Design

Content Shouldn’t be an Afterthought

Designing a website is like taking a script and making it into a movie. The movie director converts the text of the script into scenes and casts talented actors that will bring the movie to life.

Now imagine this, what if the director started shooting without a finished script?

Would that impact the quality of the movie? Would his decision cost the studio more money? Well, if it’s Steven Spielberg or Billy Wilder directing the movie than the answer is probably no.

Let’s put it this way: designing a website without enough content is a guessing game that negatively impacts and slows down the creative process. Yet for some reason, many clients wait until they receive a nice set of designs before they start creating or finalizing content. This is where the design can fail when you have to force, rewrite or shortened the final content to fit into the newly designed layout.

Content is the most important part of your website. The right content will give your business a voice; tell your business’s story and emphasize what you do and why your target audience should invest in your products and services.

Content includes photos, video, text, logo, graphics, and headlines.

The benefits of putting content first

#1 — Stop nasty surprises from derailing your project budget and schedule.

#2 — With a content-first approach, your designer can design better and more detailed set of wireframes.

#3 — Avoid endless rounds of iteration.

What happens when a content first approach is not followed or is completely ignored?

Compare and contrast both design and see how using lorem ipsum and real content can change the design for better or worse.

Example 1– no real content, placeholder text

 

Example 2 – real content, no placeholder text

Things to think about when creating or planning content for your site.

Preparation is key.

Ask yourself these following questions.

What sort of impression would you like your target audience to have about your business? Will your content engage your visitors? What message are you trying to communicate through your content?

Avoid

  •      Conflicting messages
  •      Duplicated copy
  •      Spelling and grammatical mistakes
  •      Outdated content

The content you provide to your designer during the discovery phase does not need to be final or perfect. Start by reviewing your existing content, maybe it’s not exactly what you want to say, but it’s a start. Revising existing copy is generally easier than writing from scratch so give it a try

Ideally, designers would love to receive final content from their clients at the beginning of each project, but it never happens and probably will never happen. Remember a design constructed without real content may look okay in the end, but it will never be as good as a design with real, actionable content.

So, should content be an afterthought? No! It should be one of  your first thoughts. While design helps lure the audience and draw their eye to an actionable area, content tells them what action should be taken.

The Power of Design

the-power-of-design

Design is everywhere. You can find it on our television and computer screens, in newspapers and magazines, on billboards, food packages — you name it.  We live in a visual culture inundated with media and saturated with images we simply cannot escape. It can distract and annoy, but it also has the power to entice and inform. A design can even affect our overall perspective.

So why is design and creativity undervalued by many? If design evokes emotions, affects what we buy and enables us to absorb and process information in new ways. Design is much more than just visual aesthetics, is all about generating insightful solutions that put people and their needs first.

Design should entice and persuade. Design can help your business stand out from the competition, keep your brand memorable, keep your content user-friendly, and help your business make a good first impression. A professional designer has the potential to deliver those kinds of results.

Next time you take a walk, remember design is everywhere. I challenge you to explore your surroundings, I bet you will be surprised of what you find — and that’s the power of design.

Communication Breakdown: Web App

There’s a major problem in the world of app creation. You know what? I’d dare to go as far as to call it a minor crisis!

It’s a problem that stems from a simple but all too common miscommunication. It’s a case of semantics causing a complicated mess.

What is this catastrophe I’m referring to?

Folks are using the term ‘App’ when they really mean ‘Web App’ 

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Theres are a number of differences between a ‘Native’ App and a Web App. And the cavalier use of the the word ‘app’ to mean one or both of these tools creates endless confusion. So let’s break it down.

First of all, if I’m honest, the most noteworthy of the difference between a Native App and a Web App is the amount of time and money it takes to see an ROI on a native app. This is because, in many cases, tons of money is wasted building an app when the focus would be better served on a well designed web app.

So what exactly is a ‘Web App’, anyways? Web-App-vs-Native-app

A Web App is basically just a device agnostic website; it’s a site that is built to fit all browsers, including mobile devices. It might even look and feel like a proper app. The functionalities can be near endless. But a web app is always run through an internet browser.

Don’t call a Web App an ‘App’, call it a Web App (or ‘Mobile’ Web App, if you prefer).

Native apps, on the other hand, are proper ‘Apps’

Apps are built exclusively for IOS, Android, etc. They are not run through an internet browser. They are extraordinary useful tools and can even be vital for some business models to survive and thrive.

Apps can be invaluable tools. We’ll get to that. But they have some major downsides. Here’s two big ones: they’re costly and reach a limited audience.

The truth is that not every organization needs an app. In fact, many organizations won’t even gain anything from a dedicated native app. On the other hand, every modern company or organization needs a web app. This is doubly true if any of your service offerings are web-based.

If you want the content housed in your website to reach as many people as possible, a mobile responsive website is your ticket

And doesn’t this definition fit the needs sought out by most organizations?

Even if you might find the need for a native app down the line, it almost never makes sense if your organization doesn’t first build a rock solid web app.

At the end of the day, you only need to ask yourself one question: ‘is your organization trying to accomplish anything that can’t be achieved in a web browser?’

If the answer is ‘no’. It’s probably wise to resist paying for an app.

If the answer is ‘yes’ then maybe it’s time to jump in.

And if you are unsure whether the answer might be yes, then here’s a list of the very real reasons to have a native app:

  • They’re fastercoomplcated-app-store
  • They’re available offline
  • Any manner of unique functionalities tied to a device (i.e. touch screen game(s), utilization of a smart phone’s camera or GPS)
  • Accessibility or ‘high-use’ service (is yours a service that over 10% of clients could realistically use on a daily or even weekly basis?)

Would any of these functionalities add considerable value to your brand? It’s a vital question to consider. And it’s made more complicated by the fact that your answer is likely to fall in a gray area somewhere.

Here’s a handy dandy infographic from Functionality that some additional context:

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Key takeaway: Designing a great app is expensive

Finding a worthwhile ROI is extraordinarily tricky when it comes to launching an app. It’s why more and more organizations have learned to settle for extremely well designed Web App interfaces.