What Comes First- Content or Design?
Do you know which comes first when building a new site – content or design? This is like asking which came first – the chicken or the egg? Ask a web designer and the answer will be design.
Then ask a content writer and the response will be content.
So what’s the correct answer – NEITHER. Let’s hear each side of the argument then I’ll explain why neither design nor content comes first when you want to build a new site.
It’s a little hard to design an entire site when you haven’t the slightest idea as to what the message of the site and brand is going to be. You could design and entire site leaving large areas
of space for content only to find out that the client has a small straight to the point message that will now be lost in a sea of white space.
As a designer, you might insert images and graphics which will most likely lack content to describe what they are and how they are important to the customer.
You might build out 10 pages only to find out there is enough content to fill 25 pages. So without content, a design can only reach half its potential.
A writer can sit down and hash out 15 pages worth of straight text, no problem. Yet, there is a problem because the designer will most likely NOT develop a page where a writer can just plop in a ton of content. The look of the site will most likely call for the content to be broken up so it is easier for the customer to read in small chunks.
The writer will not know which pages have been designed so there will be some pages that will lack content. Also if images or graphics were added to the site, the writer will not know to write
descriptions or captions.
And The Correct Answer Is…
The right answer is structure. The designer and content writer need to first work together to figure out the structure of the site by making a sitemap.
A sitemap lays out the foundation of the site and defines the navigation. From there each person can define which pages need to be made and how much content each will have.
An easy example is architecture. You can just decide to construct a building all willy nilly. First, you have to have an architecture draw out a plan to know the dimensions and sizes of the interior and exterior of the building. A sitemap does exactly that for a website.
The best sites exist because the content writer and the designer worked hand-in-hand from conception to completion.