Content is king, but how do you design around it? In this article, you’ll learn how content-first design can help you create websites and products that are user-friendly, efficient, and aligned with your goals.
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What is content-first design?
Content-first design is an approach that uses the content of your website or product to determine its design. It is based on the idea that content is the most important element of a website or product.
- Better user experience
It improves user experience by delivering content that meets their needs and goals, and by presenting it in a clear, concise, and engaging way.
- Time and resource efficiency
It saves time and resources by avoiding redesigns and revisions that may occur when content is added or changed after the design is done.
It creates consistency across all platforms by ensuring that the content is the same and in the same order, regardless of how users access the site or product.
- Alignment with strategy and objectives
It helps align the design with the content strategy and the business objectives by focusing on what you want to communicate and how you want to communicate it.
- Challenging content preparation
It can be challenging to get the content ready before the design, especially if there are multiple stakeholders, writers, or sources involved.
- Needs more planning and coordination
It may require more planning, coordination, and communication to ensure that the content is consistent, accurate, and aligned with the goals.
- No visual guidance
It can be difficult to design without a visual reference, especially if the content is complex, dynamic, or interactive.
- More imagination and testing
It may require more imagination, creativity, and testing to ensure that the design works well with the content and the user expectations.
It can be limiting to design around the content, especially if there are changes or updates in the content later on.
- More flexibility and iteration
It may require more flexibility, adaptability, and iteration to ensure that the design can accommodate the content and the user needs.
How to get started?
- Define your goals and audience
What are you trying to communicate? What actions do you want your users to take? Who are your users and what are their needs?
- Create an outline and a site map
What are the main topics and subtopics of your content? How will you structure and organize your content? What pages or screens will you need?
- Write or gather your content
What type of content will you use (text, images, videos, etc)? What tone and voice will you use? How will you make your content clear, concise, and compelling?
- Design around your content
How will you present your content in a way that supports its meaning and purpose? How will you use typography, color, hierarchy, and white space to enhance readability and usability? How will you make your content responsive and accessible?
Learn more about content-first design with these resources:
Video: 8 Steps to Content-First Design with Sarah Johnson
Learn how to create a human-centered conversation with your users by following 8 steps to content-first design with Sarah Johnson, a seasoned content strategist and educator with over 25 years of experience in the field.
- Content-First Design: The Value-Added UX Approach (Linda Heidvogel/Feb. 2023)
In this article, the author shares her journey from UX design to UX writing and content, and how she learned the value of content-first design. https://uxwritinghub.com/content-first-design-in-ux
- How content-first design creates a better user experience (Liam King/March 2022) The author discusses the benefits of content-first design for UX and how to be successful at it by sharing some content strategy thinking and methods. https://gathercontent.com/blog/designing-content-first-for-a-better-ux
- Content-First Design: Let the Content Determine the Design (balsamiq) The article is about the importance and benefits of content-first design, an approach that uses the content of your website or product to determine its design, and how to apply it to your projects using various methods and tools. https://balsamiq.com/learn/articles/content-first-design/
- Check out this great explainer about content design created by UX content designer Yvonne. Make sure to look at her other videos on UX writing and content design: https://youtu.be/YaT1wH4Fbr4