Website Design Checklist: The Blueprint for a Perfect Site

  • #PersuasiveWebsites
  • #UIDesign
  • #UXDesign
website design checklist

Designing a website that truly wows users isn't easy. Users want more than just features and images. Modern design needs clarity, uniqueness, and accessibility to truly appeal to users. And that’s why, you need to follow the website design checklist.

With an overwhelming number of tasks, it's easy to make mistakes during website design, like cluttered navigation and slow loading speed. Another major mistake is ignoring mobile-first thinking. Success requires teamwork and cross-expertise coordination. Also, your website design must work flawlessly across different devices to outshine competitors.

To help you, we've crafted the ultimate website design checklist, covering everything for a modern website that meets customer expectations visually and functionally. Let’s dive in!

What is a website design checklist?

The website design checklist is your roadmap for creating a fantastic site. It’s a structured document that covers user experience, design, content, functionality, SEO, security, analytics, testing, and maintenance. 

The website design checklist ensures that your site is visually appealing, user-friendly, and well-optimized. Also, it ensures that no aspect is overlooked, guaranteeing a high-quality and effective website.

Why do you need a website design checklist?

The website design checklist is a crucial part of your brand's success. It ensures your site appeals to your audience and aligns with your business goals.

The website design checklist guides your design process, ensuring you don't miss important elements. It also maintains brand consistency. So, your site matches the logo, colors, and values of your business perfectly.

User experience matters for the success of your business. The checklist helps you create a visually appealing and user-friendly site. This is essential for meeting audience needs and avoiding legal issues.

For a brand site, SEO is the key to success. The checklist helps you build a highly ranked website that attracts quality leads from search engines.

The Ultimate Website Design Checklist

✅ Purpose and Planning 📝

✅ User Research 📖

✅ Technical Structure 🔧

✅ Sketches 🖌️

✅ UX and UI Design 🎨

✅ Content ✍🏾

✅ Marketing 🗣️

✅ Compliance ⚖️

✅ Cross Browser & Cross-Device Compatibility 📱

✅ Website Loading Speed ⏱️

Conversion Design 💰


Website Design Client Checklist – Purpose and Planning

To unleash your creative powers, you need to set your project's direction. So, you have to understand your client's goals, know the audience, and pave the way for data-driven design.

Remember this: research is your knowledge foundation. It unveils user behaviors and business gaps.

Be Clear About the Purpose of the Website

Before diving into a new project, ask yourself this question: Why am I doing this?

Success needs clear goals to measure against. Answering this question shapes your targets and guides decisions. It also helps you to decide on content, design choices, and testing.

Also, make sure to document your website's goals and objectives.

Website Design Checklist for Clients – User Research

To create a captivating website, you have to grasp your audience and their desires. You need to understand what triggers their actions.

User research is your tool. Find what your users want and like. Start by uncovering their motivations.

These are the strategies that can help you uncover the “why” factor behind users’ behavior:

  • Interviews
  • Industry studies
  • Surveys and stats

Website Design Client Checklist – Competitor Analysis

Before diving into user research, take a peek at your audience's current preferences. Search client-related keywords to explore competitors.

Analyze top-ranked websites for design strengths and weaknesses. Test user flows by interacting with them.

Understanding expectations and competitors is just one part of the puzzle. Next, you have to dive into the technical side.

Website Design Requirements Checklist - Technical Structure

On top of the research foundation, you need to build a strong technical structure. This will ensure a seamless user experience and improve search visibility.

First, you need to choose a domain name.

Domain Name

Before getting your hands dirty, you need to pick a catchy, short, and memorable domain name. It should describe what the site offers and include relevant keywords.

In a nutshell, a website’s domain name should be:

  • Catchy and short
  • Descriptive (it includes one of the main targeted keywords)
  • Branded (it includes the name of your client’s company)
  • Easy to spell

CMS

If you're building a live website, you should consider picking a CMS. It’s an easy choice. You just need to balance your budget and clients’ needs.

If it's not your thing, then consider hiring a professional developer. 

If you're a DIY guy, there are two routes:

  • Low-code CMS, like Webflow or Squarespace, which needs basic CSS and HTML.
  • Complex-code CMS, like WordPress, Umbraco, or Drupal, which are suitable for the tech-savvy users.

Plugins

Plugins are like magic codes that help you to add amazing features to your site effortlessly. CMS platforms have loads of add-ons, ranging from analytics to eCommerce and beyond.

