Message-Driven Web Design: How To Connect Content And Design

November 19, 2012 | Branding, Web Design

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In my last post, I asked: Which Comes First: Web Site Design Or Content? In this post I wanted to use a case study to show some examples of how we’ve developed better web sites by working on content and design together.

Relax America came to Visible Logic looking for a web site that would be the consumer-focused online presence for their new service. Relax America is a professional services network that gives members one place to find all the professional services you need in your life. Their proprietary system matches the most appropriate business professional or self-service option to you based on your specific requirements. Much in the same way Google refines your search based on what it knows about you, Relax America grows in usefulness the more times you find services using it’s client matching system.

As you can see, it’s hard to quickly and elegantly describe Relax America using only words. If you haven’t yet, check out the site before you keep reading.

Our goal was to explain how Relax America works, and its benefits. And we weren’t going to have much impact if we relied just on running text and a frame of web site design.

We set out to answer some key questions and showcase the benefits of the service.

Explaining how it works

We called one page “How it Works” and below is the primary graphic. It’s not exactly a 1-2-3 step process, but the three boxes represent the core steps in how the service works. The first box uses hand-drawn icons to quickly show that the service finds professional based on your personal criteria. The second box represents the magic of the matching system using their brand icon as a symbol. And the third box highlights how you will be offered at least one well-matched service provider from a group of possible targets.

How it Works graphic

The “Find Solutions” page uses a building/animating graphic (below) to show how modular and complete the service is. The text changes along with the highlighted photo as you see how Relax America can help you across a wide variety of interconnected services.

Relax America, How it works

I wrote previously about Relax America and used it as an example of how to make a consumer brand from internal brand elements. With these two examples, you can see how we were able to create a powerful message by combining content and design; and you can see how these also build the brand identity.

Words, pictures, design, branding

Both of these are examples of how you can connect your words, imagery, design and branding elements to most effectively promote a message. In this case, we worked with the client to help develop this content that works intimately with the design. They didn’t come to us with any written content. Together we figured out what messages we needed to convey and then we took the lead on determining whether that message came through as images, animation, running text, etc.

Had they chosen to work with a designer that just takes finished content and pours it into text buckets, the final web design would not be as effective.

What are some other web sites you like that effectively show this connection between content and design?

3 comments

  1. longbeachwebdesign | March 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    definitely worked with the client to help develop this content that works intimately with the design. They didn’t come to us with any written content. Together we figured out what messages we needed to convey is really important. so looking forward to that very much.

  2. Web Designer | April 17, 2013 at 7:39 am

    I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Unlike additional blogs, I have read which are not that good. I also found your posts very interesting.

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