The folks at 37signals have a point about how difficult it is to get to a project on an architect’s website.
As it stands today, if you want to show someone an interesting piece of work you usually have to give them a step-by-step guide on how to get there: First go to the home page, wait for the countdown timer to expire, then hover over the logo, then grab a magnifying glass, then squint, then click the 4th tiny icon on the left (I can’t really tell what it is), then use that custom scrollbar that looks like an elevator, then take a screenshot, then pull that screenshot into Photoshop, then zoom in about 8 times so it’s all nice and big on your screen, then take about 10 steps back from your computer, then look.
True enough, for architects that corned with ease of fining projects. And, unless you are so busy that you aren’t interested in new clients, this should be a concern.
What should we focus on then?
Architects have so much to gain from the web. Big huge photographs of their work, clear statements of who they are and what they believe in, easily linkable and sharable portfolio pages, daily links of interest.
37signals gives a couple of examples of architecture sites that don’t make the cut. One is Perkins + Will. Personally, although I largely agree with their blog post, I like this website quite a bit. Now, it would have driven me crazy if the only way to get to a new project from the home page was to mouse over those squares floating in Flash, but a quick view work drop-down helps those of us in a hurry. I see this site as a good example of wow mixed with ease of use. The other positive is that the entire site is not Flash, only a bit on the home page (thus, one can easily link to individual projects).
Over the next month or two, we’ll be working diligently with our architectural clients to produce websites that are clean, modern, gorgeous and easy-to-navigate.