It was a bit of a leap in the dark when we launched the Archiboo Web Awards. Would there be enough practices and companies willing to challenge convention by embracing multimedia elements such as video, infographics or interactive features as a way of bringing their work to life?
Have architects moved on from the time when they treated their website like an archive? In other words, a place to store everything the practice had ever designed, built or not. And what about social media? You can have the most beautiful website in the world but unless you’re shouting about it, no one will ever find it.
Supported by Adrem and developers, First Base we were amazed to receive 300 entries from the UK. And our hunch was broadly right: architects are realising that great photography and visually appealing graphics are not enough.
All the websites we shortlisted have been well designed for mobile devices include buttons to social media channels, such as Twitter, and are intuitive, user-friendly and fast.
This is because clients are just as likely to make a snap decision about a practice from a 10- second glance at its website, as they would be visiting a building its designed. For this reason, having a strong online presence is set to become even more important, taking over from more traditional ways architects market themselves, including books and brochures.
Another change is that architects are beginning to relinquish control and allow an outside agency to design their website rather than trying to do it themselves – often with disastrous results. This is because an architect will put all their energy into the images and the graphics and not into the navigation or the way content is structured, which is more important.
As judges, we warmed to websites that established an immediate emotional connection and made us want to explore further, like a looping video on the home page or a compelling message. We also loved websites that have embraced “long-scrolling”, which works so well on small screens. And now 50% of searches start on a mobile device. How long will it be before all architects’ websites are designed for a phone?
The shortlist for the 6 Archiboo Web Award categories.
Best Written Content
Demonstrates written content that is engaging, original and insightful. Consistent tone to the writing, always ensuring it’s readable and relevant to the audience.
Best Home Page
Creative home pages that have a visual impact and help visitors understand what the practice is about. Showing intuitive navigation, making it easy for users to see where to go next for the information they want.
Best Use of Technology
Using relevant technology to the audience and should enhance visitors’ experience. Easy to navigate and provide a brilliant experience across all devices and browsers.
Best Visual Design
Sites that communicate a visual experience, where the design is high quality, appropriate and relevant for the message it’s supporting. Showing examples of where beautiful photography is a critical part of the user experience and design is consistent throughout the website and across different devices.
Best Use of Social Media
Practices that use social media to communicate, connect and promote their work to audience using a good amount of interesting content. Use of posts, images, videos and other meaningful content with strong personality that fairly represents the tone of the brand and is consistent with the website.
Best Overall Experience
Sites with content, visual design, functionality, interactivity, structure and navigation that are excellent across all devices (desktop/laptop, tablet, phone) and platforms. Websites need to be adaptive and make excellent use of technology.
- The Modern House
- Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios
- David Kohn Architects
- Hawkins Brown
- Mikhail Riches
- Pocket Living
The winners of the Archiboo Web Awards sponsored by Adrem and First Base will be announced on September 22nd during London Design Festival.