Learn why the Adpearance Project Team approaches website design and development with a content-first mindset.
So, you’ve decided to do an overhaul of your website and you’re looking for just the right design that will fit your brand. This is a common approach for most; it's natural for a client to begin with an aesthetic vision when considering what they want their website to accomplish. And we get it—diving into colors, typography and layout is the exciting part of the entire process.
But at Adpearance, we do things a little differently. We start with content and conversion goals because we believe the content of a client’s website should provide the art direction and shape our design approach.
For us, content is the most important factor in user experience and effective website design should be shaped by the website's content needs. Therefore, effective design MUST be driven by well-defined goals.
Why the Process is Changing
A standard design process may begin with the client and design team focusing on the layout and containers of each page from a visual perspective, and then trying to figure out what content is going to fit into it. As a result, considering the goals the user is supposed to take is deferred until the end of the process.
In this scenario, it’s common that new content needs are discovered post design, which ultimately wastes both time and money as these new pieces are integrated into the site without previous consideration. However, working from the beginning with the actual content that will be used on the website often leads to design considerations and decisions that would not be made otherwise.
How to Create a Smart Content Plan
To avoid a content versus design dilemma, the design process should start with clear conversion goals in mind. Defining these goals can be achieved by evaluating what’s working and what’s not working on the current website, completing a content audit to create a clear content plan, and considering questions like, “What actions are users intended to take when they come to the site?” and “What will encourage them to take this action?” to begin defining conversions.
Every image, photo, and sentence on a website should be strategically integrated to drive visitors to completing the goals that have been defined. Having a clear vision and plan for website content at the beginning of the project ensures that effective design can occur.
Content Drives Conversions
As prominent web designer Jeffrey Zeldman once said,
“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.”
And decoration doesn’t drive action. Content does.
Simply put, a content-first approach is a smart way to create a good website that converts.