With so many nice looking website templates available, why can’t you purchase a template, pay someone to install it, and paste in your text content, rather than designing a website from scratch? A template design may be appropriate in a very narrow range of circumstances. Before you decide to go with a template, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the template navigation have the same number of links as you have pages of content you want to provide your visitors? If not, are you willing to add filler content or leave out content to match those number of pages? If the answer is no to any of those questions, you’ll need to redesign the template.
- Do you really want to display a large piece of stock photography as the main focus of your homepage?
- Do you want to write or edit content down just to fit the boxes provided by the template?
From the perspective of a user-centered design process aimed at producing a user-friendly website, the idea of using a template puts the last part of the process first. The purpose of a visual design is to present the content in an intuitive and pleasing way. The content should be the focus of the website, not the look and feel. If you start with the visual design, the rest of the process becomes like trying to jam a square peg into a round hole. You will likely break both your content and the visual design of the template in an attempt to force them to fit together.