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Balancing design and content in website design

18 Sep 20

Balancing design and content in website design

Let’s start by looking at each element.

Content helps to educate readers. It tells your brand story, explains products or services, builds trust through testimonials, answer questions and prompts your audience to take the next step, through calls to action. And it’s so much more than words. Think images, infographics, videos, downloads and much more.

The design creates the first impression. Its job is to be visually appealing, to follow your brand strategy and to encourage visitors to stay on your website. A straightforward structure, with clear navigation, will optimise the user experience, making it easier to achieve your end goals.

Both design and content are vital to achieving website objectives - to keep visitors on your website and encourage them to take action.

Design before content

Putting design first allows for an aesthetically pleasing website, with a consistent layout, but, it can be tempting to create a site that is on brand and visually appealing while ignoring its fundamental need to generate leads.

The design approach will give the content writer a clear guide to the word count needed to fill a space. But it can be restrictive. Too much or too little space can be a hindrance when a content writer wants to make a point or needs more space for detailed information. There’s limited flexibility to get creative with words.

Without a content outline, a designer can struggle to know what to include on a website. It’s no good solely relying on Latin as placeholder text.

And when the design is the first call, there is less flexibility in a site’s structure to add extra content pages if needed later.

Content before design

It helps to give designers a focus on the website project, with clear strategic goals to follow, which are part of the content strategy. This process saves time as fewer adjustments and revisions are needed.

With headlines, sub-headings and CTAs already defined, it can make the job easier for the designer, as they know from the start what to include. Although, with the content already sorted, it can lead to less creative input from the designer and an imbalance of text without content limits.

A content-led website can appear wordy and text-heavy, leading to a lack of audience engagement.

There is no clear winner

That’s why we take a different approach. We favour a joined-up creative process, where our design and content experts work collaboratively. When used together, design and content are more effective, achieving business objectives and better user experience, than when tackled as single elements. It’s a team game.

We take a strategic approach to our web design process by using joined-up creative thinking. Working closely with the client, we determine the objectives of the website before developing a site plan. From here, we develop an outline of content which directs the design.

The site comes to life once the content is in place and the final design adjustments are tweaked. It’s very much a circular process.

Do you need help with creating a website that ticks all the boxes? Get in touch to find out how we can help you with your web design project.

Camilla Sharman

Written by
Camilla Sharman