Web design has changed in the past couple of years. A lot.
It used to be that we created a pretty container and then put our client's text and pictures in that container. If we didn't have their content before we started building the site, it didn't matter since the website was just a vessel for whatever content the client provided. If the site REALLY needed to be viewed on a mobile device, we could create an app to display the most important parts. Responsive web design has changed all that.
Now, with the increasing use of mobile devices for accessing the web and the rising importance of content over visual treatment, our workflows have changed dramatically. Where once we could create space where content would be added, now we need to see and interpret that content BEFORE we create visual layouts. Being able to understand what's really important in a client's message and make sure it's front and centre plays a huge role in creating the ultimate layout for various devices; on a mobile phone, we generally strip away anything that is not vitally important, recognizing that the smaller amount of screen real estate means that there isn't room for fluff, i.e. anything that isn't directly connected in helping the visitor move forward to the next step in the sales cycle. On a desktop computer, the larger screen provides more space that can be devoted to eye candy. But without solid knowledge of the content to be displayed, a web designer won't be able to make the decisions that impact on the eventual layout.
Thus, poloDesign requires that all content needs to be created prior to the finalizing of layouts and visual designs. What does this mean for our clients? In a nutshell, it means that before we really get into the nitty-gritty of a web project, we'll need to know what content we're dealing with.
Until now, a website's content has often been the stumbling block to getting a site launched. Every business owner is busy, really busy, selling their products or services, supervising staff, ordering stock, etc., etc., etc. Spending time writing about the business is not usually high on the priority list, and we've seen many projects languish in a half-finished state because the business owner just didn't have the time or confidence to create compelling descriptions of what they do. On top of that, very often the business owner has difficulty visualizing the content without seeing how the website will look. Finally, writing just may not be the business owner's strong suit. And yet, the business owner is the one person who knows their business best.
So how do we deal with this new dilemma of needing the content before we can design but the client is too busy or needs to see the design in order to be inspired to write the content? Simple. We take over that part of the job. We review all existing marketing materials and conduct interviews with the client to understand the business and how it needs to be portrayed. We create audience profiles to understand the business' prime targets and write the content to explain how the business can satisfy their needs. Through an understanding of how and why people buy from a particular business we create content that moves the site visitor through the sales cycle right up to the point where they say 'Yes! Where do I pay?' And by creating the text ourselves, we are able to research and incorporate search engine keywords and build the content around the terms that people are already using.
So what about the visual 'eye candy', the pictures that say a thousand words? Images need to reassure the buyer that they are spending their money on something worthwhile which satisfies their needs, whether that's a weight loss product or a AAA Angus steak. A bad product photo will never instill confidence in a potential buyer. Creating compelling product photography is a fine art and not something that can be captured with a point-and-shoot camera or a cell phone. That's why we partner with experienced local photographers with a strong background in telling the story of your product or portraying your service in a way that is easy to understand. People buy what they can see and make sense of, and good photography is a huge factor in creating customer confidence.