What Comes First: Design or Content?

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Solar Digital
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Having a powerful website with a consistent user experience is important. However without the right content, all laid-out design work will go to waste.

Having a powerful website with a consistent user experience is important — both for users and for SEO purposes. However that being said, that without the right content in place, all that well-planned and laid-out design work will go to waste. Content and design are all closely related, but usually, that doesn’t mean they can be tackled in whichever order seems the most convenient. There are two commonly used approaches: the famous content-first approach and opposite when writer and designer collaborate from the very beginning of the project.

Content-First Approach

Let’s start with the first. They say, if you are looking at the process of building a website logically, then the content should come first. Because design attracts the eyes, but content keeps the user engaged. That’s why it’s easy to give the crucial equal importance to the content and start with it. It’s called the content-first design approach and the following are some of the advantages of it:

  • It makes the design less expensive. Starting designing before having the content in hand could increase the cost of designing as the design will be vast and artistic, not catered to your content or target audience as such.
  • Design without content is a hazard. Directly jumping into the design most of the time gives bad results. If you start from jump into selecting templates and patterns, which are right for you without giving content a second thought. It makes content writer’s work difficult, they would have to twist and turn their content as per the design, which ultimately affects the business.

Hand-In-Hand Approach

An opposite approach is to pair the design and content work from the beginning — so let them both go first. It can be easily observed that while working at the new concept, either the designer have the idea about the content, nor do the writers have any idea about the design. And both parties get confused that makes the situation chaotic. The design team would have no idea about choosing the best design, and the content team would also be confused about writing content that fits the design. You would get the best results only if both the things would go hand-in-hand.

And when a designer and copywriter work together from start to finish, there’s great potential for creating a beautiful and cohesive story. While everyone works differently, it might be found your way to achieve smooth writer-designer collaboration.

The question of which comes first, content or design, can feel like a chicken and egg scenario: you can’t have one without the other, but which actually comes first? In this scenario, a high-level content outline preceded design — but it was born from designer-writer collaboration, not the writer working in isolation. So in your team, you better find your own approach and implement it. I believe this is the best way to steer a strategic design.