I see this phrase posted from time to time via social media: "Good design can't save bad content."
While I agree with this concept, I think things are a little more complex than this in the digital marketing world.
We could also say,
Bad Design Doesn’t Give Great Content a Chance
I find both phrases rather partisan, when, in reality, designers and content creators work together – or they should – to maximize the effect an online marketing tool will have for their clients.
I think a more accurate way to describe the relationship between design and content would be to say,
Good Design is a Warm Introduction to Great Content
There is, however, a third leg to this stool, one that is also integral to the delivery of a superb online experience for the intended audience: technology.
I think most of us would agree that the execution of a successful online marketing strategy requires the collaboration of designers and content providers.
Good design creates the first impression that begins the engagement process with the audience.
If an internet traveler bounces from a poorly designed online property before the intended message can be delivered, it doesn’t matter how sublime the content is.
Good design lets viewers know that they are in the right place, and great content should corroborate that first impression.
Holding on to the engagement that was elicited by a good design’s first impression is content’s job. Great content should continue to deepen this relationship.
Good design doesn’t need to change all that often. Coming back to the familiar is comforting for a time.
Not so much with content.
Content’s shelf life is much shorter. When an intended audience touches the online property more frequently, the level of engagement with the brand increases. An audience will come back more frequently if content is fresh.
This is where that third leg, technology, comes in.
If the technology used to update a website doesn’t allow the designers and content providers to keep new, dynamic information flowing to the intended audience, the chances of having that audience drift away are increased.
Technology should be able to keep pace with content’s realtime wishes. Having to call a third party for execution slows down this process. The technology used to update and maintain a website should be easy and it shouldn’t break down.
I believe that technology should provide the framework for great design and content, and then stand down. Let the powerful marketing tool that a website can be, be run by the marketing professionals.