Architecture & Design Scotland (A&DS) - shaping the places people live and improving the design of buildings they use
A&DS promotes the idea of good architecture and sustainable design adding value to everyone’s lives. Their role is to help people – whether by enabling them to get more involved in shaping the places they live in or improving the design of the buildings they use. In 2016 they asked people to Say Hello to Architecture as part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and the Festival of Architecture.
A&DS were not only in need of a new website design, but a complete restructure of how they presented their online content. The primary aim was to engage more with their target audience, and placed high value on a flexible and user friendly content management system that would allow them to regularly add new content and encourage repeat visits and sharing amongst peers.
Reinventing user journeys with a taxonomy driven approach
We joined forces with RRDCreative and undertook the challenge of developing a site that would allow users to learn more about the positive impact good design can have on Scotland’s places. The main objective was to create an enjoyable user journey where it was simple for users to find the content they were interested in and become aware of upcoming events and exhibitions.
We started the process by carefully analysing the existing site to establish the areas where users disengaged and why they found it difficult to use. We then carried out user interviews based on a set of defined user profiles to inform our approach of the site structure alongside the objectives from A&DS.
Following on from these, we established a streamlined content plan to structure the Information Architecture, where content was pulled through to the appropriate sections based on relevancy to the user with taxonomy terms.
Splitting the content into types as opposed to departments offered a shallower learning curve that allowed users to orientate themselves quicker and become confident using the site's filters to discover the content they were interested in.
Refreshed visual design
The visual design worked to keep a clean and minimal grid layout, retaining the focus on content and forming a clear structure. A&DS brand colours were used in block areas to add striking contrast to the neutral background and to achieve a refreshing overall design.
We implemented this as a custom, masonry based Wordpress theme that could be accessed on any device and extended the open source platform to give editors access to a friendly administrative environment where they could quickly create a range of responsive content, including case studies, photo galleries, slideshows and videos.
We even made event and exhibition information more accessible to third parties by exposing this data via a REST API and used Angular to create the A&DS Scrapbook: a tool that allowed visitors to select their favourite content from across the site and create a personalised resource that could be printed, saved or shared with colleagues and friends.