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Woolworths appoints autistic IT consultants

Authorities in our business will tell in no uncertain terms that Lorem Ipsum is that huge, huge no no to forswear forever. Not so fast, I’d say, there are some redeeming factors in favor of greeking text, as its use is merely the symptom of a worse problem to take into consideration. You begin with a text, you sculpt information, you chisel away what’s not needed, you come to the point, make things clear, add value, you’re a content person, you like words.

Anyway, you still use Lorem Ipsum and rightly so, as it will always have a place in the web workers toolbox, as things happen, not always the way you like it, not always in the preferred order. Even if your less into design and more into content strategy you may find some redeeming value with, wait for it, dummy copy, no less. Consider this: 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.

Presentation software like keynote or pages

Then the question arises: where’s the content? Not there yet? That’s not so bad, there’s dummy copy to the rescue. But worse, what if the fish doesn’t fit in the can, the foot’s to big for the boot? Or to small? To short sentences, to many headings, images too large for the proposed design, or too small, or they fit in but it looks iffy for reasons the folks in the meeting can’t quite tell right now, but they’re unhappy, somehow.

I’ve heard the argument that “lorem ipsum” is effective in wireframing or design because it helps people focus on the actual layout, or color scheme, or whatever. What kills me here is that we’re talking about creating a user experience that will (whether we like it or not) be DRIVEN by words.

Winston Churchill

A client that’s unhappy for a reason is a problem, a client that’s unhappy though he or her can’t quite put a finger on it is worse. Chances are there wasn’t collaboration, communication, and checkpoints, there wasn’t a process agreed upon or specified with the granularity required. It’s content strategy gone awry right from the start. 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. True enough, but that’s not all that it takes to get things back on track.

There’s lot of hate out there for a text that amounts to little more than garbled words in an old language. The villagers are out there with a vengeance to get that Frankenstein, wielding torches and pitchforks, wanting to tar and feather it at the least, running it out of town in shame of the villagers, holds steadfastly to the notion that design can’t be tested.

Typographers of yore didn’t come up with the concept of dummy copy because people thought that content is inconsequential window dressing, only there to be used by designers who can’t be bothered to read. Lorem Ipsum is needed because words matter, a lot. Just fill up a page with draft copy about the client’s business and they will actually read it and comment on it. They will be drawn to it, fiercely. Do it the wrong way and draft copy can derail your design review.

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