spoil_sport wrote:So... do you like the McCulloughMulvin/Chipperfield/DTA website format or not?
See, what you mean about the flash stuff, the architecture53seven site is a bit of a head wrecker.
No I don't like it. It doesn't break every rule but it breaks lots. Off the top of my head:
Menu items on the bottom of the page? This is a terrible idea as it means the main tools for navigation are invisible for people if their browser window isn't tall enough. Your eye has to travel down to the bottom of the page to see what your options are.
It uses a fixed size so looks "off" if your browser window isn't sized at 900x700 pixels. The web isn't like the printed medium; people's computers (and PDAs, mobile phones, etc.) have different screens with different capabilities and even then people should have the freedom to resize their browser (within limits) and still be able to use the site.
The terms and labeling are not intuitive which breaks another rule; you do not force the user to click on a link to find out what it represents. "Practice" is not an intuitive or well known way to group pages called "About Us", "Publications", "Credits" and "Awards". Everyone knows what information these four links are likely to retrieve but "Practice"? Why not just have direct links to them on the first page - there's plenty of room. And please, "Topology", wtf? I'm showing my ignorance here, but what proportion of your prospective users are going to know where a link called "Topology" is going to bring them?
At least the worst feature is well disguised: initially I was simply irritated by the f*cking montage that takes up three quarters of the main page. Thus telling the user - WE'VE decided what you should look at instead of providing you with the tools to find what information YOU want to access. The images are useless as they are unadorned with any other useful information; at least attaching the location of the buildings would have endowed the effort with some utility. Did it ever stike the designers that visitors may have arrived in order to FIND OUT what some of their work looks like? That it is likely that the visitors WILL NOT be able to identify the project they are interested in from an image alone?
However by accident I discovered that if you click on this image at the right time, you are brought to a page on the project. Even when you KNOW that the montage has this feature (I don't know of any mass market website which provides a navigation tool like this), it is f*cking irritating in the extreme because you have to WAIT for the project you are interested in; again this tells the visitor that their time is irrelevent and WE will give you the opportunity to access the information you are looking WHEN WE FEEL LIKE IT.
This is the first page only. I'd like to be charitable but no, it sucks alright - like nearly all of the others.
The problem with web site design is that expertise is not appreciated and every idiot feels that they can do it. I was in the business years ago for a short while as a side line but couldn't compete with graphic design monkeys and Flash "programmers" who never even heard that there was a field of study called computer-user interaction never mind read anything on the subject of user interface design. The problem is that the users themselves are often unaware and assume the difficulty in navigating a website is due to themselves rather than the designers. Moreover clients for web design generally feel that they had some insight into how a web site should be done and will often insist on implementing rubbish ideas.
However even if the crappiness isn't immediately evident, the visitor numbers will eventually tell you the truth but even then most people with websites will never properly analyse basic visitor stats such as the % who never bother going past the first page.