Newcastle Station Clock

Newcastle Station Clock

Friday, 25 March 2011

The Kofi Shift Notes: A short guide to designing a website for your architectural practice

All architectural practices need a website to attract clients, show off their work and to give them a public face in this modern world of ours, unless you're Herzog and de Meuron that is.
Now I know this may sound very complicated and off putting, having to design it and put it all together, but don't worry I'm going to tell you how to do this.

First you will want a nice white background, otherwise you might not look minimalist enough. For extra minimalism you might want to consider having an entry page so that when people visit your site the first thing they see is your logo and then they have to click enter before they see anything of use (you can even hide this for even more minimalism). This may seem pointless but it's just not, OK.

Now on your homepage you want nothing but a few tabs linking to other pages and then a central image box showing a slideshow of your best buildings, remember to make these all very artistic and show only the good bits of your building. It's also important to make sure that if the viewer sees a building they like that they can't just click on the image to find out more about that building.

I mentioned that your homepage will have some tabs linking to other pages, you probably want to only have a few pages such as 'about us', 'people', 'projects', 'news' and 'careers'. Make sure that clicking on these doesn't just load the page, have a fade transition, or even a slide-in or drop-down animation (see an amateurish PowerPoint presentation for examples).

The 'about us' page is where you're going to explain to the client how much better than any other practice your practice is. Make them realise you're really unique and have much better morals than any other practice in the world. So I would just write a few short sentences with something generic, throwing in the following keywords: 'innovative', 'spacemaking', 'sustainable', 'priorities', 'approach' and 'excellence'. This is guaranteed to make yourself stand out from the architectural crowd.

Your 'people' page is where you really get your friendly personal approach to come across, have some cheery photos of the main figures in your studio looking busy, in black and white of course to keep an element of seriousness. You don't really need to give any more than this, maybe their name and position, but definitely not any detail of how to contact this person directly.

The 'projects' page is where you will really sell yourself, have lots of very artistic photos of buildings you've designed, it doesn't matter if they're not built or even if they can't physically be built, just as long as they look good. Order them into the groups 'residential', 'commercial', 'health/education', 'leisure/sport' and 'master planning'. This makes it look like you have that many projects that they can't possibly all fit on the one page, so you must be good!

If your practice constantly gets reviews then you will want the 'news' page. This will allow you to show off to everyone how much everyone else likes you, just have a list showing the title of each article you've appeared in on Dezeen, The Architects Journal or even Archiendo.

A 'careers' page is sometimes nice, this will make people looking for work think you have places available but then you can shatter their hopes and tell them briefly 'We don't have any places available at this present time.'

Oh you may want to put your contact information somewhere but you can just hide that in a corner or wherever you can find room.

This may sound very complicated and you might now be panicking as you know nothing about web coding, but you can hire a web programmer to do all that for you, but remember not to take any of their advice on website layout and design, you're an architect, they're a web programmer, what could they possibly know about web design that you don't.

The Kofi Shift Notes are written during a Kofi Bar shift in the space of an hour and under the heavy influence of caffeine, whilst it starts with what may be a sound fact, the resulting rambles are probably best ignored for any real truth.

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