What's This Gibberish on My Website?

Web designers have all kinds of nifty little tricks they use in website development which help not only themselves but their clients as well. Just one of these tricks is the use of a little something called “Lorem Ipsum” and since most of my clients don’t have a clue what this is, I thought I’d write a short blog post on it to help them learn.

When a designer builds a web site, some of us need to or want to see what the pages will look like with text content on the pages so that we can work accordingly. It’s just so much more helpful to see words on a page than it is a blank page and more often than not we need to see this before we input the real text that will be displayed the page when the site is done.

What is LOREM IPSUM?

Dictionary.com defines Lorem Ipsum as: “A common piece of text used as mock content when testing a given page layout or font.”

If you don’t read Latin, Lorem Ipsum looks like gibberish to most people. Don’t panic, your website hasn’t been hacked — unless of course you previously had a live site with real English words displayed on it and one day you find nothing but Latin gibberish — then I would be concerned! Some folks don’t even realize it’s Latin, but no matter. All you really need to know when it comes to your web site development is that it’s simply a temporary placeholder for text content that will be replaced by your own text content when it’s time for that to happen. You don’t even need to know what the English translation of the words are but of course you could Google it if you really want to know.

How Does Lorem Ipsum Help the Client?

After the Lorem Ipsum (I call it “LI” for short) is on a page or two the client can more easily visualize what their pages will look like with real words on them. They can also determine if the font chosen is one they like or not so they can notify the designer if they want the font changed and they can readily see how the paragraphs display. They might find they want more or less space between them or any number of things are possible if you have a visual to look at. You might be very surprised how different the text you wrote and gave to your designer looks on a website! Yes, really!

Is There an Alternative Option?

Well, you know I never thought about. I never had a reason to look for an alternative, until an interesting link from the Malevolent Design Weblog was shared on one of my designer lists (many thanks to the list member who brought this up!). This turned out to be a bit of fun to break up the morning’s work and it gave me the idea for this blog post, too!  Now when a client asks me “What is this stuff?” I can point them to this page.

You can have a bit of fun yourself and play with their text generator. Just select how many paragraphs you want to use from the drop down menu and then click Generate. Voila! Instant placeholder text (in English!) but with a bit of a twist. Try to guess the tv shows the text is from! Here’s a sample:

Top Cat! The most effectual Top Cat! Who’s intellectual close friends get to call him T.C., providing it’s with dignity. Top Cat! The indisputable leader of the gang. He’s the boss, he’s a pip, he’s the championship. He’s the most tip top, Top Cat.

If you have any fun or interesting alternatives to Lorem Ipsum, I’d love to hear them so please post a comment below with the link. We could really have some fun with this!

One response on “What’s This Gibberish on My Website?

  1. Deb says:

    Hello Afrazz,

    Lorem Ipsum is only used during website development, it’s not intended to be displayed on a live site. Lorem Ipsum is generally auto-generated, not composed or hand-written by the designer. If you want special wording to take the place of Lorem Ipsum on a website in development you can ask your designer to do this, however, it might be a bit costly. I would charge my hourly rates for custom Lorem Ipsum.

    Deb

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