Buying a Website is Like Buying a Car You walk...Read More
I’m a strong believer in preparing website content before initiating the graphic design and, this applies to both websites and blogs. Some will argue with me, but I’ll fight this battle and dig in because I know content before website design is the right approach.
Strong website design extends past colours, fonts, and layout boxes.
The strong design focuses on the user.
The website design should be crafted around the user, their needs, and the desired outcome of a website visit. It should be focused on the user’s challenges and the website’s ability to solve these issues.
It should not be focused on coding trends and prepackaged templates.
I’ll receive emails from people discussing their website design requirements and many times these lists will be focusing on specific project criteria like infinite scroll, hamburger menus, hero images, video backgrounds, and motion.
Rarely do people approach a design firm and present data based on their visitors, the user’s needs, and the ultimate goals of a website visit.
Website owners get caught up in design trends, their competitors’ websites, and what they believe is modern and current design elements. In doing so, they lose track of the actual website visitor.
All too often people select a website template or blog theme and get caught up in the graphical presentation or bells and whistles it offers. It’s an emotional buy that supersedes the desire to help the actual website visitors.
Once they buy the stock theme, they force their content to fit within the template’s available content blocks. Or worse yet, they force a custom design to adhere to the same style and presentation of a top competitor’s website.
In most cases, this leads to disappointment and buyer’s remorse.
The reason this occurs is this process follows the path of purchase, design, development, and finally content. That path is in the wrong order. The process is going backwards and it leads to frustration.
Documenting your desired user flow, visitor paths, and call to actions is something that is typically done after the graphic design is completed. Unfortunately, that’s the wrong approach because it forces you into matching content to the website theme or design. It should be just the opposite.
Before you find yourself falling in love with a competitor website, coveting a stock WordPress template, or reaching out to a graphic designer, you need to think through the goals and objectives of your website or blog.
You need to document your user personas, their challenges, your solution offering, and the paths you’d like these visitors to take within the website.
While graphic design is very important, it must take place at the right time within the project to truly allow you to showcases the website, content, and offering in the best light possible.
One of my favourite quotes on this subject is:
“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” – Jeffrey Zeldman
Messaging and content are the building blocks and foundation of the website. This means they should be carefully thought through and documented well before any colours, fonts, and layouts are considered.
The design elements should complement, highlight, and showcase the key messaging and most important content.