Generally speaking, most businesses think of website content much later in the development cycle and are more concerned about site aesthetics.
I’m not undermining the importance of design. In fact, at OH! Design Studio, our vision as a branding firm is to transform brands through strategic integrated design.
Design helps in communicating messages and brings out the essence of a brand. But if your designer does not know what strategic messages to highlight on the website, you’ll end up with an ineffective marketing tool in your arsenal. User Interface (UI) design does not start with graphic designing or layout designs, but with content strategy.
Clarification: Content strategy is different from copy-writing
I visited websites of two membership-based organizations recently. Both websites had a stark difference in the way they projected brand image of their respective organization.
Website#1: First one had membership benefits, takeaways and value proposition positioned clearly on home page and integrated well within menu navigation. They distinctly positioned themselves as industry training provider and added many easily identifiable engaging features on the website. Even before I clicked on “membership benefits” tab, I was almost convinced to get associated with them. In short, information was presented from members and prospective member’s perspective or the target audience perspective.
Website#2: Second website, however, presented information from the association’s perspective– thisss.. is what we are/ thisss.. is the reason why you should join us/ theeese.. are the prerequisites to apply for membership/Training courses weee… offer/ ourrr.. resources. As a prospective member, I had to search for direct and indirect clues to convince myself to join this organization. Instead of blending the organization’s value proposition strategically into the site information architecture, second website had just one tab dedicated to “Membership benefits”.
My point is, unless you blend strategy with UI design, you’ll end up with a feature loaded and information rich website which would most probably fail to create an impact in the mind of your brand’s target audience. Creating brand image is not the prerogative of big businesses. If you have a business, you have a brand. The question is whether or not it’s the brand you really want.
Related Thoughts: Key elements of website design process
Content is the main reason why people come to your website. Invest time in understanding your website visitor personas. That is the starting point of UI design. If your website designer starts with page layouts or doesn’t ask for strategic inputs or does’t involve you in content strategy phase, it’s a clue- you are working with the wrong agency or freelancer!
By Supriya Sachdeva, Digital Communication Strategist at OH! Design Studio, Mumbai.
OH! Design Studio is a branding and strategic design agency based in Mumbai, India. To connect with OH! Design Studio, just drop us a line, we’ll get in touch with you. You can always say hello at @SachdevaSupriya !