April 2019  |  3 MIN READ

How Great Content and Design Work Together

by Linda Bailey

Everyone loves a good story right? In the digital space there are countless opportunities for brands to tell theirs.

You probably don’t need too much convincing on the power of content for storytelling – providing relevant, engaging and timely information to customers has been proven to generate more leads and sales.

If you needed a little reminder just how powerful, try these 3 global stats:

However, there are also risks with content when it comes to meeting customer needs. Consider what NewsCred has to say:

“The customer journey is more complicated than ever. There are countless touch points, on and offline, where users can interact with brands.”

These interactions are central to how we think about any new web project with a client.

We believe content cannot exist in isolation – simply providing information in a relatively digestible format is not going to win you any fans. If it’s aimed at the wrong audiences, feels dead on a page or is structured poorly you’re going to see a jump in bounce rates.

Content is only part of a brand’s story. This is where design comes in.

And it’s not a matter of whether content or design comes first, because the answer is they should always complement each other.

Both are attempting to communicate ideas, whether visually or linguistically, and should work in harmony.

Lorem ipsum anyone?

As a copywriter I’ve come across this old chestnut dozens of times over the years. Filling in a wireframe or design sketch with Lorem ipsum can be a risky move because the content area is already pre-determined.

While it tends to inhibit creativity, it also forces you to fill in areas which may not even need content.

Design is a great hook for a user, but if it’s not reflected in the copy you’ll quickly lose the catch. You could also flip that and it would be equally true.

Think of an infographic. The most effective find the perfect balance between engaging visuals and refined content.

money-1 1 (1)

Take the above example. It takes the topic of company bankruptcies and makes it a well designed and very interesting take on the topic. It has a great visual hierarchy that you would never get from text alone and it's very easy to digest. It's greatest strength is in taking a topic that is honestly not that interesting and makes it's engaging and memorable.

Content can also break great design

The opposite is also a potential problem for any new website: a beautifully designed page can break with poor content.

Whether it’s just plain bad English and overused jargon, or headlines and body copy which interfere with or crowd design elements, there always needs to be a balance between the two.

We've seen firsthand how content can be seen as an afterthought. In a rush to get a new website up, a company just wants something there for visitors to read.

The harsh truth is that users simply don't care how much you've sweated over design and functionality if they don't find what they're after.

Customers expect brand consistency across all touch points (not just digital)

We live in age where customers demand so much from the brands they interact with. Rather than see this as a drawback, it actually offers awesome potential for any project.

For example, our approach with our e-commerce clients who have a physical shopfront is to ensure the online store flows from their in-store experience. While not every customer will necessarily visit both store types, those who do will want a consistent shopping experience.

The ideal scenario is a designer and content writer working together from day one

Both help dictate the appearance and flow of visuals and content. Of course this also includes regular consultation with the client!

Creating a coherent story, understanding what you want users to do on the website, and how calls-to-action and contact forms fit in are all important aspects of this process.

It's not so much content driving a new website, but more a co-piloting operation with our designers and developers.

If you're looking for a digital partner for your next website, then get in touch with honestfox.

Linda Bailey

Diverting from a career in Architecture, Linda uses the left and right side of her brain equally. She's been with Honest Fox from the beginning and is involved in all facets of the business. She's empathetic and kind and loves punk music.

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