Content or Design - which should come first?

If you’ve read about this issue before you know that most of the authors describe this as a chicken and the egg dilemma, well I have to break it to you - it’s a far cry from that.

There’s no dilemma there! It’s content that comes first! At least that is the case with our agency.

In most of the cases clients come to us looking for a website, having great ideas in mind about what they expect to see as a final product without having the content written. Oh, they have some ideas of what they want to put for the visitors to see and read but it’s mostly very vague. What they usually do is wait until the final stages of the design process to “unite” the finalized content and design. This is not good as a designer cannot create something without knowing what s/he is creating for. Without the content, the designer won’t be able to make decisions or plan properly, as the content affects the overall layout and determines the visual elements highlighting the most important pieces of information while leaving out the irrelevant ones and many many more.

Sure you can follow the design-first process and fill in all the blank spaces with Lorem Ipsum in your lo-fi mockup designs but there are some flaws in this process. It does help you plug the gaps but it lacks context, it doesn’t create a connection between the design and the content.

Or you may encounter minor problems such as headlines spanning multiple lines or are much shorter than intended, just to name a few.

Just to clear one thing up so that there would be no misunderstanding there. You don’t have to wait until you have your final copy of the content to start with the design. Then you would probably wait too long or you wouldn't even create a website. You can start with anything you have, a first draft, your old content, anything written and then you work from there.

Creating a website and writing content are two parallel processes, they are not linear in any case. Give a designer something to work with and then while they are working their magic, you can go on finalizing your content. This is the easiest and most economical way of creating a great navigable user friendly site without spending a lot of time or go over the budget. Planning and cooperation are everything.

Next up

Challenges our agency faces in 2018

Each year we need to strive to be better, smarter, draw some valuable lessons from our past experience and for what’s worth I have to say we do that but somehow there’s always more. We’re trying to build a working culture within our organization and draw the most out of a not-so-bright situation.

Read on →