business design technology

A Web design essential: the Request for Proposal

I got an email this morning from a former Web design student of mine. He was asking for a copy of a document I used to have on my previous design Web site and is long gone. Fortunately, I still have it in my files. And I’ve updated it and posted it here.

This is a sample Request for Proposal (RFP), which is a key beginning stage in planning a Web site design. The RFP helps a designer and his/her client nail down what is wanted in a Web site, as well as what a client’s priorities are. It may bring to mind things that a client hasn’t even considered yet. It gives the designer an opportunity to educate the client about the degree of complexity that can be involved in a Web design project.

Now, I have found that it usually too overwhelming to a client to just be handed the RFP and asked to return it filled out. They sometimes don’t even know what half the questions are about. For example, this company’s RFP leaves a lot to be desired. What it the potential client doesn’t know the difference between a “Template Design” and a “Blog Site”? What if their Web site idea doesn’t seem to fit into any of the available categories? What if they don’t know what “Maintenance” entails?

I recommend you use the sample RFP below as a guide for interviewing a client about their needs. Clients often have questions about each of the questions you ask them. Ask and answer lots of questions. Get it all down. Then you can write a reasonably accurate design brief based on the responses to your interview.

Here is my original Request for Proposal, originally written in about 2003 but updated today for new Web technologies such as social media and mobile devices.



Thorough planning of your web site project will save you time and money in the long run. It will improve communication of your needs to designers such as myself. The Request for Proposal questionnaire below gives an overview of many of the considerations when undertaking a web site creation. Your responses to these considerations will help me provide you an accurate project price and schedule, and they will also help me to draw up our Contract for Services.


Company Basics

Please tell me a little about who you are.

  1. Descriptions
    1. Brief company description
    2. Brief industry description
    3. Description of competitors and their web sites/marketing collateral
  2. Contact Information
    1. Company name  
    2. Company location  
    3. Contact name and title  
    4. Contact phone number  
    5. Contact e-mail address  
    6. Company web site


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