Design vs. Content


Design vs. Content

“Can quality content & great design coincide ?”

Great Design has always been an integral aspect within the grand scheme of our lives ; whether this involves Architectural , Landscape , Interior , Garden , Fashion [ and now , since the emergence of the world wide web ] : we are now consumed with Web Design . During the last 2 decades ( not to say more ) , the sector of Graphic Design and Web Development as far as career sectors go , has skyrocketed to new heights .

There are a multitude of Art & Design existing private & public sectors , and new ones evolving at the speed of light eagerly awaiting to herald in the new batch of Graphic Design students & Web Designers of tomorrow . The high demand of visually stunning websites has increased within the past decade as more and more users as well as companies are all competing for ‘ traffic ‘ to their sites .

Albeit the graphic or visual element of many sites may be highly creative in caliber from an artistic standpoint , so called ” Literary Types ” who are looking for ” Quality Content ” , may find such ‘ beautifully artistic ‘ websites lacking in so called ” Quality Content “. Therefore , the question and the dilemma now arises within every conscientious Blogger : Design vs. Content or…vice versa 🙂

Many literary types prefer sites with not too much going on [ as far as Graphic Content is concerned ] , and prefer simple minimalistic Websites featuring literary content and are not ‘ overdosed ‘ with too much activity , such as graphic images , music and so on . There are even those [ literary users ] who will exit a website even if the posts display ‘ thumbnail images ‘ ! ( yes I have seen comments on user pages confessing as much ) . It seems as if the bloggersphere is gradually being divided into two separate sectors suddenly : Literary Geeks & Web Design Geeks .

Somehow , Literary types are under the misconception that ‘ Quality Content ‘ cannot co-exist within ‘ Creative Content ‘ , that it somehow ‘ takes away ‘ from the so called ‘ Written Word ‘ itself and dilutes it . I have been having this debate with certain users belonging to both sides of the web spectrum lately , and I have been weighing the positive & the negative aspects of the debate . Personally , my opinion borders on the ” Middle Path ” ( and those familiar w/ the Buddhist approach can immediately identify with my standpoint ) . Therefore , I will now say unto the ‘ Literary Types ‘ out there who hold to the conviction that : Quality Content cannot co-exist or be present within Creative Content , that they are to an extent , ‘ biased and apprehensive within accepting that Creative Content can possess and encompass ” Quality Written Content ” as well as great design .

Admittedly , I will confess my preference : I am a creature who is visually stimulated by great graphic content [ as we all are ]. I can remain at a site looking over every detail of its creative content and never get tired of doing so . If I want to read Tolstoy’s ” War and Peace ” I can always take it out of my library and have a good read without distractions from pop up ads for that matter . However , what I am attempting to convey to a greater degree here is this : Yes , great literary content can in fact exist & coincide within creative content without ‘ taking away ‘ from its intended source : the Written Word .

Design vs. Content

There are a multitude of artistic & creative sites which have been able to integrate both quality literary content along with creative content . The success of any site resides in the user creating not only a visually captivating site by which to lure or draw the visitor to it via it’s graphics or flash generated media , but moreover : through the intended literary content which one wishes to convey . Whether the sole purpose of such a site is to feature visual graphics or social media icons – then WRITE a brief statement [ one paragraph ] detailing that featured icon and or images. Don’t just post a few images with a download link – not if your intent is to attract a visitor and keep them ( not only ) on your site , but moreover : returning !

If all one wishes to relay are ‘ stunning visual graphics ‘ and no written content , then it simply becomes a type of ‘ gallery of images ‘ ( which doesnt require much effort , aside from cropping & resizing those images ) ; but again , if one wishes to draw so called ‘ traffic ‘ to one’s site , then the consideration to be had here is that : there are two types of users as stated in the beginning , and one must bear in mind that : you do not put up a site / blog simply to satisfy your own personal need for stunning visual graphics nor written content . ” No man is an island unto himself “.