For example, Webflow supports tons of plugins for different use cases, including:

  • Audience targeting and analytics: Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, Hotjar, etc.
  • eCommerce: Shopify, SimpleFunnel, SendOwl, etc.
  • Content marketing: Event Calendar App, Calendly, AddEvent, etc.
  • Email marketing: Mailchimp, Buttondown, ActiveCampaign, etc.
  • Payment processing: PayPal, Stripe, Amazon Pay, etc.
  • Social media integrations: Twitter share buttons, Pinterest widgets, embedded Instagram images and videos, etc.

Once you've got the right CMS and plugins, get an SSL certificate for a secure site.

SSL Certificate

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It encrypts data exchanged between users and your site, ensuring a secure connection. You know it's working when you see that little padlock icon in the browser's address bar. 

SSL keeps sensitive information, like passwords and credit card details, safe from hackers. It's essential for building trust with visitors and boosting your site's credibility. 

Website Design Checklist for Clients – Sketches 

Before diving into design, consider starting with sketches or wireframes. It saves you from endless feedback loops.

Create Wireframes and Website Mockups

Start with wireframes, which are your website's blueprint. They enable you to outline page layouts without the distraction of design details.

Tools like Figma, MockFlow, or Adobe XD can help you easily create basic sketches. You can use the same software to transform wireframes into mockups, adding real graphics, fonts, and colors.

Once you are done, send the deliverables to your client for review. It will allow you to make necessary edits easily before diving into website development.

Mockup and Wireframe Review

For faster, frustration-free reviews, you should consider using visual feedback tools.

For example, MarkUp.io is a time-saver for design feedback. You can drag and drop designs, create MarkUps (digital copies), and share them easily. Reviewers can pinpoint changes and even record video feedback for clarity.

MarkUp.io isn't just for designs; it works with websites, documents, images, PDFs, and videos.

Website Design Checklist for Clients – UX and UI Design

Finally, it’s time to bring those ideas to life! 

Let's dive into UX and UI design. Here are a few areas to cover:

Information Architecture

Think of information architecture as creating a website blueprint. It involves drawing a diagram showing all the pages and how they connect.

This roadmap spots all sorts of site structure issues and ensures a smooth user journey.

Interface Design

Once you have all the pages laid out in the diagram, you can start designing complete layouts.

You have to design everything visually, including:

  • Buttons (like calls to action)
  • Dropdown lists and menus
  • Text fields and date fields
  • Checkboxes and toggles
  • Error messages
  • Navigation elements (sliders, search bars, icons)

You can use placeholders for content and images to get a preview of the final product.

Interaction Design

Now, it’s time to make things interactive!

You need to define how elements, like images, text, and buttons, behave when users interact. Also, you have to keep it simple and intuitive. Make sure to test everything thoroughly before moving to the next step.

Test Your Site and Create Backups

The next step is to put your ideas to the test.

You need to get real users involved. Let them complete tasks on various devices and record their actions to see what works perfectly. Make sure to fix the user flow issues to ensure a smoother experience.

Once you're satisfied, replace placeholders with real content. 

Website Design Client Checklist – Content 

The next thing to check on your list is website content.

Create Engaging, On-Brand Copy

Crafting compelling website copy is an art.

You need to balance detail and brevity to keep users engaged. You have to understand your audience, address their needs, and build connections.

Great copy informs customers and strengthens brand connections. Follow these tips to nail it:

  • Develop a tone of voice guide from customer conversations
  • Write purposeful, valuable content without fluff
  • Use headings, lists, and short paragraphs for easy scanning
  • Edit thoroughly before going live
  • Track user engagement with tools like Hotjar's Heatmaps

Read: For Product Design, Content is STILL King

Copy and Images

Writing your own website content? Here are some tips:

  • Keep it short and avoid complicated sentences
  • Use bullet points for easy reading
  • Tell stories for relatability
  • Insert high-quality images for visual appeal
  • Write in your brand's voice and keep it engaging

And don't forget feedback! Get a second opinion to catch any errors. 

PS: MarkUp.io supports text annotations too!

Branding Elements

Don't forget branding. It's as vital as text and images.

Make sure to put logos, typography, and colors in key spots like headers and footers. Stay consistent with the logo, fonts, and colors. It's like a magnet for customers.

And for more leads, a killer marketing strategy is a must!

Website Design Audit Checklist – Marketing

Marketing is crucial for your site's success.

