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Creating an Effective Website: Content and Design

By: Mary Barbour

We’ve already established that the essentials of a successful website as we see it are: design, development, and content strategy. But how does content figure into both design and development? A great website should do lots of things at once. It should look great, for sure, but it can’t be design for design’s sake. Everything in the design should have a reason beyond just looking good. Hierarchical sizing and intentional calls to action should ensure that the eye is drawn to the right places. We tend to think highly of leveraging white space, using deliberate placement to guide users to where you want them to. When looking for examples of effective interplay of content and design, a great place to start is tech-startups. Who better understands the ways to use web design to maximize the impact of content than tech stars? Look at Artsy’s site, for example: It features a slideshow of art works on the left-hand side which link to a request for an invite to the members only group. When you scroll-over the small arrow on the right, a menu appears with options to learn more, access FAQs, etc. All of the information is there, but they use the magic of design to ensure it doesn’t clutter the page. Another one we love is Fancy Hands:

They use a clean and simple image and just enough text to convey the message of what the company will do for you and how to start doing it.  The messaging is placed intentionally above the fold and to the right, often where the eye goes first. The callouts direct users clearly to their plans and pricing. Remember what Kristina Halverson says:  that every instance of messaging should support a key business objective or support a user in completing a task. And if your site can do both, like the Fancy Hands page, then you have found the perfect balance of content and design.

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