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How to write the specifications for a website redesign?

The specifications are a very important document to define, delimit and communicate about a project to external providers. In this article, we will talk about the design of a specification for the redesign of a website. We explain how to write it and offer you a template to download at the end of the article.

Anne-Laure CompainAnne-Laure Compain

Anne-Laure Compain

Graphic designer at Snoweb
Published on 14 March 2021 (Updated on 25 February 2022)


To prepare the redesign of your website you will have to establish a specification to provide then either to a web agency or to freelance providers who will work on this redesign.

At the end of this article, Snoweb offers you a template of specifications to download in PDF format and to fill in according to your information.


1. What is a specification?

Definition

"The specifications formalize the needs in the case of a website, intranet or mobile app project. It presents the context, the objectives to be achieved, the level of quality, the constraints and the scope of the project."

The specifications are therefore a document that includes all the objectives, features and axes of your future website as well as the various technical, design and editorial constraints to be taken into account. This document has several advantages:

  • First of all, it allows you to better compare the different quotes requested from agencies and other providers. Indeed, the description of your request being the same for all, the basis of the estimate is thus the same.
  • Then, it will also serve as a basis for discussion on your project and your needs. A web agency or a provider will use this basis to propose alternatives that may be more optimized, more "user friendly", more functional or even less expensive.
  • Finally, it also allows you to see the progress of your project and to prioritize certain aspects over others. All this with the aim of releasing a functional version as soon as possible that you will improve later. It is therefore important to write it as soon as possible.

Another practical aspect of the specifications is that it allows you to ask yourself the right questions before launching into the design of your website's redesign. The questions that you must face are :

  • What is my current need?
  • What are the objectives of the website redesign?
  • What do clients need and have their needs changed in recent months?
  • Following my SEO audit, do I need to improve my SEO?
  • Will the identity of my site change? New logo? New colors? New typography?
  • Etc.


2. Explanations and composition of a specification

The functional specifications

This type of specifications allows to detail the whole project: from the beginning of the project to the deliverables, by detailing all the needs.

Here is a list of elements to be found in the type of specifications:

Who are you?

Present your company and your activity. If you have an e-commerce, present your products or the services you sell.

What is your need?

In this article, we talk about website redesign, but it can be the creation of a website, an app, a software, etc.

What is the purpose of your website?

Indicate if you want to present your activity, sell products, write a blog, propose your services or make your portfolio.

What is your target audience?

Describe your customers, if your site is BtoB, BtoC or both.

Do you have a visual identity?

If so, display your logo, colors and typography. If you don't have a visual identity, explain what you would like to have, what inspires you or what you like in other logos.

Take stock of your current website.

Detail your statistics: the number of visits, contacts, monthly sales. Also talk about your referencing: on which keywords are you positioned?

What content do you already have?

List the photos, videos, illustrations, texts that are already on your website and that you want to keep.

When do you want your website to be delivered?

It is important to define a deadline for your redesign so that your provider knows the time frame in which he must work.

Which service providers will be involved in the project?

For example: a designer, a writer, a developer, an SEO manager.

What will be the mission of each provider?

For each of the service providers you plan to work with, detail each mission that will be entrusted to them.

Technical specifications

This second type of specifications is particularly aimed at technical profiles such as developers. It details all the technical requirements and constraints of your project. This type of specification must be written by a person with a technical background in order to understand what he/she is writing but also to be sure of the quality of the content indicated.

We find in this specifications :

  • The current technical environment of the site.
  • The technical environment desired for the redesign of the website.
  • The languages used and for each their version.
  • The list of detailed functionalities to be developed for the website redesign.
  • The constraints related to security in the development of the project.
  • The development methods.
specificationHow to cut a specification

Brief summary of the steps that we detail just below!

How to cut a specification
Company & project

PRESENTATION

Website & users

NEEDS

Objectives & KPIs

STATISTICS

How to cut a specification
Functional

ANALYSIS

Technical & budgetary

CONTRAINTS

Graphic charter & Ergonomics

NEEDS

How to cut a specification
Content produced & to be produced

LISTING

Technical informations

DEVELOPMENT

Planning & budget

DECOVERY

You need hepl to doyour specification ?


3. How to design a specification?

We advise you to mix the functional and technical specifications in order to have a complete specification and detailing the whole redesign. Here are the details of each part.

Presentation of the project

On the first page of your document, present your company and your project. You don't need to make a big description, go to the essential so that your reader understands quickly your activity. Then, explain the reasons why you want to redesign your website and finally present your target. You can detail it with the following criteria:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • BtoB, BtoC, both
  • Consumption habits
  • Places of living
  • ...

Also list your competitors and what differentiates you from them (offer, message, communication, target, etc.). Then, detail your marketing strategy and your communication channels: this will allow your provider to better understand your vision and/or to better guide and advise you.

To finish, present all the interlocutors of the project (internal or external to the company) by indicating

  • Name
  • E-mail
  • Role in the project.
This allows the service provider to directly address the right person in case of a particular request. This is a real time saver!

