To know where we’re headed, we have to know where we are.
Let’s say a frozen custard shop named CONEYCUSTARD wants to refresh their digital presence. A website exists… but it's outdated and poorly designed. Probably made by the owner. There's no branding outside of their logo and colors.
Personally, I like to talk with business owners to learn as much as I can about their operation—especially their unique features. This builds my knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) terms, as well as potential audiences and competitors.
CONEYCUSTARD wants the same people going into other ice cream parlors, but what about: gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbet, sherbet, shaved ice, ice pops, grocery store pints, and other sweets? Most people won’t bounce around the city eating nothing but these treats. Their attention, time, and money is limited.
To understand design tastes, I’ll ask for a few websites. Maybe the owner really likes how Instagram does buttons, how their banking site does menus, how IKEA feels.
Then that whole release thing…