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Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow.

I don't know what you think of slide shows on websites. Sure, they belong to an architectural tradition as old as Ektachrome--or maybe the magic lantern. But my experience is that architects are so attached to their magna opera that they dwell unnecessarily on each one rather than providing a brisk scamper through the collection. If you asked me for an ideal slide per second (isps) frequency I would say take a look at www.spfa.com, the site of Culver City architects SPF:a, aka Studio Pali Fekete architects. I didn't have a stopwatch handy but if you absolutely have to have slide shows on your site you could do worse than go just a shade faster than SPF. The site is also a model of that website principle: never overestimate the smartness of your visitors. The SPF home page has a big image with the practice name across the bottom. Searching for more to look at, you notice just above this is a grey strip across the bottom of the image with 'press', 'awards/publications' and a couple of other page headings all in tiny capital letters. It is only after you have tried these out and wondered where the buildings are that you notice there is a similar strip across the top of the image zone with the familiar 'residential', 'commercial' and so on. Dub. And so to the sections on the architecture. Here a general complaint I have is that the body text is almost unreadably small--and not adjustable. That is probably because allowing text to be adjusted by the viewer would screw up the size and spacing of the above section headings on their grey strips above and below the big image. On the other hand, for readability, what a good idea that would be.

Mark Sparrowhawk emailed in to suggest www.jonespartners.com. You don't get any Brownie points for guessing what the practice is called. I'm very glad Sparrowhawk made contact for this is, I think, unique: a witty architectural website. Also extremely intelligent, knowing, talented and occasionally surreal. And that is just the website, which has obviously been designed by someone who knows the 1950s animation work of the Canadian Film Board: lots of big dots and numbers appearing, reappearing and, of course, hiding. California-based Jones, Partners have somebody there with a hip and dry sense of humour. When you hit the contact button you are urged to first try out the Taste Test. This is a series of questions and answers involving such things as tortoises, Blade Runner and earthmoving equipment. At random intervals a black and white image flashes across the screen. But look, I don't want to give too much away. Peep for yourself. But please don't attempt to imitate. It is so easy to get jokes and knowing text utterly wrong.
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Author:Lyall, Sutherland
Publication:The Architectural Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2005
Words:473
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