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Which Comes First in Web Design - Design or Content?

Published on July 8, 2011
Tags: Web Design London

When you have a business, chances are that at some point you will want a top quality website to help market your work and provide your clients with more information about your services. The temptation at this point can often be to jump straight in to the web design process and start thinking about what you want the site to look like.

Of course, aesthetics are important as they are what web visitors first see when they click onto a page, and they do make a difference as to whether the visitor decides to stay on your website, to read the information there and to contact you or buy your products. So what your website looks like is very important, and it’s something that web designers spend a lot of time making sure to get right.

When you are creating a website, however, it often helps to start from a different point: the content. Graphics and colours may come first in terms of a web visitor’s viewing experience, but in terms of what goes into your website, it really helps if you know what you want to say first. This often helps to guide the web designer too as the quality and length of the site content can determine the structure and layout of the design.

This is why planning is such an important part of the web design process; when we design websites at Ampheon Web Design London, for instance, we always like to know exactly what the client is looking for first. This includes matters such as the nature of their business and what they are hoping to achieve with their website, as well as how they would like it to look. This helps us to create a much better website with the aim that it will be more successful at generating traffic and business.

So, if you are thinking of creating a new website for your business, what are some of the things you should be thinking about before you turn your thoughts to the aesthetics of web design?

In a lot of cases, it can help to get right back down to basics. For example, what does your company actually do? Having a really clear, conceptual idea of what your business is about can help to shape your vision for your website. Secondly, who is your target audience? This is likely to vary depending on the nature of your company and whether you are looking to produce an ecommerce site or an informative one.

It also pays to think about what content you are going to be putting on the site. What articles do you think you will need to include in order to sell your business to people? What categories do they fall into? This helps to break your site down into distinct sections that will make it easier to design, navigate and understand. It also helps if you have at least some content written before you turn your attention to the look of the website, as the tone of your writing will help to inform where the site goes from there.

And don’t forget: your  web site content should be written with the visitor in mind; how what you are offering can benefit them.

Once you have a very clear idea in your head about the content of your website – the meat of it, if you like – you can turn your attention to the design. What kind of colours do you want? What feelings to you want the site to invoke? Do you want interactive features? What sort of graphics? How do you want to go about branding it? These are all questions that your web designer will be able to help you answer if you aren’t sure, but the more you know beforehand, the more the designer will be able to create an accurate reflection of your vision.

One of the most important things to remember about web design – and websites in general – is that if they are going to be good, they need to be dynamic. This means you should regularly review the content on your site and update it to keep it fresh and relevant. This is not only sensible from the point of view of keeping your readers up to date, but it also helps in terms of SEO (search engine optimisation). At longer intervals, you might also want to review the aesthetics of your site to see if they need updating to keep up with where your business is going.

Overall, then, web design is not static. It’s not just a case of designing an attractive website. Of course, that’s part of it, but it’s also about the quality of the content that forms the core of the site, so the aesthetics will complement what you have to say, not overwhelm it. Web design is not just about creating pretty webpages: it’s also about conveying a message. Knowing what that message is before the design process starts will definitely be of benefit to your business.

By Chelsey Evans

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