Sep '11 - Jan '13
I caught a tweet linking to an article on offthemall.org today and because of my recent post I thought I'd share and critique: Ask the Jury: Which Architects Have the Best Web Sites?
Personally, I think the jury got it all wrong ... well mostly. I liked what Enoch Sears had to say about knowing and targeting your audience, but I can't say I'm a huge fan of Modative's site, there is potential there, but they missed it on so many levels. You know you're in for a treat when they start off with this line, "Welcome to the easy-to-use Modative website." You shouldn't really have to convince your clients that your site is easy-to-use, it just should be (period).
Rachoff Vella hits a nerve with the splash page that leaves you wondering if you are supposed to do anything ... you are. Anytime you see a splash page, hit the back button. If you do happen to click through, the all-caps and the completely different look for the projects page is enough to make me wonder if the juror even looked around for a good site or just clicked on any random site Google gave him. The second example, Oroszvary Architects, confirms the juror thought the task was a complete waste of time. The copyright says 2009 and the site is still unfinished for crying out loud. In case you're wondering, don't go live until your site is ready.
Diamond+Schmitt have one of the better looking sites but they didn't get the memo on good website design. First of all, never use sounds or music. If you absolutely have to have the sound (and believe me, you don't), leave it as an option to turn ON, not the other way around. Secondly, just because you can, doesn't mean you should. The flash animation and such is impressive but it get's in the way of the content and navigation. I spend more time looking at the orange lines and the 'loading circle' than I do looking at the projects. Finally, build your website to be viewed at multiple resolutions without changing the experience. There are plenty of resources to find out what resolutions are common among web users; size images and your site so that on my 1680x1050 display I don't get sea-sick when I move my mouse and the background image reacts (again, just because you can do that with flash, doesn't mean you should).
The only respectable website in the bunch is Build LLC's site but they could fix a few things:
Additionally, I think Build do a great job with their firm's online presence; The site is simple, navigable, straightforward and personal. Plus, I love their blog and the firm's willingness to share information about their techniques and process; it's something I wish all architects would aspire to. Without looking around, if I had to pick my favorite firm website, I'd go with Build ... and I'm not just saying this because I show up in a blog post from awhile back.
Commentary on looking for work, portfolio and resume design, networking, social media and the job search, interviews, dealing with rejection and the joy of landing a job.