Vital Information For A Web Design Project Request Form

folderWhen I start a new design project, part of my intake process is requesting that clients complete a project request form, even if we’ve had phone conversations in advance. I’ve found that asking the client to spend some time thinking about the project and writing (or typing) down the specifics is a great exercise to flesh out the work, including what they want and don’t want the site to accomplish. The information becomes a tool to scope the project and create a project plan. If the right information is provided, it can save time and resources throughout the entire project.

The challenge is making the form long enough to include all of the questions you want to ask, while avoiding making it so long that it’s overwhelming. The method of submission can facilitate this process, too. I tend to tailor my request format in a way that suits each individual client and their preferences. Some formats I use include a Microsoft Word form (e-mailed, faxed or mailed back), an online form, copying and pasting the questions into an e-mail, and even verbally running down the list and writing their answers myself on occasion.

Here is some of the information I aim to gather from new clients:

Contact Information

  • Name
  • Company name
  • Mailing address
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address

Business Information

  • Year the business was established
  • How the business name was chosen
  • Nature of the business
  • Target audience
  • Main competitors
  • Any existing branding (logo, colors, fonts)

Website Information

  • Domain name
  • Purpose of the site
  • What information they will provide
  • Style of design they like best
  • Desired functionality/special features
  • Other sites they like and why

Other

  • Budget
  • Timeline
  • Communication preference
  • Contact person
  • Additional services they may need

At the time they submit the form, I ask that they send me all of the information they have for the site: content, logo, photos, other graphics, marketing materials, hosting account information. Usually, I get this information piecemeal, in forwarded e-mails, mailed hard copies, or various attachments, but I file and log everything I receive so it becomes a part of the client’s files.

What’s your process for gathering information for a design project and what do you consider the most important information to collect?

Image credit: scol22

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  • http://www.csskarma.com timwright

    It’s funny how many times a potential client will blow off the important budget question with something like “negotiable”…

  • http://www.joecianflone.com ChestRockwell

    Nice. I also like the one over at Happy Cog: http://www.happycog.com/contact/

  • http://www.waterfallweb.net/ RockyShark

    Keep up the good work Alyssa – I’ve been enjoying your posts recently.

    I really like this list. Nice and simple. I’d also tack a question on the end about how they plan to market the website. Could be a lead to set up Adwords, or print new business cards, or organise a sticker for the back window of their car etc etc.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this, as I’m just starting out with my own studio, this kind of information is really helpful!

  • http://armchaircritic.declarationend.co.uk armchaircritic

    Yeah i’d also like to say good work Alyssa. Interesting articles coming out of SitePoint recently. Props to the team.

  • http://www.mjswebsolutions.com type0

    Couple of questions I ask…

    1) What is the problem you want to solve with the website?

    2) What ‘action’ do you want people to perform on your website?

  • Anonymously

    Nice post!

  • webnician

    I would elaborate on the “Target audience” and go with “All the parties involved in the business”. Usually, the biggest part of any site I build ends up being those behind-the-scenes tools that the client wouldn’t have known was possible. Consultation is a major part of every job.

    I would also elaborate on “contact person” and say “Who is really going to make the decisions for this project?” It’s usually not the “contact person”.

  • CaptivateDesigns

    Great post. Very simple and straightforward. As an addition to your list, I would ask what are their unique selling points and How would they like to be viewed by their website visitors?

  • essexboyracer

    I like clearleft.com’s design requirements doc

  • essexboyracer

    This goes back to the design process (wikipedia it): defining the situation, make the brief and define a specification. These are all the foundations for the realisation of a successful design

  • Danimal

    Good point, type0: “What ‘action’ do you want people to perform on your website?”

    I always make a point of finding out how the client will define success as it pertains to the website.

    I have probably done as many site overhauls as new sites, so I also ask questions such as:
    1. What was important to you when selecting your previous designer?
    2. What aspect of your current website has been the most successful for your business?
    3. Do you have business needs which your current website has failed to address?
    4. How have your needs changed since your current site was built?