I am such a dork that I am now creating a rubric for reviewing sites…in this rubric I will list what each point means and which elements of the site I am examining.  Can you tell I went to school for education? My degree is NOT wasted after all! 

Category12345
ProjectsProjects section exists but is not populated.Projects section is populated but it’s just a photo gallery or is not sortable.Projects section is sortable but little information is shared per project.Projects section is sortable and populated with information for each project.Projects section meets criteria for 4 and is creatively & attractively displayed.
ServicesThe Services page exists but is just a bulleted list.All services are listed and described on one page,or are listed on separate pages but described in less than 200 words.Each service has its own page and around 200 words of content, but do not have added functionality.Services each have their own page, link to related projects, and share who to contact for more information.Services meet criteria for 4 and are creatively and attractively displayed.
EmploymentAn employment or careers page exists.Benefits are listed and a PDF application or contact information are present.Company culture and benefits are described. Visitors can apply online or available jobs are listed.Each position has a landing page with benefits, company culture & FAQs. Visitors can apply online or available jobs are listed.Available jobs are listed and all criteria for 4 are met, plus content is attractively and creatively displayed.
Ease of UseNavigation existsOR navigation is mobile on desktop display.Mobile menu is reserved for mobile traffic. Drop down menus enable people to easily jump to pages within a section.All of 2, plus interactive site content is logical to use. Links feel like links, buttons like buttons. Information is logically organized.All items from 2 & 3 plus key items from other sections of the site are used to supplement information throughout.Everything from 2,3 & 4 plus elements are displayed attractively with creativity.
CreativitySite looks like someone forgot about all the pages, except for the home page.Some pages are well designed, but not all. Site is composed well, but looks like most other sites.Looks like a website someone cares about on the home page and some other pages. Effort was put into branding the site.This is a site someone cares about and each page has thoughtful layout and design. It reflects the company’s branding.Looks like someone put some serious time and thought into making this site. It doesn’t look like every other site out there.

SCI Engineering, Inc.

https://sciengineering.com/

Projects

Services

Employment

Ease of Use

Creativity

Final Score

80

%

20/25

SCI put a lot of effort into sharing their brand.  Their website includes a ton of extras that make it fun and easy to use.  The unique videos in the headers of each service page make the site visually interesting and shows that the company has put a lot of thought into delighting and engaging visitors.

The careers page includes a video about why someone would want to work for SCI, which is something every site should have!  While you can view all available positions, learn more about them, and apply online; there isn’t a separate page for each type of employment (hence the 4 on in the employment section).  However, there the videos of employees explaining why they like to work there are powerful recruitment tools that hundreds of applicants can view over and over.

Great job, SCI!

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

ARUP

https://www.arup.com/

Projects

Services

Employment

Ease of Use

Creativity

Final Score

100

%

25/25

It’s hard (but fun) to review perfection.  Allow me to gush. Arup introduces us to the company with gorgeous drone footage.  I feel like I’m literally diving into their work. The theme of movement continues with some scrolling text and there are simple icons that don’t interfere with the other visual elements.

This whole site makes me think that there’s a lot to learn about  Arup, starting with the expertise section and moving on to the project pages.  I’m impressed by the project pages and I’m given an easily accessible avenue to contact someone on each project page. Arup then goes above and beyond on their projects pages with press mentions and references to the areas of expertise they used in each project- way to tie it all together!

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

On a design note, Arup unapologetically uses a serif font and the designers have managed to make it look not only readable and up to date, but exceedingly elegant.  Pretty impressive!

100% A++++

Henderson Engineers

https://www.hendersonengineers.com/

Projects

Services

Employment

Ease of Use

Creativity

Final Score

88

%

22/25

One thing that makes Henderson’s website great is the copy.  I want to read what they’ve written, because it’s got a lot of personality- not something that’s easy to say about most engineering sites!

The project section is beautiful with awesome photographs for each project and consistent formatting- I just wish there was more about each project!  I can sort, filter, and view related projects, but what’s lacking is a more intuitive navigation. However, it’s easy to contact someone directly from the project area- which is essential.

The careers section is another place where Henderson’s personality and web design shine. I mean, there’s a guy with a beer!  I get the idea that real humans work here, and if I didn’t own my own business, I might want to as well. The social feed gives you an idea that you’re seeing what’s going on right now with the company, which keeps things fresh.

Awesome job, Henderson!

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

Vanderweil

http://www.vanderweil.com/

Projects

Services

Employment

Ease of Use

Creativity

Final Score

74

%

18.5/25

I chose this website for two reasons; they do an excellent showcasing their projects with a lot of big photos, and they have some really neat navigational features.