You might not be in charge of creating the plan. But you have to provide the necessary marketing tools to your clients.

Such tools include search engine optimization (SEO), digital marketing, and analytics plugins. Let’s take a look at them. 

SEO

SEO tools are game-changers for any website. They can make your life a lot easier.

For WordPress, try All in One SEO or Yoast SEO. They help with on-page SEO, readability, and more.

Webflow, another CMS, offers built-in SEO features like link redirects and automatic meta details.

Also, you should learn about tools for measuring SEO efficiency to give your client important insights.

Analytics

You can provide your clients with valuable site insights by using tools like:

  • Google Analytics: Track traffic, bounce rates, and conversions.
  • Parse.ly: Measure content performance.
  • Kissmetrics: Perfect for e-commerce and SaaS businesses.

At this stage, your site is almost ready. Just one more thing: ensure it complies with data protection rules. 

Website Design Audit Checklist – Compliance

Before launching the website, you need to ensure compliance.

Every site needs a privacy policy, explaining how it handles user data. Different countries have different rules, like CalOPPA in the USA and GDPR in the EU.

You should consider getting legal advice to ensure you're following the right laws. Also, you should add disclosures for ads and affiliate links.

Website Design Audit Checklist – Cross Browser & Cross-Device Compatibility

Cross-browser testing is a must in website development.

Is your website speedy and accurate on all devices, browsers, and operating systems?

Make sure it works perfectly for your main audience. Test it on real devices and browsers to catch bugs before users do.

Website Design Audit Checklist – Website Loading Speed

Speed is vital for your website's success. 

Your site should load in 3 seconds, 2 if it’s an eCommerce website. Slow sites lose 40% of customers!

That’s why you must test your website on various devices and browsers to ensure the best performance. You can use the SpeedLab report for precise scores and metrics to enhance your site design and speed. 

Website Design Audit Checklist – Conversion Design

Conversion design focuses on guiding visitors to specific actions, like purchases or sign-ups.

Here are some key aspects of conversion design:

  • CTA Placement: Make them visible and compelling.
  • User Flow: Guide users towards conversions with smart navigation.
  • Content Optimization: Craft persuasive, informative content.
  • A/B Testing: Experiment with designs, CTAs, and content.
  • Performance: Ensure fast, smooth website experience.
  • Mobile-Friendly: Adapt design for mobile users.
  • Trust Signals: Include testimonials and security badges for credibility.
  • Data Analysis: Use tools like Google Analytics for insights.
  • Feedback: Act on user feedback to keep improving.

Website Design Onboarding Checklist – Testing 

You've put in the hard work. But how do you make sure your website rocks with your users?

Ensure Your Website Functions Well with User Tests

You must test your website with real users before launching it. 

Get rid of bias – let fresh eyes check your site's performance.

How? Try these methods:

  • Lab Sessions: Watch users interact in person and ask questions.
  • Remote Observation: Use tools like Hotjar for detailed insights into user behavior.
  • Surveys: Get feedback on site actions and important pages.
  • Beta Testing: Soft-launch to a limited group, gather feedback, and fix bugs.

Conclusion

This comprehensive website design checklist guides you to a site that not only looks amazing but also works flawlessly.

Remember, a well-designed website is an ongoing project. So, you have to continuously refine and optimize it to meet the changing needs of your audience. 

With this guide, you're on your way to digital success!

Why Choose UX 4Sight for Your Web Design Needs?

  • Expertise: Our UX design team knows the latest trends and tech, delivering tailored solutions.
  • Comprehensive Design: We cover all aspects, from user experience to SEO and security.
  • Conversion Focus: We craft sites to turn visitors into loyal customers.
  • Mobile-First: Our designs work seamlessly on all screens, especially mobile devices.
  • SEO Optimization: We ensure your site is easily discoverable, boosting online visibility.
  • Security: Your website and data are safeguarded, plus we offer ongoing maintenance.
  • Analytics Insights: We analyze user behavior, make data-driven improvements, and provide valuable insights.
  • Custom Solutions: Tailored services to match your unique business needs and goals
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  • #PersuasiveWebsites
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Abdul Suleiman
Abdul SuleimanChief Experience Officer
Abdul Suleiman

Abdul has helped over 40 Fortune 500 companies make informed user-centered design decisions through evidence-based user research and UX best practices. As an Adjunct Professor, Abdul has taught in DePaul University’s graduate UX programs and for nine other universities.

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