What about your content?

Since the first days of the Internet people have literally been dumping ‘stuff’ on websites without thinking about it at all. This concept is changing bit by bit but it’s not changing fast enough, specially when everything else is changing so fast.

If we think about it, the medium internet is only around for about 8917 days (more or less 24 years) and we’ve seen the birth of the web 1.0, 2.0 and maybe we’re living in the web 3.0, so surely people know what to expect from a website. Well think again, in 24 years of existence people are still making the same mistakes over and over again, the biggest of them all?Content.

The evolution of a website concept is amazing. From simple text on a white background, to flashy things that disregarded content, to massive websites which 90% was never viewed by any user, to content that’s somewhat though about, but still not the main concern.

This is mainly to do with the fact that the internet inherited almost every concept from the printing world. Naturally people thought putting a lot of content online, like the company’s latest year report, people would read it.

If we take a look at how websites are built in general:

  1. Wireframe to layout the main content areas;
  2. Put some visual coat on it, make it pretty for users to look at;
  3. Develop and put a content management system on it;
  4. Finally at the last stage, copy and paste the content in.

This unfortunately leads to a pretty website but poor on content, which is what the user is actually looking for, there for, not a very useful website.

So what can we do to make your website something people will find it useful? Lets look at the offline printing process for a second:

  1. Journalists write news articles;
  2. Editors look at the articles and rewrite where needed;
  3. Designers look at the content then put it on the page — designing with the final content;
  4. Images go in to enhance the story and it gets published.

If we took so much from the printing world to the internet, why not take one of the best working processes and apply it to today’s reality?

We all have desktops, laptops, tablets, phablets, phones with a browser, each one of these devices can display a website, can you imagine how important content is? It’s not something to leave it to do at the end, it’s the first thing you should think about.

This is how imagine the ideal process should be:

  1. Determine the main goal(s) of the website and its users;
  2. Gather all content that helps you to achieve that goal(s);
  3. Work the content as it would be viewed only on mobile, if it doesn’t fit on mobile, don’t put it on the desktop either;
  4. Design around the content to enhance it;
  5. Add imagery/graphics to enhance the experience;
  6. Put everything on the CMS and publish it.

If you need to look at how to tackle this on a real project I recommend Karen Mcgrane Going Responsive Book and if you need a tool to work on your content before you start your next redesign project, GatherContent is what you need.