Creative Briefs for the Website

Our Marketing department frequently uses a Creative Brief to plan the marketing and promotion process for events, services, and other stuff the library does.

Marketing and our web team meet weekly, and are part of a team we call our Creative Group (we’re big on team-based planning at the library).

So when we started redesigning our website, our friends in marketing suggested we use Creative Briefs to figure out some goals for the website, and the idea worked wonderfully.

Here’s what we did: we looked at every major section of the website – areas like About Us, Blogs, or Research – and went through our creative brief planning process for each.

We focused on these areas:

  • Purpose – what’s the purpose of this section of the website? For example, one purpose of the Research section is to connect customers to our databases.
  • Goals – slightly different and more specific than Purpose. Here, we set goals, like “We want a 20% increase in database usage in 2 years.” Or for our About Us section, it might be something like “we want fewer calls asking for our phone numbers” (since we now list out everyone’s phone number).
  • Primary Audience – Who’s the target audience? We try to choose 2-3 targets, usually based on market segments from a GIS study we’ve done (with help from Civic Technologies). This could also just be simple targets, like “the Kids pages focus on kids 8-12 years old.” This way, you can then focus the design and content on that target group.
  • Why Viewers use section – answer this question for the target audience – “Why would I want to go there?” For example, for the research section, the answer probably isn’t “because I want to find EbscoHost.” That answer focuses on the library. Answer this question by putting yourself into your customers’ heads. Do that, and the answers, more likely, resemble these: “I need to do research for my paper” or even better, “I want to get an A in History” or “I want to increase sales in my business for next year.” Then focus your design so those types of questions can be answered.
  • Tasks section accomplishes – This one is a bit more library-centric. What can you do here? List it out, then design those tasks to be as easy as using a light switch.
  • Content Requirements – What content do you need for this section? This isn’t a list of tasks – instead, it might include directions, explanations, links to more information, etc. You should also include any graphics needed here, too – graphics should support the content, and help make the main content easier to use.
  • Functionality Requirements – All the web stuff goes here – i.e., for a blog, you should list things like RSS and email subscription functionality. For the kids site, maybe you want things to move around on the page – list those ideas here. Basically, anything your web wizard needs to build.

Going though this process was great – it gave us some goals to shoot for on each section of the website, and helped make our redesign efforts more focused.

Here are a couple of articles with more info on creative briefs:

Anyone else use this or similar tools? Tell us what you do in the comments!

photo by insomnia

  • Jennie Meyer

    Working in a small career college means that department lines aren’t as easily drawn. Everyone wears many hats.  This post reminds me of some of the questions we ask ourselves on our PR/social media team.  Just a reminder I guess of how much overlaps in our libraries with other places of business. 

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      This post reminds me of some of the questions we ask ourselves on our PR/social media team. 

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