January 19, 2017

Taking a Content-First Approach to Web Design

One of the most effective ways to increase the user experience on a site is with the use of a strong content strategy. While this strategy is implemented by many, it is still pushed to the latter stages of a project in favor of design and visual development. One of the main benefits of taking a content-first approach to web design is that not only is the design more effective, the outcome of the site’s analytics are far better.

Developing Content Before Design

While design may traditionally be more valued to the client, well-developed content is the core of what will make the design work, leading users to conversion and better user experience. Without it, a design may be seen as incomplete or even incoherent.

Person writing copy on a laptop via Word Document

Assets Assessment

To start, an assets assessment should be conducted for the content that is existing. Many times, there is plenty of marketing copy, however this is not ideal for web. An in-depth understanding of the brand or company that the site is representing is critical to correctly positioning the information. All of this information must be compiled and briefed to the design team before moving on to the design process and even wire framing.

Curation

When content is not being built from the ‘ground up’, a content strategy must take place. There may be existing content from a site that is being redesigned, or copy that is being pulled from various places such as print collateral like catalogs or product packaging. Some of it, of course, may remain, however – the challenge is to rework the content so that it makes sense for the web, writing for SEO and enabling the ideal user pathways.

Development

Just as a backend team develops the code for the site, the content team is the first stop in beginning the structure of that framework. From defining the top navigation and creating calls to action – the content is truly informing both the visual and structural design of the site.

Implementing a web design process with optimized content is a way to ensure that the brand will be shown in the most authentic and easy to understand way. When a design and content team work in tandem to create the framework for graphics and content, the user experience will be fully optimized.