What is more important the Design or the Content?

Yesterday it was in a meeting with Journalists, Directors, Lawyers and other personalities that tend to give opinions and that in reality understand little of Technology of the Information.
The Subject on the agenda it was the Design used in the site of a company.

This company already maintains your site in the air since 1997, practically I begin it of the commercial use of Internet in Brazil.

I Dialogue it was more or less like this it:

The Other ones:
– Our site needs to be reformulated. He is Ugly!

– From the creation of the site the priority was your content and today we are recognized by that. I harmonize that arrived the hour of improving the Design. I suggest an internal Workshop for us to take advantage of the several users’ of the site suggestions!

And the chat Continued for several hours. With you vary opinions and until the moment without a definitive result.

I left the Meeting and I was thinking about the Ugly ” term “, that doesn’t leave the head. A site that already received several national and international prizes and for the new direction of the company it is considered archaic, difficult to navigate? a site that receives visits of more than 50 countries in one month, more than 1500 visits day, without any popularization that not the internet, and for the company it is ” Ugly “.

I work with computer science since my 14 years of age and I remembered Marcos Vinícius, a friend of the time in that developed programs of computers for you conspire like D8000 of Dismac, using Linguagem Basic, recording data in Ribbon and already winning some money with computer science.

Marcos arrived a bothered day and it let off steam:
– Cavalcante, several days I passed developing a control of stock of goods for a Drugstore and finally I presented the program ready, all functional, making everything that was requested by the owner of the drugstore.
After introducing everything that the program did, I received the following comment:
– Really this perfect one, more the program is very ” Ugly “!
My friend was razed, after a lot of effort, of using what he found to be all your capacity, that word that got right as a Bomb came: Ugly “!.

I decided to try to help:

We passed you vary hours making modifications in the program, only in the Layout.
We had the idea of placing a rotative banner with the name of the Drugstore being shown soon in I begin him/it, the logo also had only prominence, and other modifications of Layout. We didn’t have to move in operational of the program.

The other day Marcos returned the Drugstore and it presented the new Program, we could call version Plus.

It was a marvel!
The Owner of the Drugstore called your employees to see the program.
He didn’t stop commenting Banner that was rotating with the name of the Drugstore in the part from the screen.
All adored the work. Everything Perfect!

At this time we ended: ” The Layout wins the Content “!

” You will never get to please all, always have as objective your satisfaction in seeing that you get with patience to overcome all the obstacles that appear “.

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Mark A. Patterson

It is both. Superb design without easily accessible and worthwhile content is creative but not meaningful. Valuable content that is poorly presented and difficult to navigate is wasted effort.

Donna L. Quesinberry

I agree with Mark – you require both – nothing worse than excellent content and rotten presentation. When it comes to serious things like hotlinks to called out information where that data isn’t “pretty” (many government websites aren’t very pretty), you have to make an end user judgment call. Relatively “okay” information presented “pretty and end user savvy” or the “most current information” presented in “ugly base codex style.”

Tough calls~D.

Geoff Hunt

Both have a place, but well designed content should always trump well designed graphics.

At the minimum, the graphical design needs to look professional so visitors feel that they can trust the information on the page and have confidence to believe what’s on the site.

Way-too-often, I find top decision makers more interested in how it looks, rather than how it works. They’ll spend 30 minutes deciding on a shade of colour, but only 1-2 minutes looking over the entire site map.

The graphic designer gets all the praise. The usability expert is the un-sung hero.

As much as possible, I avoid showing the design until the content gets it’s due diligence.

After all, search engines don’t rank good looks (yet).

Allen Sheaprd

To pick one – its content.

While “Myth Busters” proved you can polish a, droppings, so what? A pretty, a spiffy, lots of light turd is still a turd.

People will read good information even in instruction manuals. No pretty pictures. No color type. One font style.

Yes both are important, but content is what people will link to and forward.

Michael Rautio

I am a content guy, but I think you absolutely need both. Without an appealing and easy to use and understand interface, your users will just navigate away from your site.

Allen Sheaprd

Extra credit – how does one recognize good content?

Facts ?

Usability ?

Examples of user ? (one of my favorite and how I often find things )

Lots of links embeded in the document ? (that is the problem HTML solved almost 20 years ago back in ’92)