You want to work with a Chicago web design company for your web development needs, but you’re not entirely sure how to explain exactly what you need. Instead of going in blind, learn the questions to ask yourself and your team to define the project scope for your Chicago web development needs. You’ll be able to quickly be on the same page as the web design team, understand exactly what goes into a typical web development project at Stectech Industries, and communicate your needs clearly from the first point of contact.

Every company needs a website these days, and plenty of businesses also benefit from additional web development services. Figuring out exactly what you need when you talk to a Chicago web design company helps you keep your web design project on track, on budget, and on deadline. If you haven’t worked with a web development company before, it’s hard to know exactly what questions you should ask yourself before you start the project.

A good Chicago web design company will ask you plenty of questions when you start the project, of course, but answering some of the questions for yourself helps you understand exactly what you need for your project scope. Many web design companies also give you price quotes based on the initial project scope, so if you have additional needs later on you may end up overbudget or compromising on must-have features. Spend some time answering these topics for a better overall experience.

What are Your Web Design Project Goals?

Define the short and long term goals of your web development project. Do you need a single page website to act as a virtual calling card for potential clients? Are you beefing up your web presence as a retail storefront expanding into the e-commerce world? Create an elevator pitch that succinctly describes the type of website or web development project you’re looking for, examples from the Chicago web design’s portfolio of designs you like, and the function the site should fulfill for your company. Stectech has worked on a variety of web development projects, so if you aren’t entirely sure what web design goals are realistic for your company, you have experienced consultants to help you out.

Are You Considering Responsive Design?

One of Stectech Industries specialties is handling responsive web design for their clients. A responsive web design adjusts with the size of the viewer’s screen so they have a consistent user experience. Not only does this produce a better result for the reader and your brand, it also stops you from having to get a mobile specific design. More people are using mobile devices for information gathering and comparison shopping, so it’s importable to make your mobile experience as user friendly as possible. A responsive web design is also future proofed against new display resolutions, as it expands and contracts to fit the screen accessing it.

Who Is Your Audience?

The styles that work great with millennials might not fly with the baby boomer crowd. Look at the demographics represented in your reader or customer data to understand who it is you’re marketing to. When you know the general audience you need your website geared towards, it’s easier to pick design trends, features, and even colors that resonate with that demographic. Some ways of discovering who is using your site is doing a survey of your readers or looking through existing customer data to establish trends.

What Platform are You Using?

If you are working with Stectech Industries and you have an existing website, you may already have a preferred platform or CMS, a content management system. Whether you’re using WordPress or Shopify, it’s important to let the web developers know in advance. These platforms use specific requirements for templating, which often requires designers experienced with that particular platform.

If you have a website that is not using some sort of backend script or platform, you may want help in choosing one to make website administration and content management an easier process. Let the Chicago web development company know you’re interested in having your website built on a platform. They can advise you on the best systems for your particular website needs and build your new site around your preferred platform. Stectech is experienced with a variety of CMS and other website backend platforms, so you have full flexibility to achieve your project vision.

What Processes Need Integrated Into a New Site?

Do you use a specific ecommerce plugin, a payment processor, or a customer relationship management portal on your site? Make a list of any applications, plugins, or add-ons that are necessary for your website to work properly. You don’t want to get halfway through the design process before letting the Chicago web design team know that you need a specific app to work with the website. Some process are easy to add into a site design, while others need incorporated in the design structure from the beginning stages.

Do You Require Training?

New platforms have a learning curve before you can effectively use them for your business. If the existing documentation for the platform is not sufficient to get yourself or your employees up to speed prior to the launch, consult with the Chicago web designer for help. Many designers are subject matter experts in the platforms they develop on, helping you and your company get up to speed on the essential features. This training helps you quickly get up to speed even if you’re going from a static website to a website powered by a content management system or ecommerce plugin. Training can be on-site or conducted through video conferencing to provide flexible options for your employees. Find out how long it takes employees to become proficient in the new technology. You don’t want to miss project deadlines because you are still getting employees up to speed, after all.

What Are Your Must-Have Features?

When you think of your company website, what are your must-have features? Here are a few feature ideas to include in your website project:
* Ecommerce
* Blog
* Forums
* Image slider
* Video library
* Contact Form
* Live customer support chat
* Social media integration
* Responsive design

Dividing your features into must-have versus good-to-have helps focus your web design expectations and gives the Chicago web developers a clear idea of the project. It also allows you to allocate the bulk of your budget to the features your website can’t live without, allowing extra money to go to the features that are nice to have but not essential. Stectech Industries works with a wide range of web development technology, so you don’t need to compromise on any of your must have features. Outside of the web development features you know you need, it’s also important to have websites that use the latest web technology and standards, such as HTML5 and CSS3. Whether you’re after a stellar branding package with a logo or you need help with open source development, this experienced team delivers.

Are You Looking for a Specific Website Style?

When you look at websites, there are a few styles that you see again and again. Two column designs, three column designs, magazine style, pinboards, long form pages, product sales pages – if you have a specific idea on the overall structure of your site, let the designers know. Wireframes of the basic site design are also useful in defining your company’s vision, if you have the resources on hand to create one. Examples of specific websites that fit the bill are also helpful.

What Graphical Elements are Required in the Design?

