Do you glaze over every time you have to navigate through endless animations on architects’ websites? Well, you’re not alone, says website expert Martin Hornagold
Keppie Design’s website came top of the league table
Of the 25 sites that were tested, only 40% passed coding standards, under half passed mandatory accessibility requirements and only 4% passed recommended accessibility requirements. It is evident that there are different perceptions as to what makes a good website.
There are two key elements to any site: content and presentation. A good one will be content-focused and allow users to change presentation to suit their needs and abilities. Designers need to account for the fact that not everyone will use their sites in the same way. Some people access them through handheld devices, and those with impaired visibility rely on screen readers.
The site also has to be accessible to the computer, not just the person using it. All this is only possible if designers use the latest version of HTML and stylesheets appropriately, and follow the web content accessibility guidelines set out by the World Wide Web Consortium.
Top 10 architects’ websites
Keppie Design www.keppiedesign.co.uk Stride Treglown www.stridetreglown.co.uk RTKL www.rtkl.com Scott Brownrigg www.scottbrownrigg.com Atkins www.atkinsglobal.com Foster + Partners www.fosterandpartners.com EPR Architects www.epr.co.uk Aukett Fitzroy Robinson www.aukett.com Holder Mathias Architects www.holdermathias.com HTA Architects www.hta.co.uk For full results see attached Word document
There are four main categories that are tested, which are weighted:
Function (36%) – Are there any invalid links or downloads, failed email functions etc
Performance (26%) – How long does the user have to wait for pages to load and respond to actions
Accessibility (20%) – Does the website conform to current recognised standards for accessibility
Code Quality (18%) – Does the HTML conform to current recognised standards
The scores are based on benchmarks derived from hundreds of thousands of website tests.
What is not tested?
The tests are based purely on the structural integrity of websites, this does not include issues such as how easy it is to get information, how many hits a site gets through search engines, or if the design is easy on the eye.
Martin Hornagold is the managing director of business consultant the Marstan Group
The companies surveyed were drawn from Building’s 2007 top 50 league tables for consultants.