We’re rebuilding our website.
I believe there are a lot of parallels with building a manor house. You want the house to have a large, light welcoming entrance hall and many rooms, connected by corridors, stairs and sometimes secret passages. Some of the rooms are public and beautiful, some give you ideas where to go next, some are busy workshops where things are being made, and for some rooms you need a key (or a friend who knows the secret code). The important thing is to get the connections between rooms right.
Our new house/website is currently being built by digital agency fuse8. We’re thinking a lot about its architecture and how the rooms are connected. fuse8 gave us a fresh pair of eyes to look at what we have been doing in the past, and what we will do in the future – which was exactly what we needed! It’s been rewarding and revealing.
Sometimes a small shift in how you look at the familiar, at what has been dear and important and established, can make a huge difference in allowing you to shake off baggage from the past to emerge leaner and better. I’m not talking about losing content but about changing habits and challenging preconceptions. An example:
We have run the Axis webzine for 6 years now. It started out as a quarterly magazine, loosely based on an academic journal format. The editor planned the next issue – usually based on a current topic - lined up guest contributors, timetabled reviews and proof reading. The issue launched with a bang and over the next weeks, further content was added while planning on the next issue started. A format based on cycles and iterations.
We could easily have continued with this format but we won’t. In conversation with Martin Pownall (pictured above), Information Architect with fuse8, we came up with a different way of organising our webzine. It will be more like a blog, where new articles, opinions and discussions can be published at any time. Thematical links between different pieces of writing are not established through issues, but through cross-references and tags. It just makes sense. And is so much more immediate and vibrant – and better to promote across the site and in our communications.
The content format, essentially, stays the same. But the architecture that organises the content changes dramatically, allowing you, our audience, to find information easily and make meaningful connections quickly. And now we cannot wait to launch it!
Do you think about how information is connected? Is there something on the Axis website that you want to change?
It’s not too late to get involved in our re-development. Please leave a comment below…