Do you like the look of web pages with hero images but you don’t have a source for pictures? Are you looking for highly stylized design elements throughout your website? Give the designers an idea of the images you need for your site, whether you have existing material for design elements, and other specifications for the look of your website. You never get a chance to have another first impression, so make sure yours is impressive with a cohesive graphic design and attention grabbing elements.

Do You Have Existing Branding?

Logos, tag lines, and even the colors you use go a long way to establishing your brand identity in the online and offline world. If you aren’t consistent across your marketing materials, your customers may not see you as an industry authority or a trustworthy company. Provide any branding materials necessary to Stectech Industries when you’re discussing your needs, or mention that you’re interested in a branding package as well. Logos are one of the most recognizable marketing symbols for your company, so it’s essential you end up with one that accurately represents what your company stands for.

What is Your Workflow Process?

Do you want Chicago web developers to work with your existing project management software as collaborators, or do you have another type of workflow process set up? Some advantages to having designers work with your own workflow applications is being able to track deliverables, working through an existing application that you’re familiar with, and making it easy for them to upload project materials to your servers. It may be easier for designers to work through their own systems, however, so discuss how the workflow should be handled during the project planning process.

Do You Need Marketing and Related Assistance?

These days, it’s not enough to simply have a website. There are millions of websites out there, and if your competitors have a stronger web presence than you it’s easy to get left behind. If you have never marketed on the Internet before, it can seem like an imposing task that’s far removed from the ways you market yourself offline. Stectech Industries has an experienced group of marketers who can help your company create an Internet marketing strategy, work on link building and search engine marketing, provide social media marketing services, and optimize your website for the search engines with search engine optimization, or SEO.

When Do You Want It?

Deadlines affect everything from the features you can feasibly include in the project to the overall budget. Rolling out a new website on a tight deadline is going to make it harder to accommodate any changes in the project scope, as well as making minor setbacks major problems. If you don’t have any particular product launch date you need to work your Chicago web design needs around, it’s a good idea to work with the timelines the designers recommend. Sometimes you can’t take the ideal length of time to get your latest website project up and running, so striking a balance between deadlines and what you need out of your site is an important part of defining your project.

What is Your Ideal Budget for the Web Project?

Do you know exactly how much your business has budgeted for this particular web design project? You don’t need to have an exact figure, but knowing the ballpark budget numbers helps significantly when the web development company is working on a project quote. Specialized and custom features for your website are going to up the cost compared to a simple landing page. If you want additional extras such as content development, search engine optimization, or other services it will drive the project cost higher as well. Projects with a quick turn around time also tend to cost more, as rushing a project’s deadlines often requires additional manpower and precision project management.

Are Revisions Included in the Budget?

Even the best web developers aren’t mind readers, so if this is your first time contracting out a web design project, it’s likely some changes need to be made throughout the design process. Establish whether any revisions to the design are included, or if revision rounds incur additional fees. Once you know how many revisions are included in the design, find out exactly what counts as a revision.

What are Your Expectations for Project Deliverables?

What do you want from the Chicago web designers when they complete your project? Are you uploading the files yourself or do you need help with the website rollout? If they are giving you files, do you want the files at the end of the project or do you want the company to send you files according to a specific project milestone?

Defining what you expect from the web developers for deliverables helps you avoid any miscommunication down the road. You get the files you need in the format you want, and in many cases the designers can help with installing necessary content management scripts and deploying the design for you.

Who are the Points of Contact?

Who is handling the web design project within your company? If the web designers don’t know who they should be getting project details from, it’s likely the project scope strays from the original company vision. Assign a single point of contact if possible so the designers are getting their information from a sole, consistent source. Changes to the project scope are passed through this point of contact, so the entire project stays on pace properly. Companies with existing materials that need incorporated into the web design also need to establish who gets all this material. In addition to establishing the points of contact, establish the best ways to maintain communication. If you have a project management system, should all communication be handled through statuses, chats, and messages within that platform? Do you want video meetings to keep everyone on the same page? How often should the web developers be checking in with you?

Do You Require On-Going Support?

Small and medium sized businesses don’t always have the benefit of a full IT department to handle your company’s web administration needs. Instead of taking on another job duty yourself, consider setting up an on-going support arrangement with the web design company. Many design companies can help you update your website scripts, manage your backend, and even handle server needs. You free up your valuable time to work on your core business duties, while the web development company handles what they excel at. If you need help during a specific phase of the project, such as implementation, but can handle standard maintenance tasks yourself, you can get on-demand help when you need it, and handle everything else with your in-house staff. Another type of on-going support is helping with your website marketing, whether it’s through social media channels or by improving the search engine optimization. This type of service is often required on an on-going basis, especially as your business grows and adapts to the Internet marketing world.

Establishing a Change Management Plan

Changes to scope happen, whether they’re due to a problem with a proposed feature or an unexpected deadline. Instead of winging changes to the scope, it’s important to establish a change management plan so there’s a specific process involved in who gets to propose changes, what approval process is needed for changes, and what type of budget is allocated for sudden scope changes.

Planning out your Chicago web design project may take some time and a few business meetings, but the amount of time and resources you save down the road make it well worth it. A well-defined project scope for your website project helps your chosen developer execute your business vision exactly the way you imagined it, without massively inflated budgets or a project that runs well past the deadline. Let Stectech Industries help you with your next web development project!