Content vs Design: Which Comes First?

None. Before creating the content and design, content planning should first be in place.


When building a UX design, content and design teams rely on each other. The issue that often arises is where to begin.


It’s been common practice to build the design first to act as framework or template where the content will be placed later on. But this method rarely gives regard to the content; no initial consideration for the nature of the content.


Continuous Collaboration

In that case, should content come first, then? According to Karen McGrane, a UX designer, content strategy expert, and author of ‘Content Strategy for Mobile and Going Responsive:

As with everything else in the design and development process, the work has to be iterative. It has to be something that involves collaboration and regular checkpoints among the team.

Just like the collaboration between designers and developers to build an effective UI and UX design, content and design teams should also have a maximized relationship. And for McGrane, it is important that both designers and content developers are aware of what each other is creating in order to strategize how they will work together. After all they are both going for the same goal: to deliver a message contained within an easy-to-navigate design.


Content Planning First Before Anything Else

This is where content planning enters the picture. Content planning should be the first one to be finalized before creating the design and content. At this stage, some of the important things to discuss between the content and design teams include the story that the client is trying to tell, how the client wants the target audience to get there, how the design supports the message, and the types of pages and content needed.


Content planning does not need to involve the actual content right away, but it helps the designers and writers have an idea of the outline of the content – its length, type (be it video, text, images), the approach and target audience, and how it will be updated. Once the plan is set the designer can then consider these components and build the design around them. In the content planning stage, it is also necessary to discuss the design limitations so the content writers will have their guidelines to follow to make sure the content will fit and work well with the design.


Content planning is also necessary when submitting a mockup to the client so they would have an idea how the design and function would look like and work, even if the actual content is not there yet.


Here at MicroCreatives, the design and copywriting teams work simultaneously while following the same project brief and content model, with regular spot checks to make sure all is on track. We also utilize collaboration tools and project management systems so that all staff involved in the project can keep track of the progress, as well as to ensure that everyone has access to the assets and that everyone is working on the same version.