A piece written by Business 2 Community's Ashley Taylor Anderson recently piqued my interest. It concerns a divide that all-too-often happens in the world of web marketing. I'm speaking, of course, about the antagonism that frequently rises between web designers and content creators.
I've spent my fair share of time working with web designers. For the most part, those relationships have been both civil and professional. We both want the same thing, after all; we both want to create awesome (and awesome-looking) content that gets the reader excited and interested.
Anderson says as much in her piece.
"Marketers care about what's being communicated to clients and prospects," she writes. "Designers care about making content look great and easy to navigate. Both groups of people care deeply about the end user experience. So why do big scary chasms form between us when we're trying to achieve the same goals?"
Her answer is pretty extensive, but it basically boils down to two things: poor planning and poor communication. Too often, designers and content creators end up working separately from one another, each with their own idea of how the end product should look. Too often, marketing hosts meetings concerning changes in the product without consulting the designer.
Too often, communication breaks down between two professions which should for all intents and purposes be working in tandem.
See, here's the thing about digital content - something I've come to understand in my time as a writer. Good content is nothing without a well-designed website backing it up. At the same time, it doesn't matter how great a site looks if the content is pure garbage.
In other words, web designers cannot work effectively without content creators, nor can content creators function without web designers. Unifying your website's design with its content strategy is the key here. And in order to do that, you need to make sure the designers and content creators on your team can play nice together.
I find it kind of shocking how many people manage to overlook that.
"Ironically, content--the heart of a website--isn't usually coherently designed or managed," writes Peach Pit's Ann Rockley and Charles Cooper. "It's typically driven by groups saying, "We need content that talks about this, or covers that," rather than by the groups that drive the customer experience. Content is measured by how well it's written, not by how well it conveys the right message or elicits the right response. Content is handcrafted to get the message right as opposed to getting the correct content to the right customer in the right context. Disparate groups across the organization create their own content in isolation, resulting in a disjointed customer experience."
It's imperative, then, that your business focuses everything - content creation, marketing, and web design - on delivering its core message. If you don't foster communication between departments, then you're going to wind up with a poor customer experience at best, and a catastrophe at worst.
"It's important to remember that marketers and designers are on the same side. We bring different skills to the table and have our own areas of expertise," says Anderson. "Together, we can create truly amazing content and have fun while doing it. Divided, we create mediocre content and have a miserable time. Let's agree to bridge the divide and start working together collaboratively and considerately."