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My name is Jarod, and I'm a web designer. Recently I started discovering that UX might most likely be my strongest field of interest since I'm most intrigued by how website visitors make buying decisions.

I was wondering though, and this has always been a question for almost a year now: whose job is it to develop the content, how is it developed, and (most importantly) how is it shaped into the wireframing process?

I always wanted to know this mainly because, if you're familiar with the "content is king" saying and its impact on web design, you may be aware that for a long time people previously used Lorem Ipsum as filler-content in their mockups. Some web designers still do it, but my biggest question of this all is how is the actual content developed into the wireframing process? I too would like to be able to design a website with real content some day.

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A simple sitemap and some basic information architecture comes in handy before you start / during your wireframing proces. Together with your client you can write down this simple sitemap. Giving you both a basic idea of the actual content/copy of the website.

It also really depends on what kind of website you are working on. For example, a website such as StackExchange or Wikipedia is 99% user generated content. When wireframing such a website, there is no need to include "actual" content. More important is to include the basic interaction elements such as navigation titles, a submit button labeled as "Post topic" or a title showing "Top questions" which is understandable for the person reviewing your wireframes. A button "Lorem ipsum" doesn't really tells you what it does.

When you are ready to start the actual design, it's better to insert real copy instead of Lorem Ipsum. Since lorem ipsum is just a placeholder and doesn't really gives you an idea how to page looks with the final copy. E.g. using the title "Lorem ipsum" is a short phrase while "How is the content developed for the wireframe" is much longer and may not fit well in your design.

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Interaction design? What's that? I looked it up and found a slideshow talking about the difference between a wireframe and an interaction design (well, it said 'IDD' instead of the actual phrase), but I couldn't make out the differences. –  Jarod Billingslea Aug 27 '13 at 17:16
    
Interaction design is a loose term. It usually refers to designing the actual interactions that happen in the interface. Wireframes are typically bad at interaction design, as they tend to be static, rather than interactive. (Jeroenem may have meant to use the term 'information architecture') –  DA01 Aug 27 '13 at 17:53
    
@DA01 Okay I understand now. But Jeroenem mentions that a sitemap and a IA (interaction design) comes before the wireframing. I'm not sure if he means that only the sitemap needs to be done before the wireframing or not (just take out the word 'interaction design' and read his reply again — you'll see what I mean). But if that's the case, then suppose the content wasn't created by users, and instead was influenced by them. And I needed content for a lawyer website. I'd know how to make the sitemap, but how would I go about brainstorming the content sections for each page of the site? –  Jarod Billingslea Aug 27 '13 at 20:19
    
Oh I forgot to mention that I wanted to eventually use actual content in the visual design too. –  Jarod Billingslea Aug 27 '13 at 20:22
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Information Architecture and Interaction Design are two different things. I think Jeroenem meant to refer to Information Architecture. And while it's nice to have IA 'done' before wireframing, that's a rarity. Usually they influence each other greatly. –  DA01 Aug 27 '13 at 20:29
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This depends on what is available to you. I find if I am wireframing a modification to an existing page, that it is best to get production data so I can see how the new design fits with what my users are actually creating.

If you are designing something new and have no user content that is similar to what you need, then it is up to the UX designer understanding of the users to create content. This can either be done through the designers understanding of the user or a better method is to talk to the client to see what kind of content they will use.

As a side note on Lorem Ipsum, this is article on Apple's design practices talks about the importance of pixel perfect mockups. It recommends against Lorem Ipsum as it doesn't accurately show what the final result will look like.

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But pixel perfect mockups are not the same as wireframes, nor serve the same purpose. I think the point is valid...that content HAS to be a conscious part of the design process. And if a particular team is using high fidelity mock-ups, then yes, real content should be a part of that. But wireframes should be a lot looser than that and typically come along earlier in the process. And unless the UX team is comfortable writing content, it's important to communicate that those early wireframes are NOT final content. –  DA01 Aug 27 '13 at 17:51
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Content is ideally made by content experts. That should be a combination of business stakeholders/subject matter experts, UX, and copywriters/techwriters (and marketing, when applicable).

As for wireframing, IMHO, wireframes are meant to be napkin sketches, not content repositories. Typically then end up being something in-between, so I tend to try and make functional content accurate (field labels, page titles, etc.) but also note that all other content is 'subject to review and modification' so that everyone doesn't try using the wireframes as the official content documentation.

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So you're saying that the content will change? Well I can understand. But what about the copy that goes into the final production? Like the visual designs I see on www.dribbble.com. There content is always on the design and even the actual website with the same structural placements. –  Jarod Billingslea Aug 27 '13 at 20:25
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