This might seem obvious but far to often architecture websites are overwhelmingly designed for architects whereby totally missing the point that architects are not their target audience. If they are, then perfect, however if you are planning to revitalize your website consider who you are speaking too. The web is a great communication platform and what better way than to connect and communicate with your audience! Your audience may be looking to pre-qualify your firm, checkout your portfolio, learn about the team and experience and how to get in touch. Make this easy and your site will be one step closer to success.
Consider designing the site for your audience – not for yourself or colleagues.
Your goals and your audience goals?
- Why are you building a new website?
- Are you turning away clients with a poor web presence?
- What's wrong with your current site? Does it take far too long to load. Is it using antiquated technology rendering it useless on different web devices. Is the content old and stale and too difficult to update?
What to consider:
- A robust and easy to use Content Management System (CMS) that will be easy to update and extend when need be. A CMS will give you the tools and control to manage your website content internally without having to rely on suppliers schedules.
- A search engine optimization strategy. What's the point in having a great website if it cant be found. An SEO plan will get you indexed by Google and in the search results.
- Mobile friendly or even a mobile specific version. Web browsing these days is now huge on mobile devices. You may not think your audience is viewing your site from a mobile device but check your stats to see how many users you are turning away by not having a mobile strategy.
- Blogging is an effective tool to demonstrate to your audience that you are the expert and it helps generate.
- Rich information about your services and your firm.
- News and regular content updates to keep your content relevant and up to date.
- Social media integration with the use of simple share tools and social media feeds.
What to Avoid!
- Any unnecessary use of Flash animation: Circle back to your goals and your audience and ask yourself does this what my audience wants.
- Complicated navigation: Keep the menu and site nav simple and familiar. Anything too complicated will send your audience to your competitors website.
- Lack of information: Generally less is better however architects often take minimalism to the extreme where almost no information is provided. Try to find a balance.
- Stale content: Nothing says we don't care about our website like news from 2009. Update regularly or synchronize with social media feeds for fresh and relevant content.
- Huge unoptimized photos: Simply optimize your photos for web to cut down page load times. Don't upload images directly from the photographer or camera. If you don't know how to do it get somebody who does.
When planning to redesign your website seriously step back and consider who your audience is and what your goals are for the website. Once you've established these fundamentals the rest will fall into place with a good design company.
Consider implementing an easy-to-use Content Management system along with some search engine optimization and a simple social media strategy. Stay clear of slow loading pages, pointless flash animations and stale content.
About the Author
Tony Tullio is a veteran in the interactive business and Director/Founder at Inorbital and always looking for great web apps and useful websites. Let us know what you think about this topic by commenting or rating or connect with him via Twitter