Problems with architecture websites

Problems with architecture websites

The goal of a good website in context to web design is to enable people to understand the “environment” of your website in order to find the information you are looking for. A good website has content which is usable for the visitors and involves the creation of site maps, categorizations, navigation and hierarchies. When organizing and labelling information, it takes into account the content, context as well as the users. A good website structure optimizes user experience and meets the objectives of the user. Users admire and appreciate websites that are not only clean, but fast as well. It is crucial for the website to be simple so that the user knows how to access information. Back in the day, only IT people were capable of creating a website. With the advancement in technology, almost anyone can design a website, but not everyone understands the principles and concepts of website building. If one does not have the right vision and is unaware of the design principles, they will most likely fail to make their website functional and efficient. This will make your visitors leave your web page without giving it a second glance.

Architecture Websites

We may not always judge a book by its cover, but we do judge a business by its website. For an industry that depends on precision, accuracy and stability, architecture websites seem to be very inaccurate and unstable. Architecture websites need to have a structure designed around a specific set of requirements, but architects are known to have websites which are awful. Whether it is websites for architects,  websites for architecture schools or for architecture associations, there is a vast number of websites that are usually very hard to use and are confusing. Architecture websites often feature their designs, but mostly, the functionality of the website is lost. Heavily stylized website designs do not tell the potential clients what they need to know. Little or no information on the website can be very frustrating to deal with.  

Problems with architecture websites

Architecture websites of large international operations, even though they have a strong profile with vast online presence, are technically flawed in some obvious ways. Some of the problems with architectural websites are given below.

1. Esoteric navigation:  Architecture websites often make their websites confusing for their audience and do not give them the appropriate information, they are looking for. The main issue with some architecture websites is that the sites have a very nice design and amazing animated graphics, but are seldom usable. Web designer, Vincent Flanders came up with the term Mystery Meat Navigation. This is when the websites are visually attractive and lead the user in an innovative way through the site. This type of Mystery Meat Navigation usually attracts the user not with content, but by its immediate impact. This only works the first time a user comes to the site, but eventually gets frustrating for the user.

2. Flash websites and Mobile Compatibility: Many architecture websites are built using a software called  Flash.  As mobile traffic makes up a significant percentage of Google’s searches, and there are multiple users accessing websites on mobile devices, mobile compatibility should be a top priority while designing an architecture website. Adobe does makes the website visually animated  and advanced, but it is not supported by Apples’s mobile devices. Hence, websites built with flash are off limits to a large number of people.  Google also has some issues with Flash websites. Though, this issue is changing, but if Google is unable to read the text embedded in flash websites, there is very limited information to know what your site is all about. This means that when one does a Google search, the flash website will not rank as well as a structured one. It is very essential to rank well on Google, the number one search engine,  and if your website is not showing, you might as well be invisible. One needs to have a mobile friendly HTML based website to make sure that people get all the information they need. With multiple users accessing websites on mobile devices, mobile compatibility should be a top priority for architecture website.

3. Lack of text: Architects often just present images of their projects on their websites. Keywords are very important for optimizing your websites for search engines. If your website just has images, with no text, it will become very difficult to categorize a site which has only images. You need to have a website to tell the visitors what they want to know. You need to have text which gives information about the project, along with images. The right amount of text, along with images can do the work of showing off good designs, at the same time giving information to those you need it. If you bump up the value of your text, you will end up increasing the audience viewing your images as well. Too many images also make it harder for the user to navigate the website.

4. Generic Description: Almost all architect’s pages are identical and go along the same lines. They hardly tell the user anything and when the user searches for a specific thing, they do not provide Google with any keywords.

5. Shareability: The key aspect of a growing business nowadays is social networking sites. A common issue with Flash only websites  is that there is no easy way to link to a specific image or content. Thus bloggers and social media users are prevented from sharing your link in their posts or tweets and when people are unable to share your work, you end up with less backlink. To grow your user base, focus on the content and social media marketing. Blog postings, updates about the project will drive the traffic back to your website and increase the shareability of your content. It is important to include logos and links on your website and have accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for your business.

6. No reason to come back:  Most architecture websites are usually beautiful to look at the first time, but tend to be one hit wonders. They do not provide any value to their audience on a regular basis. These websites are just updated very seldom, most often, just once a year. To have a website which is successful, it is essential to have community following. A good way to build a great architecture website would be to have small, but regular updates.

Conclusion:

An architecture website needs to be designed properly in order to boost traffic . Similar to building design, the design of the website needs to have a strong foundation. You can have a stylish website without sacrificing usability. The design elements of the website should not hinder content. The content on the website should be easy to find, navigate and share. A simple thing like not having the text on the entry page being formatted properly, can turn a perfectly adequate website into an unprofessional mess. The lack of social networking site logos or links on the website page means that it is not serious about its growing client base. A good architecture website will be in HTML, with just the photography section in Flash. To draw people to your projects, have links in the footer to specific projects.

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