Website design - it isn’t necessarily your forte and making it a convincing experience for your clients is even more difficult than you originally anticipated.
Architects take pride in their view on design and capability to create design languages for every unique brief - well most of them. So the question to architects: Does your website communicate good design?
For all the conceptual hoo-ha that is discussed when talking about their work (which we really love if we’re honest), we see precious little of these creative ideas being implemented across the websites of architects. It’s your sales pitch, your window on the international high street and you prefer to have your work on a generic display that in itself speaks nothing about architecture and even less about your personal design approach.
Here are 5 disappointing features we found when scoping the online scene of some of our most prominent local designers.
#1 “HOME SWEET, BORING PAGE!”
Maybe you have some rotating carousel images or a striking still render of that one great project you couldn’t top ever since? Although these seem to be industry standard we’d love to see more hand drawings and exploded conceptual views amongst the renders - something to show that you don’t rely on your 3D visual team to justify your designs.
How to bring the heart back to the home page: Put down a personal statement in a bold font that conveys the character of your business. Make use of your more artistic concept sketches in combination with some photoshopped ideas and celebrate the important side of architecture. Show clients what they are really paying for, because ultimately it should be that you’re a great designer and not someone who can’t manage to bring in the big bucks without a 3D visual artist.
#2 “ALL LOGOS LOOK THE SAME OML!!”
So it doesn’t exactly have a lot to do with a website, but it’s the first thing you realise when opening up a few of our top local names: “A simple font and nothing else please” is probably an amalgamation of the director’s notes on the 7 renditions done by a mid-to-senior level employee. Unless of course the director considers their ideas untouchable and all their employees unworthy of having a stab at something a little more creative than the design forced out in 2003.
How to resuscitate your logo: Give all of your employees an opportunity to each tackle the logo design (as part of their workday). Give everyone free reign and be open to radical change - you might be surprised at the end result! Alternatively, you have our contact details as we’re always open and ready for a challenge.
#3 “WHY DO I HAVE TO CLICK ‘BACK’ AGAIN?!”
It’s not great when your clients need to be Jack Nicholson from the Shining to click through your webmaze.
Plainly put - navigating through your website should be extremely simple. If architects can improve our lives physically through creative spatial dynamics, then why are so many websites designed as a homage to the back button on your browser. If your projects are heavily compartmentalised you lose the viewer’s interest despite your effort into categorising all the different styles you muster up.
How to ease up on navigation: Find creative ways for your future clients to click through your website without having to use the back button. Make projects more accessible by giving users immediate access instead of having to scroll through endless menus or having to revert back to a confusing selection of project titles.
#4 “SO WHERE’S THE GOOD STUFF?”
If you can curate in the physical world then prove it in the digital realm! Giving your client a headrush by smothering them with info isn’t always going to be the hook that makes them come back for more. Too many architects try and showcase the entirety of their work online without any consideration for the reasons why potential clients might want to return.
Anyone can find a 3D visual artist to make a flawless render, but I’m not hiring you merely for renders. I want to see whether your work piques my interest and whether your designs make me go “JA” instead of worrying about your fees.
Spice up your spread: Choose a handful of images that either display coherent design decisions or a collection that communicates variety. Use these images at critical points on your site where they’ll attract the most attention. Home pages aren’t the only space for your best work - surprise your client and still blow their minds when they visit your contact page. The best stories captivate you throughout, bad ones are sour by the third installment.
#5 “HEY LOOK - ANOTHER GRID!”
We’ve spoken about the framework and how you curate a site, but we couldn’t let this one go. Google images might not be able to sue you for copying their layout, but your clients might think a little more of you if you used a more personal layout.
Broaden your horizon-tal layout: If you’re going for the old “3 images per row” then maybe consider having an image spread vertically across two rows every once in a while. Stagger some projects to highlight your favourite work and convince clients that you are able to apply your spatial skill set in more ways than one.
A local solution to say “JA” to.
Time to take all the business through a website that shows the client why they’d only be wasting money anywhere else.
Co-Founder of JA