazy the project may be.

 

RESEARCH & INSPIRATION:

Each designer has their own preference and go-to resources for inspiration. This stage is entirely based on individual choice. Most website designers start by gaining an understanding of the client and their aims of the project. Sometimes there is a light bulb moment near the start of the project and it’s tempting to delve right into the frameworking phase. However, the SOS design team normally take time to consider options to ensure the best paths are taken. This includes, but is not limited to, analyzing competitors’ websites and other sites of different design work, like magazine layouts and branding. Often, one of the first things we do following our research is check out the latest resources for inspiration…

 

Awwwards

Perhaps the most popular and high quality resource available is Awwwards. It is a collection of some of the best website designs worldwide. Frequently refreshed and featuring a wide spectrum of different genres, this tends to be the ‘go-to’ resource on most web designers’ quests for inspiration and creative thinking.

 

Concept Feedback

Concept Feedback is a good resource for quality web design and design feedback, it’s nicely organized and simple to navigate. We like these folks – they featured some of our website designs last year. It’s a great resource to get constructive feedback and comments from peers and the public.

 

THE NEXT STAGE…

After we’ve done our research, formed a clear mindset of the prospective website users, and absorbed inspirational and cutting-edge web design ideas, it’s time to create our design concepts…

 

THE DESIGN: HOW WILL IT STAND OUT?

Not all digital agencies place such a large emphasis on understanding the client’s business and creating the most effective design to achieve their business objectives. At SOS, every website we create is unique and features at least one cutting edge element that sets it apart from competitors and makes it memorable for visitors. SOS is a complete digital agency, so the standout features we implement are not limited to website design features or technical functionalities. Truly memorable websites can rest upon a stunning HTML5 background video, eye-catching photography, or a notable tone of copywriting. When designing a website that stands out from the crowd, we think about the users first and craft a concept which communicates with them in the clearest and most effective way. Check out a few examples of the designs we’ve used in recent projects…

 

Epic Tree Care – Tree Surgeons
epic-tree-care

Epic Tree Care, a new forestry and arboriculture company, contracted us to redesign their existing website and improve the company’s visibility in search engine results. It was important the new website reflected the technical expertise of the company’s highly skilled arborists. So too was the importance of maintaining the company’s color scheme and retro image. We worked closely with the client to deliver a bold and striking design concept that fitted their company identity and image. We also used cutting-edge design techniques like the typing text effect and HTML5 video on the homepage. Combined with fantastic photography, this resulted in a stunning website.

Our SEO analysts devised a highly tailored SEO and marketing plan which portrayed the high quality service, to differentiate our client from local amateur ‘handymen’ and landscapers. We achieved #1 google rank with this new website in less than four months.

 

Stripped Clean

stripped clean responsive devices

Stripped Clean is a naked maid and butler service, which operates in six countries; Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, South Africa, UK, and USA. The project required a website for each country – six in total. The sites had to be uniform and consistent, fun and engaging, but also explain how such a unique service works.

We worked closely with the owner to establish a bold and striking brand identity. We also used cutting-edge development techniques such as the booking system and scrolling effect slider on the homepage. Combined with fantastic photography, this resulted in a truly fantastic and modern website that looks just as good on any device.

The standout feature of our website design work, amongst a variety of other complex functionalities, is an online booking system so website users can book and pay for appointments with multiple payment methods including Bitcoin for discretion or anonymity – perfect for such a risqué service!!

We also created social media accounts and published enticing and engaging content to create brand awareness and help generate business leads.

 

{’ typo hunter

typohunter

Launching a new proofreading service, the {‘ typo hunter required a website that not only explained clearly what they do, but also reflected their technical expertise. With a concise set of key information to display, we decided against a traditional website structure and built a dynamic one-page website which allows the user to browse an overview of the entire content of the site without the need to navigate between pages. The layout is fluid and unique, yet still easy to navigate. The standout feature is the popup custom inquiry/quote form which was coded with javascript; the best solution for the client’s diverse and unique offering.

The client provided a very basic brief and pretty much left us to it. We created a logo for a bold and striking brand identity, which the client loved before we moved onto the website design. Of the two concepts we drafted and presented to the client, they opted for our first design. We got to work coding the framework and implementing custom features such as the inquiry/quote form and typing text effect. Combined with stunning photographs and images, this resulted in a truly amazing and professional website that looks amazing on all devices.

We also created social media accounts and we posted some unique, eye-catching and engaging content to create brand awareness and help generate business leads.

 

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Our design team don’t settle for mediocre design work. We devote our concentration and focus to give each project a distinctive and memorable impression with innovative features and functionalities that make your website stand out against competitors.

Once we’ve decided on the best design concept for the website, we start bringing the site to life in the coding and framework stage. Check out our blog for Part 2 of this article.