Overlooking view of downtown Portland

The Connection Between Architecture and Website

Back when I was still living in my hometown in Japan, I once visited a digital art school to see my friend. As I was waiting, I heard a group of teachers talking about something interesting regarding the suitability of a person becoming a web designer.

According to them, the most ideal field you could have been in previously was Architecture. They said how ex-architects or ex-architect-students excel at their careers as web designers. I thought that was interesting because I did not particularly think web sites had anything to do with buildings.

That was about a decade ago. I didn’t remember this random scene in my life until I came across a claim by Viennese architect Argo Flores: “An architect should be able to design anything from a spoon to the city.”

When I heard this quoted by the great Modernist designer Massimo Vignelli, something clicked in my head. I finally see why ex-architects are suited for web design.

Designing an architecture is like creating an environment for people to flourish. Likewise, designing a website is like setting up an environment so that your users can perform their desired task effectively on the site. The end products are very different, but in a way both architects’ and web designers’ jobs are to design a good experience.

To design for human life within the flow of time, it is required to have a good understanding of human beings. That is why an architect should be able to design anything from a spoon to a city. When I figured out the connection between architecture and website, that was when I understood the importance of UX (User Experience) design.

So when I am designing, in the early stages of the design process, I like to spend extra time researching on the prospective users so I know who I’m designing for. Then I try to envision the best possible design for the users’ wants and needs, and try to really imagine the experience. I do this over and over again in my head until I feel that I get the right experience using the right design.

The experience felt by a user when using a product is the most important aspect of whether they have a pleasurable reaction. There are many facets of design that influence the end user’s experience, and they need to be viewed holistically. Putting emphasis in specific areas of the design but neglecting the overall experience will not lead to a pleasurable reaction.

In my future blog posts, I’ll be talking more about what affects a person’s reaction to different types of design.

See you again soon!