Does Content Always Come First?: (Part 2)

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Continuing from part 1, where I explained all about Loren Ipsum placeholder text, and how it can be bad for designers:

Design is limited by content:

Say that within a mock-up design, the placeholder text fits around the edges of an image, rather than floating above or below it. Allowing the content to become a real part of the design.

Well, often when the real, finished body text is put in place around the image - there’s too much, or too little of it to appear aesthetically pleasing. The original intended design has to be trashed somewhat, to make way for an unintentional design which doesn’t match up to the dummy version at all.

­The image below shows how placeholder text can be used alongside the design. But what would this look like with the ACTUAL text which would be used?

It may change entirely, proving that content is vital for the first stages of design in many cases:

Placeholder loren ipsum Placeholder text - a good or bad thing?

This has got to be one of the biggest and most significant negative sides to using placeholder text, alongside other obvious flaws, such as:

If one is to use placeholder text, it may be that it hasn’t been specified to the designer what the design is meant to reflect or reveal, and as a result, may give aesthetically pleasing, yet undefined and unexplainable designs. It always appears rather unprofessional to ask a designer or company: “Why did you use that colour for the border?”, with the dull response: “I dunno – it looked nice”.

There are so many reasons to use Content-first design, I've listed four main ones below (well, that’s helpful isn’t it!):

    1. Content is extremely important within the final analysis; everything should begin with it, or else – where do ideas stem from?
    1. Real data really delivers effective design for the most part. It helps to inform and allow designers to make conscious design decisions, at all times throughout the development process of a website or publication.
    1. Navigation can only be flawless, if used alongside the right types of content. Whether image or text based – navigation should always be altered to fit either way.
    1. “A picture speaks a thousand words” – if imagery is the main means of content within a site, the images may need to be reflected upon within the design. They may also, need not be reflected upon – this all depends on the entire content for the website, and designs may not fit in with the content unless it is established at the very beginning.

To round this up… Content-first design definitely is the way to go for successful web design. You probably can’t really afford to waste time, when the quantity of content (whether text or image based) on the final version will massively differ from that on the dummy version. . When temporary data such as Loren Ipsum is used, the original design concepts can appear completely different to the final versions, which in turn, can end up looking clunky and unfinished.

Designs and layouts can’t just be created for attractive-ness purposes, when every design is ultimately created to highlight a specific point, selling-point or message. I mean, would YOU ever use the colour pink, for a waste-disposal company’s website design? How would that contribute to the brand identity or message in any way? (give us a shout if you would actually do this..!)

Designs should be based on a concept;

“Content should precede design” Can safely say, I agree.

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