67a2 media has been helping architects with their website projects since 2007. This post is the first in an ongoing series of tips and tricks designed to help you get the most out of your online portfolio. Contact us for help with your architecture website!
1. Large, Full Screen Project Photography
What’s the point of your firm’s website, if not to show off your great work. And if you aren’t displaying your projects off with full screen photography, then your prospective clients aren’t getting the most immersive introduction that they can. Full screen photography lets your visitors see every detail of your architectural projects. Some architects are reluctant to use full screen images because they feel it will slow down their site’s loading time, which is a valid concern. But their are numerous techniques that can be employed to resolve this issue, and make your site load fast even with numerous full size images on the page.
2. Responsive, Mobile-Friendly Design
Everyone has smartphones now, and we spend way too much time staring at those tiny little screens. If your website is truly responsive, you would be providing the best possible experience for all of those viewers. Desktop computers and laptops may still provide the best experience for viewing your architecture website, but the reality is that most of today’s decision makers are on the move, and make major decisions while on their smartphone. Do you really want your next big project to fall through because your potential client couldn’t view your website?
3. Simple, Visual Project Navigation
Simple, clear navigation make it easier for your visitors to find what they are looking for. In the case of architecture websites, you want your visitors to easily find the projects that interest them. Most new visitors will let the visuals guide them through your project portfolio. I always advocate for using larger project thumbnails, to enhance that experience. One common mistake however, is to not include visible project titles. Imagine this example scenario: You have a potential client on the phone, and you tell them check out ‘Project X’. Unless they know exactly what Project X looks like, the experience of rolling over random project thumbnails in search of the title is frustrating!
4. Highlight Your Office Culture and Staff
While project galleries serve an important function in an architecture website, they are not the only important pages. What separates one firm from another is often office culture. Clients making multi-million dollar decisions want to know that culturally you are a great fit, but it’s not entirely about the clients either. Attracting top end talent is the difference between good projects and great projects. Top prospective employees are looking to learn what separates your firm from the competition.
5. No Flash!
…and if your current website is Flash-based? You need to drop everything and contact 67a2 right now! We began our practice constructing Flash websites, and we understand what made them so appealing to design professionals. Today, Flash is considered outdated and increasingly insecure technology that does not run on mobile devices. Many people will either immediately leave your flash site, or simply can’t view it. You could be missing out on hundreds of potential clients!