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Three Essentials for a Successful Website: Design, Development, and Content Strategy

By: Mary Barbour

Our philosophy holds that there are three components of a well-designed website: Design, Development, and Content Strategy. When assembled well, these three components will all work in perfect harmony, each one supporting the function of the other two.

Design is the actual look and layout of your site. What colors will you use? Will you have pictures or just text? Does your company want a young, playful image, or a serious, professional look?  The Design aspect encompasses all of your aesthetic and branding choices.

Development is all the “under the hood” stuff: what kind of platform do you want to use? What about an ecommerce solution? Do you need a custom web app? You want all of this to be easy to manage without getting bogged down with technical jargon so that you can keep your attention focused where it matters.

The third, often overlooked component is Content Strategy, which we discussed in our last post. Content is the actual information you are presenting on your site. (It’s worth noting that there can be some overlap between design and content – images can be part of the overall appearance of the site and also have the task of communicating an idea.) Content Strategy, the choices you make in this presentation, is extremely important in increasing effectiveness of your site and improving the user experience.

A well-designed site will seamlessly blend these three elements, optimizing the effect of each. Our mantra has always been LESS IS MORE, and this applies to all three aspects of building a website. We like white space. We like clarity. We like form and function to have a symbiotic relationship.

Kristina Halverson, our personal Content Strategy Hero, asserts that EVERY instance of messaging (read: Design, Development AND Content Strategy) should accomplish one or both of the following goals:

  1. Support a key business objective
  2. Support a user in completing a task

We believe that these objectives are met once you have achieved a perfect harmony of Design, Development and Content Strategy. If your design is clean and simple, the content will be easy to find. If the content is streamlined and strategically placed, the design won’t be cluttered. If the design isn’t cluttered and the content is easy to find, those are signs that the development was done well.

Attaining this harmony is always our ultimate goal.

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