Myth: You don't need the content to design a website

Many designers create wireframes and comps with “lorem ipsum” filler text. Using dummy text (and photographs) ALWAYS results in an aesthetically pleasing but unrealistic design. What’s worse, it creates the illusion that content is secondary.

The fact is that users come for the content, not the design. Content is by far the most important element in user interface design. A webpage with a simple structure but quality content performs much better on usability tests than a nice layout with subpar text.

Why base your design on actual content?

  • Designer Luke Wroblewski argues that “using dummy content or fake information in the Web design process can result in products with unrealistic assumptions and potentially serious design flaws.” He also explains how these designs usually fail when real content is added. - Death to Lorem Ipsum

  • In an interview, content specialist Kristina Halvorson argues that design decisions should be driven by the content; and the entire layout is to be created to support the content.

  • In their book Getting Real, web experts at 37signals explain how dangerous dummy text can be and that “lorem ipsum changes the way copy is viewed. It reduces text-based content to a visual design element — a shape of text — instead of what it should be: valuable information someone is going to have to enter and/or read.” - Use real words

  • Another passage from Getting Real: “Copywriting is interface design. Great interfaces are written. If you think every pixel, every icon, every typeface matters, then you also need to believe every letter matters.” - Copywriting is Interface Design

  • “Text is a UI” says Jakob Nielsen in his piece on the importance of copywriting: Twitter Postings: Iterative Design.

  • “Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” - says web designer and author Jeffrey Zeldman.

  • A detailed article with practical advices on how to change your design approach from “lorem ipsum” to real content: Lorem Ipsum is Killing Your Designs and also The Importance of Copywriting in Web Design.

  • Remember that lorem ipsum can go horribly wrong.

  • The only possible excuse to use lorem ipsum is to use the gangsta lorem ipsum generator.

Zoltán Gócza
Acknowledgement: UX Myths - Build your product based on evidence, not false beliefs.


So please don't ask us to even start a design if you haven't sent us absolutely all your final content text and also your photographs.

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