In this post we talk about how combining user centred design with strategic copy is the most effective way to create a website and can be an exciting opportunity for collaboration.
Here in our remote offices at Ardea Creative we’ve found out why copywriters and web designers need to be involved in from start to finish in website creation. Through our own collaboration between our two co-founders – Olivia, our designer and Jasmine, our copywriter – we’ve got clear on our systems and why we need each other. This blog post is written for those who are thinking about combining their skills in this way, businesses/ entrepeneurs considering investing in web design or anyone curious about what we’ve been working towards these past few years of business partnership!
Web design is a multifaceted process
Creating a website can be complex. We have to think about the goals / outcomes of all the different pages, the target audience, how to create a compelling message, an effective site-map that prioritises the user journey and tie it all together with functional design that also showcases the client’s unique brand personality.
From our experience working together as a copywriter and web designer, both areas of expertise are essential to ensure that the target audience end up with a smoother, more fulfilling experience of using a website than they would do if one of us were absent from the project. We combine our different skill sets to make sure the visual components and written words work seamlessly together to help people move through the site and understand what actions they can take.
Why do Copywriters and Web Designers need to work together?
Copywriters and web designers need each other involved in the process from start to finish because they each have a unique perspective on presenting and clarifying the message a business needs to get across. The copywriter will spot certain details the designer could easily miss and vice versa as both provide essential context to the work of the other.
In brief, copywriters and designers working together to build websites means better:
- Processes and systems
- Project management
- Final outcome
Sure, you can follow a cookie cutter copywriting template and hand that over to a designer but honestly, it can make the whole process clunky, messy and less efficient in the long run.
The copy is the core message of the website, it communicates essential information to the website owner’s community or prospective clients. Designers can help to give instructions on an effective way to present that message within a certain container, whilst the copywriter chooses what words best fit.
Below you can see an example sitemap, which is created near the beginning of a project to form the ‘architecture’ of the site. After mapping out the user journey, based on audience-focused research we define how the user will navigate through the pages. Creating a sitemap is a collaborative process with clients, combining our research and expertise with their goals to create an experience that works well for the user and the client.
Given that the copywriting creates a narrative to the whole story of a website, it makes sense that the copywriter would be involved in this beginning phase of mapping out that journey alongside the web designer who has all the logistics, strategy, design and backend know-how.
You may also be familiar with website wireframes, which serve as a visual guide to represent the skeletal framework of each web page. As a copywriter, writing on a blank page in a Word Document is a totally different experience to writing with a wireframe which helps you to see the user journey through a website and how the text will be displayed.
It’s all about perspective
If I am standing up in a red ball gown, someone viewing my image from above would see a very different picture and details to someone looking side on. When a copywriter and designer are both involved in the research stage, user journey, site mapping and wireframe development they can each contribute valuable insights looking in from different points. This is all before even one word of the strategic copywriting for web is written!
Once the copywriter does come to write the words, everything makes a lot more sense as they understand exactly what they’re writing to fit. The final process involves seeing the copy in an online review before the site is published so that the copywriter can spot any last edits on the final website with design completed. As we said, words look completely different depending on their formatting so copywriters need to be able to do one last check of the chosen words once displayed by the designer.
This kind of web building that is created from the ground up does the client justice. We believe if a job is worth doing it’s worth paying attention to the details! We’ve been slowly but surely getting experience under our belt, developing our own project management processes and working on behind the scenes professional developlement to ensure we can continue to confidently offer this kind of service.
To find out more about our web design packages & pricing click here.
We have options for full web design & copywriting. Or if you’d like to write the copy yourself you can opt for the web design package where our copywriter will be on hand for wireframe input, editing and support so you still have that vital copywriting strategy input but are free to tap into your own creativity for the writing.
Photography by Saya Rose Media