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oh those silly architectsArchitecture — An Industry With Sucky Web Sites

I don't know what the deal is with architects. For an industry that depends on accuracy and stability, they seem wildly inaccurate and unstable. They love, love, love, love Mystery Meat Navigation, which doesn't make sense because they wouldn't use this technique on their buildings. When it comes to their web sites, architects seem to be one floor short of a complete building. They all need to be redesigned.

Let me know which sites have disappeared.


My word, that is horrible. HORRIBLE. I think it's the worst site I've seen here in the artsy category (as opposed to the 1995 category). Really, I'd rather sit through blink tags than this. When your architecture company site has system requirements rivaling commercial games, you've got a problem.


MIT Architecture

Pretty bad with the graphical links — some serious Mystery Meat Navigation combined with a load time for each graphic when you mouseover a link.

The sub-pages appear to be OK, except that the navigation fails the contrast test:

Foreground:#FFFFFF Background:#BABABA

Fail (The contrast ratio is: 1.91)

Text or diagrams and their background must have a luminosity contrast ratio of at least 5:1 for level 2 conformance to guideline 1.4, and text or diagrams and their background must have a luminosity contrast ratio of at least 10:1 for level 3 conformance to guideline 1.4.

Notice that they don't use MMN on the sub-pages. Hmm. This implies that either it's wrong to use MMN on the first page or their visitors are too stupid to have memorized the links on the front page to use them on the sub-pages.

Oh, here's an article about MIT and architecture you might find interesting. MIT sues Gehry for negligent design. Hmm. This story is almost too funny.

MIT Architecture

this is a bad websiteHBO+EMTB

Submitter's comments: These people designed the office layout (not that you can tell what they do from their home page) for a company where a couple of my good friends work.

If they design offices like they design websites, we wouldn't know where anything was—we would have to wander aimlessly around until we found what we were looking for. Can you have Mystery Meat Navigation in the real world?

Maybe all the plus symbols on the lower level pages are really crosses—to mark the death of the spirit of web designers everywhere?

Vincent Flanders’ comments: It's the Christmas season so I'd like to say, "If Jesus' website looked like this, Christianity would be a fart in the wind of history."

The Mystery Mean Navigation on subpages like Landscape Design is just morally wrong. Move your mouse around the top of the page to see what I mean.

As my friend Dizzy would say, "Man, they smokin' crazy sh*t."

Speaking of crazy things, it's pretty crazy that somebody in charge doesn't understand DNS. If you leave off the "www." and just type http://hboemtb.com/, you can't get to the site—which may not be a bad thing.

HBO+EMTB (Careers page)

HBO+EMTB (Home page)


What is it with architectural firms? It seems every other one is using Mystery Meat Navigation on their site. There's also very little contrast between text/links and the background.

They've "fixed" the site. I've made a video about this most amazing site. They really were arrogant to think that anybody in their right mind would try to use this site.

M E D I U M (video). The original URL was wherever.com.

zaha-hadid sucksZaha-Hadid Architecture


Zaha Hadid won the "Nobel Prize" of architecture so I went to her web site. If her architecture is as bad as her web site, you'll never be able to get into — or out of — her buildings.

I thought the MOMA site (Video) was bad. This one is dark, forbidding, impossible to read (the text is too small), absolutely can't be navigated— you have to chase around with the mouse and hope that maybe you'll run over something that might tell you where to go... but then whatever you might have caused to appear on the screen disappears again! I sought out the beloved "skip intro" link only to watch it fade away before my very eyes.

The website has been changed. Thank God.

Zaha-Hadid Architecture (video)
Current Site

This is really bad web designIllinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture

The site, thankfully, no longer exists. The link takes you to a silent video showing you some of the issues.

Submitter's comments: Check this one out. It's the hot mess they call a web site for the otherwise well-respected College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

There are hard-to-read links on top of distracting background photos. The hover-over style for link previewing doesn't succinctly preview. Notice the way that hovered-over links slowly disappear line-by-line. Also, the fact that you have to click specifically on the tiny word "more" to get the rest of the information. I dislike the way the links on the page move around once you do click "more." There is confusing terminology in the navigation menu, like "community" and "context," which reveal very little about the messy bevy of links that flash up when one of these choices is selected.

This, to me, is a classic example of what happens when an institution is trying to display their tech prowess and seem cutting-edge without considering the user.

Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture (Silent Video)

Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture (Current Site - much better)