Last week I interviewed a tax preparer who wants me to write content for her website.
Her mind was racing with possibilities. It was fun to hear her talk about her background and how she was going to save a lot of time for both her and her clients by creating a one-stop resource.
But she was distracted by a messy website template on her computer screen. The distraction caused her to jump around in our conversation—from the template to her services to the content and then back to the template. Round and round we went.
By quoting Frank Lloyd Wright—“form follows function”—I finally got her to stop looking at the computer screen.
Before You Build Your Website, Visualize Both Your Content and Your Design
Content and design work together. Too often I see people design a website without considering the content. Or, they focus solely on writing the content without considering how the words will work with the design.
So before you build your website (or update an existing one), visualize both with a storyboard. The photograph at the beginning of this blog post is one way you can visualize your content and design.
Once you have the basics down, you can start adding details. By filling in the details, you will begin to see the relationships between the elements on a page as well as the relationships between the pages.
The more you can see how all the pieces work together, the easier it will be for you to move from concept to reality. And reality will then turn out better than you had imagined.
If Form Follows Function, Answer Some Questions to Nail Down the Form
Make sure you also use your storyboard to answer some questions:
- What do you do?
- Who do you do it for?
- Where do you do it?
- Why should people choose you over the competition?
- What do you want the website to do for you? For example, do you want it to save you time or grow your business?
Once you’re done answering your questions, you’re ready to start building a website with both content and design in mind.