For example, when I click on a specific Service, it gives me information about the service, and let’s me click an arrow to progress through their different services offerings.  Although I wish there was more info on the services and links to related projects, this type of navigation is unique and engaging for the user.

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

The projects section has a unique design as well.  The main category is at the top of the page, and I can scroll down to view multiple photos of each project or use an abbreviated navigation at the side that shows me all of the projects in miniature.  Even when I navigate to a specific project page, that mini menu follows me, so I’m free to click around and browse examples of their work. This unique navigational elements set this site apart from other engineering sites. 

Last but not least, their search feature results in a wonderfully stylized search results page.  A lot of companies forget to format and stylize their search page, but Vanderweil has done a great job by showing each search result with an image and description of the type of content that it links to- whether it’s a blog, page or a career result.

Great job, Vanderweil, your creativity really shines!

Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

https://www.sgh.com/

Projects

Services

Employment

Ease of Use

Creativity

Final Score

92

%

23/25

Right away I like this site, because it doesn’t look like every site out there- it’s important to differentiate yourself!  They’ve got a visually interesting layout with a lot of angles, horizontal lines, and circles that really pull me into their introductory slide show.  The web design itself makes me want to learn more about them.

The individual Services pages are extremely robust.  For each service area I can toggle for more info, see example projects, read blogs posts and get more information about their process and expertise.  It really brings all of that information together logically and shows that they care about educating clients. 

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

I wish pictures were bigger on the Projects page to make it look more modern and appealing.  The individual project pages include lots of pictures and information about the specific project- and they look great.  The real winning element of this section is the way they list who to contact for more information! You can tell they put care into helping people understand their work.

Like the other high-scoring sites, their various pages include links to other related or relevant content- always a good idea when you have a lot of information to communicate!

Simon Oswald & Associates

https://soa-inc.com/

Projects

Services

Employment

Ease of Use

Creativity

Final Score

74

%

18.5/25

This website is from my hometown!  Simon Oswald Architecture, also known as SOA, is located here in Columbia, MO.   Full disclosure- my company designed this website. I wanted to show off the features they encouraged us to incorporate into their design and show how a site of this size can compete with some of the higher budget sites showcased in this blog post.

SOA encouraged us to focus on their process in design and construction.  The services page gives the visitor information about each phase of the project.  It’s not only engaging and interactive, it makes the process of working with SOA transparent for the client.

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

The projects section showcases lovely imagery of past builds.  They decided not to put a title on top of image, and opted for a roll-over behavior where the title shows up when a visitor puts their cursor over the photo. 

On the individual projects pages they have the ability to put YouTube videos in their slider and each project includes a write up and quote from the client.

Another fun feature for a firm that does mostly local work is the project’s map.  A visitor can click and view the location of SOA’s projects. Each map pin shows who they’re working for, address, what the project is and can link right back to the project overview section. 

A robust project section paired with nice design elements and minimalist elements help this site shine above other competitors in the area.

This website got a score of 74% — See? I’m hard on myself, too!

HRGreen

https://www.hrgreen.com/

Projects

Services

Employment

Ease of Use

Creativity

Final Score

78

%

19.5/25

I have pulled up the HR Green site in many a creative meeting to highlight its features and inspire my clients.  I love the icons that they use to represent their areas of expertise. The way they consistently incorporate design elements throughout the site make it look cohesive.  You can tell they took time in putting the site together.

One confusing element is that the Services are nestled underneath “Markets/Projects”.  I like to see those things divided out for easy navigation.

The individual Services pages look great.  The Land Development page includes specific services and examples of projects within that category (with some neat roll-over behaviors).  The use the term “Experience” to label their projects section, and I think that’s a great choice.  

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

The individual project pages include more photos, but lack formatting that would make the text easier to read.  I also wish there were related projects here- I’m sort of stuck on the project page until I choose to use the main navigation again.

The careers section includes some nice original imagery with their logo in the background.  Open positions are highlighted right away and there are rotating employee testimonials- I’m just not sure how I feel about the “cut-out” people on this page. They do a great job of blogging and show that off here!

The cool little creative design elements on this site made me want to include it in my review.  It got a 78%.

What Do You Think?

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More about the Author

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Monica Pitts

Monica is the creative force and founder of MayeCreate. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in Economics, Education and Plant Science from the University of Missouri. Monica possesses a rare combination of design savvy and technological know-how. Her clients know this quite well. Her passion for making friends and helping businesses grow gives her the skills she needs to make sure that each client, or friend, gets the attention and service he or she deserves.

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