We must all bear in mind that we are not only writing nor creating solely to feed our own need & desire , we are in essence all attempting to convey something of ourselves to a wider audience – we are trying to reach and connect with the masses out there in this cybersphere , and to pass along our ‘ content ‘ , whether this content is of an artistic or textual nature – the same rule applies to both sides of the web spectrum : You are not an island and certainly not living in your own Private Idaho any longer . You , I , everyone inhabiting this infrastructure termed the www.com are all attempting to market and sell something ; Ourselves .

Therefore , this ‘ something ‘ which we are all trying to put out there must bear and posses an element of ‘ quality & substance ‘ , or it simply becomes lost in the great void of cyberspace . Although I do encourage one to write and create from their need to extol what is in their heart and relay it unto the masses – I also advise to : consider your visitor / user’s needs as well . As stated earlier: there is not only one particular type of user who will stumble or happen to encounter your blog / site – there are basically two types of users , and if one is to continue running and maintaining their blog / site , they must consider both these type of users and be prepared to cater to both, if one’s sole intent and purpose is to generate high ranking traffic . In other words : If you’re going to feature graphics – then try to sell those graphics by creating a short descriptive storyline behind them . Sell your product to the ‘ masses ‘ , not solely to one particular individual .

One of the important reasons of why WordPress is recognized as the ‘ penultimate platform ‘ for blogging and termed as a CMS , is attributed to the fact that since it’s inception , it was strictly developed as such : a Content Management System . Plain and simple .

It was developed by Developers & Programmers as a writing platform where they could feature and share their programming language ( open source ) ; which is nothing else nor more than : TEXT & NUMERICAL equations ( script ). It was not about graphics , although much has changed since then – however , if one compares WordPress.org and WordPress.com , they will notice the distinction between what .org encompasses and what .com entails .

They are in fact 2 very different CMS’ indeed , as the .com is still held and maintained as a CMS , ( for developers & programmers ) and now : Literary types. Below is a video of Matt Mullenweg ( the developer and creative force behind WordPress explaining the differences between the dot[.]com & the dot[.]org, and it may help shed some light on any confusion concerning the two . )

Matt Mullenweg on WordPress

Matt Mullenweg Explains WP.ORG & .COM

In conclusion , I do believe that quality literary and creative content can exist on the same blog / site – it simply depends on the user and how well they can manage to combine the two subject matters . One doesnt have to write a thesis on social media icons ( if that’s what you want to put out there ) ; they simply have to be able to reach out and attract all type of users : the Literary as well as the Creative .

Can Design and Content be combined intelligently and in good taste to satisfy both type of users?
Yes , it most certainly can ! Now, go write your content and feature those graphics !




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  1. Lauren says:

    @Tan,
    The main menu to navigate this blog is right at the top- can't miss it. And the blog posts are in the main column of the blog (like every other blog) with their titles in large type, & a post summary.

    Then the blog has a sidebar (like almost every other blog) which features her additional content such as her flickr photostream, tweet stream, recent comments, links etc. Again, nothing out of the ordinary.

    A two column fixed width layout…. posts in one, additional links in smaller content along with a top navigational bar.

    And though

    And this blog is called DeZign ***Diva*** – feminine would be absolutely appropriate and expected. Still there is nothing overtly feminine about it. Just the color scheme and the chair rss icon, which I think is a unique and super touch. There isn't a dash of pink, a flower or a heart to be seen.

    Besides, you say it has a "girlish" theme as if it were a bad thing. (actually you say typical girlish– get to that later) Am I to count "masculine" as a negative trait as well then when I visit a blog with a theme that is such? There are far more blogs that I could say are "typical boyish" and they are quite popular and praised!

    Which brings me back to typical girlish? I would like to know what about this theme is typical girlish? As a matter of fact, though this theme is available for others to use freely in WP and Blogger blogs, I have never seen one with this look so it would be not typical. As a matter of fact, the majority of others using this theme that I know are run by men…. wonder how so many men could choose a typical girlish theme.

    And still, the style switcher as she mentioned is there for you to change as you like. A feature making this blog extremely user-friendly, changing the theme is made available by only few websites altogether!

    Now for your last point, the font size, it is at a recommended/standard size, but you cant please them all no matter what you do.

    And my last point is, who asked you to critic her design????


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