When It Comes to Web Design, What Comes First, Content or Design?

 “Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” – Jeffrey Zeldman

We have to start web design somewhere. Something has to come first, right?

If copywriters are always saying, “I can’t write without design” and designers are always saying, “I can’t design without copy”, then we have to look into finding what works for both. Some might think that it is a turf war but in reality, all of us should be thinking about content and we should be thinking about it all the time.

Designers Have Always Been Involved With Content

Designers are not just concerning themselves with what is visual. And when a designer says “Content First!” they should not be pausing projects and waiting for a finalized, proofed, and signed off piece of content. It’s all about content structure.

At Its Core, the Internet is About Content

Under the visual wrappers of websites lies line after line of code that comprises the sites structure as well as its substance. A really good website focuses on content first. We can all agree that the impact of a well crafted message depends on more than just the words or images that are presented to the user. The way this message was “packaged” is of equal importance and consideration when crafting a quality website.

Content is Everything

Content is not just about writing blogs or articles, but really the written word is just one type of content. Content can be images, videos, or even podcasts – content is everything. Like good web design, good content strategy requires a lot of planning.

Building Better Relationships Builds Better Websites

Designers must think about content when they are designing. Is the text readable? Is the article easy to find? If a user wanted to find more information, could they do so without frustration? Every type of content possesses specific design considerations such as these. In each instance, elements of human interaction must be considered and addresses effectively and elegantly. When it comes to designers and content strategists, we should think about it like this – one provides the steak and the other provides the seasoning and neither is appreciable without the other.

What Comes First?

Good content is well thought out and is consider high value for the audience it was written for. Good design effectively and painlessly displays and communicates the content to users. Without good content, a great design falls flat. And without great design, beautiful content falls on deaf ears. Content should be created with design elements in mind. Before pen hits paper, a content writer should know what the designer is thinking. The mission from ideation to pixels needs to be done together.

Capture the attention of your audience and leave a lasting positive impression through a dynamic relationship between both content writer and designer. Those are the websites that are truly unforgettable and user focused.