Goodbye Lorem Ipsum

Posted: Tuesday 15th November 2011 in eCommerce Technology, Owned and earned media, Thought Leadership.

Replace placeholder content early on to avoid problems later

With much of the early specification work on a new web site being so heavily content-orientated, isn’t it ironic that the basic shell is frequently filled with temporary images and text?

The information architecture is organised, wireframes are produced, designs generated and prototypes developed. So why not add some genuine text and imagery?

Rebranding, updating messaging or a complete marketing revamp: all of it’s time-consuming and often involves multiple stakeholders, each with different opinions and agendas. So stripping the project back to its basics – without content – is often seen as an easy way to remove discussion points. But, too often, that’s also a great way of building up problems that will cause delays further along the line.

Adding the final content early in the project not only ensures it’s fit for purpose, but also makes it easier for decision-makers to see the web site as it will finally appear; they don’t have to perform mental gymnastics to ‘get it’.

With this in mind, I recommend the following plan to keep your content on track:

  • Maintain a site content plan – outline a summary for each page, fleshing it out as the site’s blueprint evolves.
  • Co-ordinate stakeholders –identify content providers and a schedule for production and approval. Ensuring buy-in to a structured plan makes it more likely the project will succeed.
  • Compile a content inventory – linking your content plan to an inventory (copy, images, video etc) allows you to quickly see what you’ve got and what’s still to come in.

So, next time you see ‘Lorem ipsum’ in a design or wireframe ask yourself if you’re really doing all you can to keep its presence short lived.

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