Indianapolis Web Content Management

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Content Form and Function; A little back story

Posted 9:58 AM by

Louis Sullivan | Balancing Form and Function

The theme of this blog is based primarily on the 100+ year old phrase "Form (ever) follows function." The origin of the phrase dates back to Louis Sullivan's 1896 article "The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered." The great American architect believed that a building's shape should be primarily based on its intended function. The credo was taken to imply that decorative elements were superfluous in modern buildings. However, Sullivan himself neither thought nor designed along such dogmatic lines during the peak of his career. Indeed, while his buildings could be spare and crisp in their principal masses, he often punctuated their plain surfaces with eruptions of lush Art Nouveau and Celtic Revival decorations.

While those principles made sense for much of the last century for buildings and objects alike, times have changed a little. Digital technology provides us with many more functions to be squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces. As a designer and content architect, I too strive to first consider the "function" a website or page before giving in to my more creative desires. After all, creative embellishments are primarily subjective.

To be an effective web designer is to hold content form and function in relative balance. However, we must first consider the purpose of the content we're authoring. Only once we're confident that we understand it's purpose, are we free to make it look better.




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10+ Things to Consider When Turning Text Into an Attractive Web Page

Posted 6:41 PM by

Web Page Design and Layout TechniquesI have to say, I sympathize with anyone tasked with taking some content, putting on a web page and having it look good. I've been doing this for a very long time so you might call it natural but to the layperson, a blank page can be an intimidating place. No matter how good your site's theme looks, you can really lose design points if you drop the ball on your page content.

I've been on the hunt for good online resources for content managers that aren't designers by trade or otherwise. It has not been easy. Every resource I've found appeals to web professionals. As they say, "if you want something done right..."

A common scenario:

Your boss just handed you a Word document containing a couple of boring paragraphs and nothing else. You have now been tasked with making this content look good. Here is a list of things to consider:

  1. Techniques of writing for the Web are used: headings, bullet points, short sentences in short paragraphs, use of white space, etc.
  2. Fonts, font sizes, and font colors are consistently used
  3. Content provides meaningful, useful information
  4. Content is organized in a consistent manner
  5. Information is easy to find (minimal clicks)
  6. Content does not include outdated material
  7. Content is free of typographical and grammatical errors
  8. Avoids the use of "Click here" when writing text for hyperlinks
  9. If standard link colors are not used, hyperlinks use a consistent set of colors to indicate visited/nonvisited status
  10. If graphics and/or media is used to convey meaning, the alternate text equivalent of the content is provided (accessibility)

Closing tip: Try to look at your text as block elements rather than just text. This will help you organize your text content as visual blocks and see how these blocks interact/relate to other elements such as images, video, content boxes, etc.




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