A paradox of Web Development — Design First or Content?by@nilesh-kadivar
1,261 reads
1,261 reads

A paradox of Web Development — Design First or Content?

by Nilesh KadivarJanuary 28th, 2019
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

If you have worked closely with a web development company to design a website for your business, then you might be aware of the debate whether design should come first, or it should be the content.

People Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail

Company Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
featured image - A paradox of Web Development — Design First or Content?
Nilesh Kadivar HackerNoon profile picture

If you have worked closely with a web development company to design a website for your business, then you might be aware of the debate whether design should come first, or it should be the content.

Today, there are numerous options that make web pages look beautiful and attractive. The swirly animations, plug-ins, customized fonts and shades can add a wow factor to any website. Designers always find it exciting to play with colours, layouts, and other aspects of designs.

You might have got your website designed from the best web development company with zero flaws and unlimited excitement and magic. But what if the content on your website doesn’t complement the designs, or isn’t effective enough to hold the attention of visitors?

Breaking the Website Development Process

Without being biased, let’s break the process of website development into two possibilities-

1. Design-first

2. Content-first

• Design-first approach

Talking about the design-first approach, web designers from a reputed web development company ask content writers to hold off the content until they are ready with the design. Once they are ready with all the designs, they’ll have the writers create the content that fits their designs.

This can cost you a fortune because the design might be artistic, but the content might not share your message properly to the visitors.

No doubt, the website will look alluring, but it would cost you more. If you try to fit all the content in the design to better serve your end users, it might consume the space that was meant for artsy filters, white space or other design elements.

Also, in the design-first approach, the designers might leave a little more space for content, so that message can be delivered properly. But what if the content is not enough to cover all the space?

In other cases, many designing agencies, software and website designers go on to select a template for your website. These templates come with content boxes, patterns and categories, which writers need to comply with. What this means is that content writers must write content that can fit the boxes and patterns. This is really bad for a business.

• Content-first approach

A website is meaningless without content. Through the content, the visitors get to learn the purpose of the website, get answers to questions and get encouraged to take action. Without content, your website will be a useless shell.

In the content-first approach, the designers ask writers for content and then prepare a design to complement it. During web development, when the content is written first, the design can be created to fit it and show your brand identity. The designers will have to work blindly if they don’t have the content.

As they say in the digital world, content is the king. To make sure that content can do its job properly, create the design around it. In the design-first approach, you have to write your king on the basis of spaces in design. Hence, the content becomes the second priority. And king can’t be the second priority.

The content-first approach doesn’t mean that every single word has to be written before the design. Instead, you should have the primary stages of content created before the design process begins. After that, even if the content needs a little bit of modification, you can do that. It wouldn’t affect the overall message of your brand.

As well said by someone, “Design, in the absence of content, is just decoration.”

• When content and design go together

For many businesses, it is a paradox whether to go for content-first or design-first approach. They are not sure which approach should be adopted and executed first before the other.

For best outcomes, they ask content writers and web designers to go hand in hand. This way, both the approaches become interdependent of each other. Even Neil Patel, an English angel investor and co-founder of, suggests that designers and content writers should work together to make the concept of website work.

Why working together is important?

It’s because there are times when you will need to tweak the design to make it less distracting and turn the attention of visitors to the content.

Other times, you need to edit the content to make it a better fit for design. For example, a heading might seem good for a webpage, but it might not be perfect in context. Hence, you will need to increase or decrease word count.

Also, as your business grows, you will need to adjust your content by adding more words or modifying it. You might also need to enhance designs or change some elements. When design and content go hand in hand, they will keep on complementing each other, so the website remains in its best state, always.

Both designers and writers should collaborate for best results. Together, they can develop a website that has every dot connected in the right manner. It will also optimize the resources and efforts, which might not be the case when you go for either a content-first or design-first approach.


If you are looking to develop a website or get it built from a trusted web developers or web development company, make sure that you either go for content-first approach or get the team of writers and designers to work together. The aim of content and design should be to make the website beautiful and grab the attention of end-users so that they stay on web pages longer than usual and visit other pages of the website as well.

Which approach are you going to take for your website? Let us know in the comments below.