UX design process best practices

It’s content strategy gone awry right from the start. Forswearing the use of Lorem Ipsum wouldn’t have helped, won’t help now. It’s like saying you’re a bad designer, use less bold text, don’t use italics in every other paragraph. True enough, but that’s not all that it takes to get things back on track. Usually, we prefer the real thing, wine without sulfur based preservatives, real butter, not margarine, and so we’d like our layouts.

Authorities in our business will tell in no uncertain terms that Lorem Ipsum is that huge, huge no no to forswear forever. Not so fast, I’d say, there are some redeeming factors in favor of greeking text, as its use is merely the symptom of a worse problem to take into consideration.

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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. Even if your less into design and more into content strategy you may find some redeeming value with, wait for it, dummy copy, no less.

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 that’s unhappy though he or her can’t quite put.

Layouts and designs to be filled with real words

Chances are there wasn’t collaboration, communication, and checkpoints, there wasn’t a process agreed upon or specified with the granularity required. It’s content strategy gone awry right from the start. Forswearing the use of Lorem Ipsum wouldn’t have helped, won’t help now. It’s like saying you’re a bad designer, use less bold text, don’t use italics in every other paragraph. True enough, but that’s not all that it takes to get things back on track.

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.

Winston Churchill

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 consequences and look much different than expected.

The quantum mechanics of light

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.

There’s lot of hate out there for a text that amounts to little more than garbled words in an old language. The villagers are out there with a vengeance to get that Frankenstein, wielding torches and pitchforks, wanting to tar and feather it at the least, running it out of town in shame that design can’t be tested without real content.

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Commercial publishing platforms and content management systems ensure that you can show different text, different data using the same template.