Imagine the following scene - a sad, hunched figure is leaning by a desk. The face of this individual is dimly lit by the slightly ghastly, bluish light of a laptop's panel. This is not a happy individual. Despite the low light, you can see a pronounced crease on his forehead - a clear sign of some substantial mental anguish. Who is he and could it be that he is working on a difficult riddle? He might very well be one of those film-noir private investigators.
Back to reality, please
Okay. That's just the way I imagine some of our developers who are unfortunate enough to come across a very complicated project with little or no information to accompany the designs. Now, I don't mean to say that every project is a nightmare and absolutely needs to be accompanied by a ten thousand-word essay. It's okay to assume that a simple one-pager may be self-explanatory enough in its graphic form for any accompanying text to be unnecessary. However, please be aware that with great complexity, comes great responsibility.
Not convinced yet. Try harder
The benefits of providing an accurately described project start at the very beginning of our customer - web development agency interaction. Your very first „hello” is accompanied by your recent work, most likely done over the course of many weeks and affected by a countless number of back and forth exchanges between you and your own customer. A well-written brief will aid your initial point of contact in situation of assessment, pricing, and scheduling and, therefore, lessen the possibility of the same exchange repeating itself at this stage. If you describe the ideas behind your designs, the communication necessary to get your project up and running will be minimal. You can get a detailed and accurate quote as early as in the first reply from us Chop-Choppers.
Is that all?
No, it isn’t. Your brief will come in really handy when it's time to talk money. You probably need to tell your customer how much it will cost to code his/her website. With an accurate brief it's a lot easier for us to pinpoint the costs and that means you will be able to do the same when speaking to your own customer. If we find some hidden, nondescript surprises we may end up having to charge you extra for that and that's something we'd rather avoid. If you give us a detailed brief and it turns out we missed something and failed to include it in the quote, even though it was clearly stated, that's going to be a different story. You'll be safe and will not be subject to any additional charges.
How do you know that?
Over the course of many completed projects, we at Chop-Chop have been in a position to observe how influential well-formulated design notes can be in regard to the final quality of the delivered code. We always strive to provide high quality work, but it is a fact that it can be quite a challenge when we operate in relative informational vacuum. A well-briefed developer is one that spends a lot more time focused on his core task - coding. Also, better solutions can be chosen to problems which devs know more about. The more detective work they do, the more pressure they are under when doing their job because their effective work time becomes diminished.
I don’t have time. Now what?
If there is something holding you back and you simply do not have time to put a brief together, we can always try and sort out any unclear issues within your design ourselves. We've become quite good at it over the years. However, please keep in mind that it may entail costs and sometimes result in delays. We do realise that preparation of a brief can be a lot of work in it's own right and whoever you are, agency or freelancer, time is probably always at a premium in your world. However, please think of detailed briefing as an investment, because any effort you put into a proper description now, will later pay back in saved time and money. You will be grateful to yourself and your site will only benefit from it.