Smarter Practices

Helping architects improve and grow their businesses

Smarter Practices Smarter Practices

The challenge

From the Ground Up

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) is the peak body for the architectural profession in Australia, representing 11,000 members.

The Institute works promote quality, responsible and sustainable building design. Acumen is the Institute's online practice advisory service that provides architects with current advisory and regulatory material.

Historically, this material lived in physical folders in every studio or office. The digital service that housed this material online was so poor that users would refer to the physical binders than use the online service.


Web Application / User Experience

Drawing up plans Drawing up plans

The Direction

Drawing up plans

Following a workshop with key stakeholders we were able to distill key insights into how we should transform the digital service.

To provide the most value to Institute members, we elected to transform the service into a contemporary, content-rich experience. The existing web service had a navigation so poor that users had to develop their own workarounds to find content.

Since finding certain materials was a key functionality of the service, we made search the hero of the website, ensuring all content can be found quickly and easily.

The Design

Colour co-ordination

With the wealth of information that Acumen contains, the website ran the risk of appearing stuffy and unapproachable. We mitigated this by using contrasting colours and liberal use of imagery and photography. This added more vibrancy, life and friendliness to page layouts.

We also used strong iconography throughout the website to clearly differentiate practice note categories. Taking a leaf from Acumen’s past, we used the primary colours blue, red and yellow to differentiate between different categories. These colour choices came from the physical folders that housed Acumen in the pre-digital age. This also aids with content recognition (as many users will have associated certain colours with certain categories).

Colour co-ordination Colour co-ordination

The Tool

The Power of Search

With over 700 pieces of content, the search capability implemented on the new website needed to be robust and adaptive.

With the main service being built on Epsierver, we implemented Episerver Find into Acumen. Find provides users with the ability to discover the content they are looking for quickly and easily.

All of Find's search capabilities were implemented on the new website, including:

  • Searching with synonyms
  • Auto-complete
  • Best bets
  • Boolean search

These features enable users to find what they are looking for first-time, every time.

The Power of Search The Power of Search

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