I think it is fair to say that the websites for architects are almost all terrible. OK, maybe not “terrible” but just not very good. I have gathered opinions from others and it was conclusive. They are cumbersome and hard to navigate and trying to find information on them seems to be a reward for people who demonstrate an unreasonable amount of patience.
Why do you think this is? Well, I have my theories but the main reason seems to be that architects don’t typically consider the people who might be viewing them, instead choosing to focus on style … essentially what would look good to other architects. This is specifically referring to small architectural firms, the 20 employees and under type firms who don’t necessarily have someone on staff who is specifically knowledgeable about website functionality and the type of firms whose potential clients have most likely spent some time trying to navigate that firm’s body of work via their website. The other problem most architectural websites suffer from is updating them with current projects – something that our own firm has been guilty of and will have to keep in mind as we continue to transition in the re-branding of our firm.
A few months ago our firm, WDG Architecture | Planning + Interiors, finally went live with our new website after a full re-brand. The old site was just that – old and in general, not a true reflection of what we stand for. It was outdated and required someone with Stephen Hawking type knowledge to modify and manipulate and as a result, it was rarely updated. Our new website is really a portfolio website with limited wording. If there is one thing we have learned after looking at other sites getting feedback from others, is that nobody will actually read whatever it is that you write when there are pictures available. What this means is that our new website is image intensive – which I think is a good thing for an architectural website.
When we started discussing how to lay out our site, we didn’t only look at look at other architectural sites for inspiration, but also looked at the websites of designers and photographers. The basic bones to our site are pretty straightforward – start with a landing page that scrolls through some large images and anchor a navigation bar along the top that will allow visitors to hit the sort of projects they are interested in viewing.
This is what someone would find if they visited the “traditional residential” section of our portfolio under our projects tab. There is one image per project on the landing page and if you want to see more all you have to do is click on that particular project.
You are probably not aware that we do other sorts of projects in addition to residential work. We work in all sorts of market sectors – commercial, multi-family, non-profit, churches… all sorts of projects. These are some other areas that we are working on documenting better – I think 2019 will be a year of new diverse projects, community support and beautiful photography.
We also decided that we would include some additional sections of our website that speak to the culture we have in our office. We have sketches everywhere in our office and thought that it would be interesting to share them with people.
We also decided to add a section to our new website giving you a general overview of our history, who we are today and our overall philosophy.
Finally, and possibly most importantly, is the “People” section – where everyone who works in our office will have some information about them. I am sure over time this section will be edited and added to, as the people in my office have a lot of personality. Without a doubt, this is the most talented group of people that I have ever worked with.
Despite the fact that the website is now live and ready for viewing, I know that there is still a lot of work to be done. That might actually be the biggest argument for making the switch to a new platform and rolling out a new site. Even with our limited technical abilities, I can add sections, photos, videos … whatever I want within moments. Now the fun part begins because let’s face it, the website is really supposed to be there to support the information.
Now it’s time to focus on collecting the images to help tell our story and show our work. Which means we still have a lot more projects to photograph.
I hope you take a moment and check out our new site and continue to check back (wdg-architecture.com) – it’s a big improvement over the last one and I know it’s only going to get better.