Text is a UI. Here are the proofs

05 April, 2017

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If as a designer you think that content is secondary, you would be in big trouble. We are not saying it, but research has proved that it’s foolish to depend too much on the design and leave the content as a secondary aspect.

Why content is not secondary?

You would understand in a single metaphor when we would mention it. Here’s why content is not secondary!

Because when users visit your website, they can feel magnanimous by looking at your design, but if the content you use is “lorem ipsum”, then believe that the users are not going to stay on your website for very long.

Why?

Because users come to a website for content, not for design! Yes, aesthetically superior design increases your credibility; but what your users seek is great content which can educate or entertain them in multi-dimensional ways.

Imagine that you have got a great book with great cover and amazing binding. The way the book is written is tremendous too. Now you open the first page of the book and you read that the content inside the book is superfluous and have almost no substance. Would you still feel to keep on reading the book? You would put it down, right?

Now think about your website! If there is no great content, users will just have a look at your design, would go away forever never to look back at it ever.

Base your design on great content

Founder of “Brain Traffic”, Kristina Halvorson laments that many of the websites depend on poor content as the content is considered as secondary and no-one takes responsibility for the poor content.

She also remarks that at the strategy table, people talk about investing in the interface design and user experience strategy; but rarely anyone brings up the talk about great content.

The reason for such a case is that the strategy talk of the business owners about user experience is flawed; as they don’t understand that “text is king”. If the content is not given enough room, eventually all their investments would go in vain.

Content doesn’t only mean “written words”

You don’t need to worry about only “written words”. We agree that only text after text makes users tired (without any halt or something different). That’s the reason you need to mix and match different types of contents. Use written words, audios, videos and even graphics to attract your users.

It has been seen in a research that when you use both text and videos in a single blog article, the chances of ranking higher in the search engine increases by 53 times. So, all you need to do is to understand what your users want (text, videos, audios or graphics) and then offer them the exact combination.

Now the main thing is not only the main thing

Here’s what we mean by that –

Your main text is not always the main thing. Many web designers have started using great content in the body of their website; but what’s still missing is the great copy for your product description, support texts, headlines, text links, meta data and error messages.

You need to give such an experience to your users that your competitors wouldn’t even think of. And it comes with an understanding that “text is the user experience”.

If you design your website without content, it’s not design; it’s decoration

Celebrated web designer and author Jeffrey Zeldman mentions that when you design your website without content, you are just there for decoration, not design in actual sense.

If you look at few great sites which receive great numbers of readers, you would see that the content plays the key roles in attracting so many people. It’s never about the design, but it’s all about what the users get out of those websites.

 

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As an example, look at zenhabits.net. This site is simple and minimalistic. And there is no cool design as well. However, if you dig inside the articles written there, you would see that it’s incredibly written and so very useful. Even Times Magazine has selected this site as the best 50 websites in 2011 and the best 25 best websites in 2009.

It’s time for people to think who don’t give much importance to the content in their website.

Kiss of death: Great design, bad copy

Text is a UI and more. Joshua Johnson in his article “The Importance of Copywriting in Web Design” mentions that if you have a great design and poor copy, you would not be able to attract users to your site.

Here’s why great copy is so very important along with great design –

  • Without having the solid copy your design will suffer. As web designers, people concentrate too much on the design and neglect the copy till the very end. And when the deadline arrives, they write the copy in a hectic manner which results in a poor finished product at the end.
  • Great design ensures transparency: There is a reason for which you want your users to see too much of your interface; because you may have considered that they would dislike it.
  • Content precedes design: You can design later, but first you need to think about content. Because as per the content, you should create your design so that the users can come to your site and learn and it also doesn’t take away the aesthetics altogether.

So don’t take your text as a secondary feature. Give its due and you would see the results right in front of your eyes.

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