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Websites: What comes first, content or design?

February 7, 2018By Nancy Lanoie

Creating a website without content is possible. However, it is like an architect who launches into the creation of a house without having first met the family, knowing their needs (size, number of rooms, style, etc.) or simply what would best suit them.

So, you get the picture, a website without content is possible, but it’s less than ideal.

Basing graphic design on actual content

A website must bring out the best your company has to offer, your values, your services and your products. It is the website that needs to be adapted to you, and not the other way around. In addition, users generally visit websites for their content and not for their graphic design. Content is the most important element in designing a web interface. As mentioned on the site UXMYTH in the article Myth #19: You don't need the content to design a website, a web page with a simple structure, yet high-quality content, performs better in usability tests than a beautiful layout with haphazard text that is not up to the aesthetics.

A web designer is not a psychic

When receiving content prior to creating interface mock-ups, the web designer may plan spaces such as the number of pages to be created within the website to better manage and create personalized solutions for each one.

You would not want to find a large blank space on your page because the designer had planned for a much larger text and finally you only have 5 lines of final content or then again, a large text squeezed into a tiny space on a sub sub sub-menu.

When designers take the time to evaluate existing content, it is not only to consider the new design, but also to create a stronger design because they use realistic design scenarios. The designer may figure out how to highlight larger text content or attract attention to a specific section of your site.

The same is true for mobile device interfaces. Designers already have a lot to think about: designs for touch screens, screen sizes that are constantly evolving, geolocation, etc. They may even think about how to add a bit of sparkle!

Providing designers with content before creating the site will save you time and money, because the designer will not have to modify and re-adapt the mock-ups if the final integrated content fits poorly with the planned design.

Lorem Ipsum: handle with care

Lorem Ipsum is a fake text used in the composition and page layout planning when real content is unavailable. Many web designers use it as a crutch and, when misused, it can also become problematic in terms of content and design once the actual text is inserted.

In the book Getting Real, web experts explain how fake text can be dangerous. According to them, Lorem Ipsum changes the perceptions of the space used. It can reduce text content to that of a visual design element (a type of text) instead of what it should be: precious information that someone must edit and consider.

How to get pertinent web content quickly

Used intelligently with its constraints taken into consideration, Lorem Ipsum can be a treasured tool. But it remains true that having actual text content prior to beginning website production and planning design to fit this content and not the other way around is still the best way to go.

Content can be difficult to prepare: First, the employee that you will assign to content editing is also short on time, they may not valorize your services and, most importantly, they may not respect the essential criteria for web writing:

  • Optimized editing to favour excellent Google positioning
  • Short, clear and concise sentences.
  • Addition of links and calls to action
  • Strategic content cutting
  • And many more!

Your best bet is to hire a professional technical writer who will work in collaboration with your graphic designer, as we do here at Nmédia. Content is created rapidly; your services are showcased according to your marketing strategy and we work to give you high placement in Google searches.

If you absolutely must use Lorem Ipsum for your design mock-ups, here are some of the most flawed:

Do you want a website that combines personalized design and content? That’s exactly what we do, contact us!


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