Pianoforte solicitude so decisively unpleasing

It’s unreal, uncanny, makes you wonder if something is wrong, it seems to seek your attention for all the wrong reasons. Usually, we prefer the real thing, wine without sulfur based preservatives, real butter, not margarine, and so we’d like our layouts and designs to be filled with real words, with thoughts that count, information that has value.

You begin with a text, you sculpt information, you chisel away what’s not needed, you come to the point, make things clear, add value, you’re a content person, you like words. Design is no afterthought, far from it, but it comes in a deserved second. Anyway, you still use Lorem Ipsum and rightly so, as it will always have a place in the web workers toolbox, as things happen, not always the way you like it, not always in the preferred order. 

The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level.

Jim Morrison

You begin with a text, you sculpt information, you chisel away what’s not needed, you come to the point, make things clear, add value, you’re a content person, you like words. Design is no afterthought, far from it, but it comes in a deserved second. Anyway, you still use Lorem Ipsum and rightly so, as it will always have a place in the web workers toolbox, as things happen, not always the way you like it, not always in the preferred order. 

uranus-spa-blog-post-1-opt

You made all the required mock ups for commissioned layout, got all the approvals, built a tested code base or had them built, you decided on a content management system, got a license for it or adapted open source software for your client’s needs. Then the question arises: where’s the content? Not there yet? That’s not so bad, there’s dummy copy to the rescue. But worse, what if the fish doesn’t fit in the can.

Try telling a client to ignore draft copy however.

That’s not so bad, there’s dummy copy to the rescue. But worse, what if the fish doesn’t fit in the can, the foot’s to big for the boot? Or to small? To short sentences, to many headings, images too large for the proposed design, or too small, or they fit in but it looks iffy for reasons the folks in the meeting can’t quite tell right now, but they’re unhappy, somehow. A client that’s unhappy for a reason is a problem, a client though.

Using dummy content or fake information in the Web design process can result in products with unrealistic assumptions and potentially serious design flaws. A seemingly elegant design can quickly begin to bloat with unexpected content or break under the weight of actual activity. Fake data can ensure a nice looking layout but it doesn’t reflect what a living, breathing application must endure. Real data does.

Websites in professional use templating systems. Commercial publishing platforms and content management systems ensure that you can show different text, different data using the same template. When it’s about controlling hundreds of articles, product pages for web shops, or user profiles in social networks, all of them potentially with different sizes, formats, rules for differing elements things can break, designs agreed upon can have unintended.

What kills me here is that we’re talking about creating.

No typography, no colors, no layout, no styles, all those things that convey the important signals that go beyond the mere textual, hierarchies of information, weight, emphasis, oblique stresses, priorities, all those subtle cues that also have visual and emotional appeal to the reader. Rigid proponents of content strategy may shun the use of dummy copy.

If that’s what you think how bout the other way around? How can you evaluate content without design? Rigid proponents of content strategy may shun the use of dummy copy but then designers might want to ask them to provide style sheets with the copy decks they supply.No typography, no colors, no layout, no styles, all those things that convey the important signals that go beyond the mere textual, hierarchies of information, weight, emphasis, oblique stresses.

Typographers of yore didn’t come up with the concept of dummy copy because people thought that content is inconsequential window dressing, only there to be used by designers who can’t be bothered to read. Lorem Ipsum is needed because words matter, a lot. Just fill up a page with draft copy about the client’s business and they will actually read it and comment on it. They will be drawn to it, fiercely.

This is quite a problem to solve, but just doing without greeking text won’t fix it. Using test items of real content and data in designs will help, but there’s no guarantee that every oddity will be found and corrected. Do you want to be sure? Then a prototype or beta site with real content published from the real CMS is needed—but you’re not going that far until you go through an initial design cycle.

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