Content and design are both crucial components of any website. Content refers to any media that a visitor may consume: text, audio, video, and even interactive web elements. Design, meanwhile, refers to the elements used to present the site’s content: layout, fonts, colours, and much more.
These two website components are closely related, but how? Do content and design rely on each other? Which is led by the other?
Your first instinct may tell you that design leads and content follows, but this isn’t necessarily the approach that produces the best results. In reality, they should guide each other, and content production should be incorporated during the design phase.
Why Content Is Important for Website Design
No matter how carefully you curate the design of your website, it won’t be the first thing your visitors remember. Content is what sticks with them. For that reason, it’s important to make sure that your site’s content has the same “wow factor” that your design elements give off.
Design Frames Content
Think of your design elements as a frame. Design can enhance your content, but ultimately, the content’s substance does not change. As a result, strong, meaningful content is necessary for your design to do its job to the fullest.
Having a well-designed website isn’t going to make your site pop up in Google searches – you’ll need to count on search engine optimization to do that. SEO is one of the most important concepts to consider in promoting your brand on line, and content is where it all matters.
READ MORE: The Basics of SEO Analysis
How Design Guides Content
As a designer, it’s important to measure the balance between creativity and simplicity. You want your site to stand out, but you don’t want to overwhelm the visitor. One key tip is often overlooked: make sure your content is easy to read. This means using reasonably-selected fonts and colours, and staying consistent for the visitor’s benefit.
Your content should be accessible to everyone. That means a visitor’s personal circumstances should not limit their ability to interact with your content. Consider visitors with visual or hearing impairments, learning disabilities, internet accessibility, or anything else that may affect how a visitor interacts with your content.
Your content may be strong, but if it is presented poorly, it will instantly lose its magic. Professional content deserves to be paired with professional design. Choose design elements that look great, and visitors will form a more positive opinion of your brand as a whole.
Why Content Should Come Before Design
You might think that the most obvious approach to building a website is to first make decisions surrounding the design, then to add in content at the last minute. For better results, you should incorporate your content creation into the design process. This will allow both components to complement each other, ultimately leading to an effective website.
Good websites have strong design and content, but great websites have design and content that strengthen each other.
Think about it – if a visitor perceives your design and content as two separate entities that don’t match each other, they may get the sense that your brand is disjointed and lacks unity.
How to Incorporate Content Production Into the Design Phase
The key to encouraging content and design to mesh together is communication. The following techniques lend themselves to effective communication that should bring out the best in your site.
Create a Roadmap
When it comes to building a website, planning is everything. You may end up making several changes throughout designing and developing your site, but a base plan is totally crucial. That’s why roadmaps are so great. These planning accessories allow you to envision how your journey towards a complete website will unfold. By sharing a roadmap with your team, everyone will understand what role they are playing in your site’s success.
Communication and Project Management
Having a good project management system is a must when content and design teams work together. Among other benefits, a project management system will allow the design team to access content in real-time, allowing them to access tangible examples of what will appear on the site they are designing.
Develop Content Outlines Before Writing It
Earlier, we mentioned that planning is everything. That statement doesn’t just apply to website design, but to content as well. By planning out content in advance, creators will understand the larger role that each individual piece of media will play in your project as a whole.
It turns out that content and design are not as different as you may have thought. Both give your site’s visitors a strong impression of your brand, and both components rely on each other to shine. Consider how these components interact with each other as you build your site – you’ll end up with a site full of gears that turn in perfect harmony.