A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Design and Content Marketing: How Design Matters

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

A recent piece on Fast Company’s website discusses whether Parallax design really is “all that and a bag of chips,” as some design and web gurus claim.

If you’re not familiar with parallax design take a look at our post about its perils and potential, and take a look at this great example site or the granddaddy of the genre, the New York Times Snow Fall article.

Parallax design sites have gotten a lot of attention since they first came into wider use. And as the examples above show, parallax design can be incredibly effective way of storytelling. Does that mean we’re on the brink of a whole new model of presentation? Will everything we look be built this way? Probably not. What’s important is figuring out whether it might work for your story.

While this new design has a few things going for it – novelty for one, and fun – it’s really only suited to certain kinds of storytelling.

And you’re probably not telling the same kind of linear story that these site are telling. In fact, your content marketing-focused website is probably doing the opposite: it’s probably aimed at delivering different experiences to different audience segments without making it difficult for any audience segment to find what is most of interest to them. Read, non-linear.

The lesson for content marketers: design cannot drive the marketing bus. That doesn’t mean design isn’t important. Design is a key differentiator and can mean the difference between your content being consumed and shared and it being ignored. But design should not be the reason you make marketing decisions. (Neither should technology, another mistake we see frequently.) Marketing decisions should be based on marketing needs and those needs should determine whether the latest, coolest design concept is a good fit for you. 

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