Web Wednesday: Lower JCT
This weeks Web Wednesday site review is Lower JCT. Lower JCT is a common ground for creatives and entrepreneurs, offering workspaces and services that will allow them to thrive in a community of like minded individuals. Due to the dull
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This weeks Web Wednesday site review is Lower JCT.
Lower JCT is a common ground for creatives and entrepreneurs, offering workspaces and services that will allow them to thrive in a community of like minded individuals.
Due to the dull and monotonous nature of looking for office space, Lower JCT have attempted to bring some life to their strategy by building a ‘Choose your own adventure’ style website. The site navigates users through each area they offer in their common ground, with the ability to register your interest in the final stage.
The Desktop Experience
When you load the home page you’re hit with all the right visual cues. The headline and purpose is clear, the navigation is in a logical position and the call to action is obvious. However, I feel that it’s lacking personality. Even though I feel the designers have tried to stay true to the core concept of a choose your own adventure, it doesn’t mean it couldn’t also look aesthetically pleasing as well. It might just be me, but line-height in both the headline and paragraph feels too big, rendering an emptiness on the page.
Navigating through to the second page using the ‘Begin the Adventure’ call to action, I was hit with my first decision in the ‘choose your own adventure’ format. The aesthetic of this page gave the website personality, whilst still feeling functional, and I had more of an idea of what to expect moving forward. The subtle animation of the mouse hover for either option helped to breathe life into the minimal design.
Moving from the decision page, I was lead into an informational page describing the option I had just chosen. In my case it was Tour of Moca. These pages are where the website describes what they have to offer potential tenants and the benefits working from the Lower Junction. On the desktop version, it’s difficult to read, again because of the line-height but also the layout itself of the photo and text is a little disorientating. Thankfully the ‘next’ call to action button at the bottom is clear.
The top of an information page (above) and the bottom of an information page (below.)
As I moved through the pages I realised that I was becoming frustrated with having to navigate through all the information with option to click through to specific pages. Even though, technically, you only really have to navigate through half the pages based on the 50/50 decisions, if I wanted to go back and look at information from a page I didn’t select, I’d have to start over. I thought the map/navigation might help me jump around once the ‘choose your own adventure’ novelty had worn off, but unfortunately it’s not interactive. However, it does add to the minimal appeal of the website, with a splash of character.
As I entered the Draft Building page, the header had an illustrative, animated background as well as animation on elements that entered the screen. It seemed the deeper I entered the site, the more it grew in personality, but again the line-height of the text made it hard for me to engage with the core concept of reading to persuade which direction I should head in my adventure.
The top of the Draft Building page with animated header (above) and the bottom of an Draft Building page with the building specifications (below.)
When you finally reach the inevitable end of your adventure, you land on a thank you page which gives you the option to start over or contact them. As this website is more of a novelty, microsite marketing tool, this actually directs the user to Lower JCT original website where they can then register their interest. Personally I don’t think it would hurt the site to have a simple contact form as well, to save time for users, but there may be administration considerations I’m not aware of.
There is the option to skip to Thank You page at any point whilst navigating through out the site. At the bottom of that page is all the floor plans and building information, which creates a shortcut for those who may have already visited the site and need to show colleagues the specifications quickly.
It would be a good idea if from the thank you page, there was a menu that linked through to each information page so that if users needed to reference them quickly during a discussion, it would be possible without enduring the linear process.
The Mobile Experience
Judging by the minimal approach to the website, I figured that mobile device use was a strong consideration when designing the website. Every page becomes more legible on a mobile device because it’s forced into one column, and because the pages aren’t overloaded with information, it is still consumable without becoming uninterested.
The animations still run with proficiency and it allows the website to improve functionality but also keep it’s personality. The only problem I have which is seperate to some of my issues with the desktop format, is that the map works much better on a landscape screen. It’s not to say the design hasn’t been adapted for a portrait view, it’s just a lot more difficult to consume and enter/exit the information hovers.
In theory the idea of a ‘Choose your own adventure’ website plays well into a creative marketing strategy, but I think that it needs to not be at the sacrifice of functionality. For the most part, they do a good job of keeping it engaging. However, a simpler navigation menu for when the novelty wears off would help.
From a brand awareness perspective, the website certainly creates the perception that the Lower Junction is creative, minimal, professional and organised. I can understand why they’ve taken this approach and there has clearly been a consideration it has virality potential, increasing exposure. (You can read more about marketing virality in my piece here.)
However, saving users time is something that is undervalued and can occur when creative teams become romantic about their work. At times they can lose sight of how a user will perceive and interact with what they build which is why it’s important that the desired business result should always be held as the north star.
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