There’s a lot to be said for embracing the content you’re designing for early on.
“Sure, content first sounds peachy” I hear you say, “but that’s not as easy as you make it sound.
- I have a tight deadline to have first wireframes done by
- I don’t have a content writer
- I’m not a content writer
- The client could write the content but they won’t get back to me in time
- I just need the freedom to come up with the first design before worrying about content
- I don’t have a budget for content writing”
These reasons are all real and I’ve experienced them first hand.
So here’s what happens now.
STEP 1 Wireframe stage
- You have to guess the content anyway using lorum ipsum and some “sample content” to make up your wires. If not, you have to do it down the track anyway before finalisation.
- When you’re doing user walkthroughs, you need to scramble to come up with “real” content because lorum ipsum freaks out the participants or causes them to get disctracted or causes them to switch off or … all 3
- The client doesn’t really critically evaluate the lorum ipsum because its meaningless to them so their input doesn’t really happen at key stages in the design process
STEP 2 Visual design stage
- The visual designer misunderstands what different parts of the concepts really mean and so the fonts are too large, text won’t fit or the visual emphasis is just off
- You have to get them to change it during the art direction process or perhaps you miss it because you
STEP 3 The system is built, the REAL content gets entered
- The client enters content and doesn’t really know what content should go into different parts of your design so they err on the side of large blobs of text
- The design bloats
- Bits of the design break because they are overloaded
- Other bits get missed because they are misunderstood or not needed
- Go to Step 1
More love needed
And that’s why I fall in love with the content early.
- Identifying what content stubs you need and ask the client for all the raw material BEFORE you get to the wireframe phase
- Writing your own content or have a content writer on hand to do content for you
- Designing the content as you’re working up your first wireframes (or before in some cases)
- Evolving the content as you evolve your wires
You’ll then …
- know what you’re designing and design the content as you go
- get better engagement with clients and usability test participants
- avoid painful misunderstandings and rework
- have better content
- be a better designer