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How to make a headline that draws attention

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:

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Try telling a client to ignore draft copy however, and you’re up to something you can’t win. Whenever draft copy comes up in a meeting confused questions about it ensue. Asking the client to pay no attention Lorem Ipsum isn’t hard as it doesn’t make sense in the first place, that will limit any initial interest soon enough. At worst the discussion is at least working towards the final goal of your site where questions about lorem ipsum don’t.

If the copy becomes distracting in the design then you are doing something wrong or they are discussing copy changes. It might be a bit annoying but you could tell them that that discussion would be best suited for another time. Lorem Ipsum actually is usefull in the design stage as it focuses our attention on places where the content is a dynamic block coming from the CMS (unlike static content elements that will always stay the same.)

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Blocks of Lorem Ipsum with a character count range provide a obvious reminder to check and re-check that the design and the content model match up. 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. 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 designs agreed upon can have unintended consequences and look much different.

Even as the global economy shows signs of slowing down, ambitious construction projects continue apace. Scaffolding is going up (and coming down) on new museums, residential skyscrapers, schools, and office towersaround the world. How to separate the good from the great?

As Mark Watney learned on Mars, potatoes might be good survival food. They’ve got decent amounts of protein, some vitamins and other nutrients. They’re also rich in carbohydrates (sugars and starches). You couldn’t survive on potatoes alone. They could, however, help to keep you from starvation. 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.

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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. Or maybe not. How about this: build in appropriate intersections and checkpoints between design and content. Accept that it’s sometimes okay to focus just on the content or just on the design.

If that’s what you think how bout the other way around? How can you evaluate content without design? 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 but then designers might want to ask them to provide style sheets with the copy decks they supply that are in tune with the design direction they require.

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