Website needs

The needs of your site can be multiple or unique. Here are some examples of needs:

  • To get new customers
  • To promote a new product
  • Conquer a new market
  • Create or increase your notoriety
  • Acquire emails from prospects

At this stage, you can also define other needs such as :

  • Need hosting?
  • Need training on the tool managing your redesign?
  • Need monthly maintenance? Yearly?

Users needs

The needs of your users are not necessarily the same as those of the site.

To do this, analyze your current website by looking at:

  • How do your users navigate?
  • Where do they stop browsing?
  • What is the bounce rate?
  • Do they fill out the contact form?
  • Are they subscribing to your newsletter?
  • ...
You should also ask yourself why your prospects should come to your site and not to your competitor's? Ask yourself if your support is understandable enough? Think about the need for a chat bot for example.

Objectives and KPIs

It is not essential but rather interesting to define as soon as possible the KPI of your future website. You can then follow the progress of its data weekly, monthly or annually. This allows you to see the health of your site and its evolution over the weeks.

Here are some data to think about:

  • The number of visitors
  • The number of sales
  • The bounce rate
  • The number of contacts
  • The cost of your average basket

Functional analysis

The functional analysis consists in working on the sales tunnel of your site. Lets take the example of an e-commerce site:

Simple purchase tunnel:

Your prospect consults a product then adds it to his cart. He chooses a delivery method, enters his personal information and selects a payment method, then pays.

Worked purchase tunnel:

Your prospect consults a product and then compares it to other similar products that you offer. He adds his product to the cart and adds or not a promotional code. He logs in or creates a customer account. Finally, he chooses a delivery method, enters his personal information and chooses a payment method and then pays.

User actionsSimple purchase tunnelWorked purchase tunnel

View the product

Compare the product

Add to cart

Add a promotional code

Delivery choice

Add personnal informations

Payment choice

Payment

Constraints

You must not forget this part which is one of the most important. Even if it is often difficult to do so, you must define different constraints related to your website redesign:

  • Technical
  • Budgetary
  • Temporal
  • Human

Graphic charter

Here, we talk about design! If you do not have a graphic charter, please indicate it. Your provider can either make it or direct you to someone who does. In this case, indicate what you would like to have as a logo or examples of things you like (color, shape, typography, slogan, ...).

On the contrary, if you have a graphic charter, you must indicate in the specifications :

The content of a graphic charter

logo graphic charter
Logo

Presentation of the logo in all its forms and aspects.

color swatch
Colors

The colors of your logo and all the elements of your identity.

changement des textes
Typography

The typography(s) used on your logo and communication materials.

images incohérentes
Variants

Declinations of the logo according to the support or the background color.

Snoweb picto blue
Legal

Rights of use of the logo and especially the prohibitions.

soigner un site internet
Using

Presentation of the logo on different media: business card, website, networks...

You don't have a graphic charter?Learn more about our article

Here are 2 examples of graphic guidelines

Ergonomics

To work on the ergonomics of your website, ask yourself the right questions. Namely:

  • How will users navigate my site?
  • Do they need a search module to find information more easily ?
  • Is my typography adapted to my content?
  • Do my colors reflect my business?
  • Are my menus well thought out?
  • Is the information easy to find?
  • Do I have enough "call to actions"? Are they well placed?
  • Is having a map on my contact page a good idea?

For more specific cases, in an e-commerce, do users need to have suggestions of similar products?

For a blog, do articles need to be sorted by tags?

Find out more about website usability.

Contents

There are two cases. On the one hand, you have content. Ask yourself if:

  • Is it in line with the objectives of the redesign?
  • Is it suitable for the web?
  • Is it SEO friendly?
  • Do you have the copyright on the content: typography, images, writing of texts, creation of illustrations?

On the other hand, you have no content. So you need to think about what content to create and who you're going to use to create that content.

When we talk about content, we are talking about :

  • Texts
  • Photos
  • Illustrations
  • Videos
  • Animations
  • Podcast
Find out more about how to optimize your content.

Technical information

You must present the technical aspects of your future site. First, your domain name: is it still available? Then, with whom is your site hosted and is this hosting to be taken care of by the provider?

You must also think about all these points:

  • The current technical environment of the site.
  • The technical environment desired for the redesign of the website.
  • The languages used and for each their version.
  • The list of detailed functionalities to be developed for the website redesign.
  • The constraints related to security in the development of the project.

Planning and budget

Last step and not the easiest, it is about defining an average budget and a schedule. Indicating your budget is not pejorative, on the contrary! It will allow your future service provider to offer you the most suitable quote according to your budget. You should also indicate your deadlines and the key dates of the project so that the service provider can tell you if it is feasible or not for him.

4. Download ourspecification model

Snoweb has designed for you a template of specifications. Download it and complete it directly from your PDF reader.

telecharger cahier des charge EN

With this template, don't bother with the heavy task of making your specifications page by page. Snoweb simplifies things for you by offering you a pdf template that you can fill in directly from your browser or from a pdf reader like Adobe Acrobat.

Don't miss any step and on some points, like your needs, don't hesitate to detail a lot. Add in the appendix some images presenting your ideas or your competitors, it will help to understand your needs.

These specifications are the basis of your project and it is thanks to them that your service providers will understand your needs and give you a good price.
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