Which Comes First, Design or Content?

 content strategy and designContent and design are the chicken and egg of your Web presence.

Which should come first when planning or redesigning your site?

Yes, it’s a trick question. The answer is both.

Why? Because without good content, design is a vacuous bauble that catches your eye momentarily but quickly bores you. And without good design, content is that boring professor who knows more than you’ll ever need, but lectures away in monotone and rambles from topic to topic with no rhyme or reason.

Yup, like chocolate and peanut butter, content and design are two great tastes that taste great together.

Of course, integrating content and design can be easier said than done. Here are two typical scenarios you may be familiar with, with No. 2 being the most prevalent:

  1. “We’ve got a lot of content to post on the Web site, can you make it pretty?”
  2. “We’ve got this really cool design, can you whip up some stuff to fill in the ‘ipso lorum’ areas?”

Yes, this is an exaggeration, but there is more than a grain of truth in it. The problem often is that design folks and content folks seem to be speaking two different languages, or at least they think they are.

But there’s one universal language they (should) share: Serving their audience.

So how do you get them talking this language? That’s no trick question. There’s a common sense answer: Get both teams involved in the project from the start and give them a set of concrete goals.

When developing a content strategy – and you should always start with a content strategy – involve the design team. When developing a look and feel for the site, involve the content folks. With a mutual understanding of your organization’s goals and priorities, designers and content creators can work on the same canvas to create a seamless user experience.

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