Is Web Content More Important Than Web Design?

One of the 8 Web Design Trends in 2012 mentioned in last week’s post is…

5) Simple As more creativity goes into the content being produced, many organizations are simplifying the design of their websites even further.

The philosophy is that your goal isn’t to get people to marvel at the design of your site, it’s to catch people’s attention with your content – the headlines, images and videos that highlight who you are and what you do.

This is the path we chose with the new OurChurch.Com site. We simplified the site itself and put color and creativity into the content – the slides on the homepage and section homepages.

ourchurch.com homepage

If you look at one of our internal page, you can see just how simple the design of the site is. It’s a very clean, attractive appearance.

kitchen sink page

If you go this route with your organization’s website, it’s important to understand that the primarily responsibility for making your website look good is no longer on the person who designs your website but instead is on the person or people who create and update the content of your site.

Take a look at what the page above looks like without the stock image on it and without good paragraph spacing.

kitchen sink bad content

I would describe this page as boring and hard to read. But if we had published a page like this I wouldn’t fault the designer, I would fault the content provider.

What do you think about this approach to web design – designing the site itself to be simple and putting the color and creativity into the content?

Are you putting enough care and creativity into the content of your website?

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

5 Responses to “Is Web Content More Important Than Web Design?”

  1. The obvious answer to the question is that it depends on your goals. Both the design and the content have their roles. One without the other creates a bad experience. Content developers are also not designers and vice versa, but when creating content the designers have to be involved to provide a coherent experience. A picture says a thousand words really does apply here. I believe it's why there is an explosion of UI and UX needs right now because companies are finally starting to understand this.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Mar 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Thanks for your comment, John Paul. I think you make a good point that generally speaking content creators are not designers and vise versa, at least when we think of "content" as text. But today content is literally MUTLI-media – text, graphics, audio, video. For that reason it's best not to let writers create all the content by themselves, but have writers collaborate with graphic/video producers.

  2. Alvalyn Lundgren Mar 1, 2012 at 2:18 am

    The designer takes the content and arranges to create an overall pleasing graphic environment that communicates appropriately. Form follows function.

    i suppose that if one regards design as mere decoration one can divorce design from content, but in reality, that's not possible. The idea that design simply makes something look good is far from accurate when describing the role of design in communication. Design gives shape to ideas and makes content easy to understand. Content providers should work with designers, not eschew them.

    • PaulSteinbrueck Mar 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      I agree, Alvalyn. There needs to be a lot of collaboration between content creators and designers.

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