Adapting Our Process to Meet Their Needs
After the full architecture.org website redesign, we were excited to work with the CAF team again, but we knew this project was an entirely different beast. Where architecture.org had to be big and flexible, openhousechicago.org would have to be small and focused. We were also working on a much different schedule, because we wanted to launch a minimum viable product as quickly as possible, in order to build anticipation for the event. Rather than one big launch date, this project had three: to announce the event, release the list of sites, and finally to provide tools to event-goers.
Our lead designer on the project, Yianni Mathioudakis, went in-depth on the blog about how we had used a more nimble process on another CAF project.
All in the Family
We knew we wanted the microsite to feel like a part of the CAF family, while having a distinct look and feel. Following and expanding upon the flexible design system we created for architecture.org, our designers were able to play with strikingly new layouts and navigation while creating a site that feels familiar and intuitive. We also planned for connections between the two sites, so the microsite could benefit from architecture.org's incredible content, such as the building database.
Encouraging User Participation and Building Community
Over the past several years, Open House Chicago has become a popular and vital part of the city's annual calendar. Every year, participants pick out the sites they're excited about, share their plans, and show off the incredible spaces they get to visit. Our main job was to help facilitate and grow the amazing enthusiasm of the event's attendees. We created a tool for compiling lists of sites into a sharable itinerary, to make it easier for users to coordinate with friends on Twitter and Facebook. And the prominent grid of photos from Instagram shows off the beautiful photos the community takes every year. The new site is more than a promotional tool, it's a platform for building the OHC community.