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Court Atkins Group

Where real world architecture meets information architecture

When the renowned Bluffton-based architectural firm Court Atkins Group came to us for a new website, we were excited to apply a strategic approach to the entire process.
Court Atkins Group Home Exterior

Overview

From the Drawing Board

Of course, Court Atkins Group creates amazing designs and brings stunning buildings to life with the help of their building partners, but so does every other architectural firm. Using their website as the platform, the group wanted to showcase what makes them unique: their people, portfolio, and process. With that goal in mind, the FUEL team set out to apply a methodical approach to crafting their online presence.

The Challenge

Merging Stakeholder and User Goals

To really get to know both the Court Atkins Group team and their customers, we started with a series of interviews. From our time with the stakeholders, we determined much of their frustration with their existing site stemmed from a few key areas, notably: the lack of company culture content, not showcasing their multifaceted team, and an imbalance between their three lines of business (residential, commercial, and interior design). 

 

A usability analysis of the site revealed that apart from the content and messaging challenges, their site was indeed difficult for users to navigate. Heavy image content was leading to slow load times and content being skimmed or skipped altogether. The portfolio page, housing the firm’s exceptional work, was unfortunately lacking a user-friendly filter and hierarchy, and small thumbnail images didn’t do the large-scale work justice. And finally, the mobile site experience left much to be desired, with menus and buttons overlapping other items, making some functions simply unusable. 

 

Finally, we had the privilege of speaking with Court Atkins Group’s clients to hear about their experience with the firm, what they look for in an architectural partner, and what would be most helpful information for them on the website. In a word, they’re looking for experience. And we knew from analytics that the site’s gallery of work was the most visited page – above even the home page, so we knew highlighting their portfolio in a beautiful and user-friendly way was going to be of utmost importance in this project. 

With our due diligence completed, we had a clear picture of the challenges ahead, and some early ideas for how to solve them.

The Strategy

Reframing the house

Research
Our analysis of the site included quantitative data. This combined with the qualitative data from our stakeholder and user interviews gave us the information to create robust pictures of our site audiences and user profiles for each line of business.We believe the most important step in design is to first know who you’re designing for.

In addition, we completed research on the competitive landscape. Doing so revealed insights that influenced our plan for content, visual design, and functionality. One example: the firm is unique in offering interior design services in-house so we wanted to elevate that to the same level as commercial and residential architecture. Additionally, we could tell that competitors offered far less content than CAG’s current site – meaning we had the leeway to streamline their site content but also ensure it would be valuable for our users and enhance the SEO of the site overall.
Information Architecture
Court Atkins Group Website
Court Atkins Group Responsive Design

The Results

Design that Makes Heads Turn

Our research laid the foundation for a solid website strategy that addressed both stakeholder and user goals. Now the icing on the cake was bringing the site to life. We wanted the visuals to shine and for the site to feel elevated for our users to reflect the Court Atkins Group brand. With this in mind, we chose a platform that specializes in showcasing imagery with fluid motion.  More intuitive site architecture, condensing content, and simpler navigation enabled users to more easily find the line of business appropriate to them, all while exposing them to the others throughout the site. We finally elevated the firm’s unique Interior Design wing to round out the way their offerings were presented online. Moreover, the new site platform serves as a hub for the firm’s new content strategy and a place to house their blog content and share their latest projects, press, and awards with the world. All in all, the site delivered on stakeholder goals for content, functionality, and design plus it offered a website the team could be proud of, just as much as they are of their architectural work. The FUEL team feels honored to have been a part of that process.

Great —thank you! Can’t tell you how wonderful of an experience this has been from our end, and without a doubt the smoothest website launch I’ve been a part of. Really appreciate it! ”

— Allison Farmer, Marketing Manager | Court Atkins Group

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