Content first! Start designing

Lately I’ve been thinking about starting with content. But why? Since I started designing websites I’ve always been using some kind of lorem ipsum text (I love Fillerati). I’ve been using stock photos from Unsplash and random YouTube videos to create a better experience for clients.

Content decides what the design looks like

What do you want to know when you start designing a website? Of course: what does the company do and why/how do they do it? So after having a chat/briefing with your client, you probably already have something in mind to design. Nice! You’ve made an awesome design! (At least, I hope so).

Beforehand you knew some things that at least had to be in the design. Video header, title and introduction paragraph, for example. You’ve done that, and in your design you used two sentences for the introduction — but how would it look when they were to put in seven sentences? Ouch… say goodbye to your awesome design. Let me show you below what I mean.

Content example

Ugly, don’t you think? If you had the content beforehand, you might have designed it different.

And then we have pictures

“A picture is worth a thousand words” is an English idiom.

Is that what you want? I mean, you probably will use more than at least 5 pictures on your website. This means those 5 pictures are telling you more than 5000 words okay, maybe I exaggerate a little. But every picture means something different to everyone, just like art does.

For now, the combination of words and pictures together is the best way to go. Video is a great way of communication, to share information or tell a story. It’s a combination of words and ‘pictures’- but we already knew this, of course. Next task: how to create a lay-out in which videos are coming to their right (that is, if the company you’re designing for is using videos).

Content marketers might disagree

A few days ago I had a conversation with one of my colleagues, he’s a content marketer, and he didn’t completely agree with me. He prefers to write his content after receiving a design. He’s so creative with words that he doesn’t need seven sentences to explain something that could be told in two sentences.

What do you think?
I wrote this blog to make you think about it, not necessarily to convince you. I’ve never done this ‘content first’ myself — it’s just a thought. But I’m going to try this and I will, of course, share the results with you. If you think this blog don’t forget to check my YouTube channel, I’m posting new videos every week.

Chris Zwart thank you for your feedback on this blog!