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Death to fake content!

By Anginé Pramzian

04/12/2015

“CONTENT PRECEDES DESIGN. DESIGN IN THE ABSENCE OF CONTENT IS NOT DESIGN, IT’S DECORATION.”

The above is a tweet from Jeffrey Zeldman (05 May 2008)

First, let me say I absolutely agree with the Jeffrey’s statement. It passes 5 years from the day he posted this statement, but we still have a lot of problems with clients asking for the content before beginning the design.

Many designers create wireframes with “Lorem ipsum” text. Using dummy text, maybe results in an aesthetically pleasing, but unrealistic design. What’s worse, it creates the impression that the content is not important and its secondary.

The fact is that users come for the content, not the design. Content is by far the most important element in interface design. A webpage with a simple structure, but quality content performs much better on usability tests than a nice layout with weak text.

Maybe these sentences are familiar to you: “write something yourself” “you know better than I do” or “take a look at my competitor website and use the content, as it is”. If you see that it’s going to be an issue, then add a budget to manage the editorial expenses and make your client agree on that. This, after all, is part of the project. The project isn’t completed without content.

Visuals and content go hand in hand. If you intend to make a relevant, meaningful design that is meant to convey a message/theme then you need the content first. Otherwise the design is just decoration.

Magazine graphics aren’t created without the first draft of the article. Book covers aren’t made without the drafted story. Websites shouldn’t be any different.