January 15, 2004

IDEO is one of the most innovative design firms that engages in a wide range of design activities from the design of products, services, environment and digital experiences.

The company's website takes the approach, that images speak more loudly than words, and once you get past the uninformative splash page, you are offered a wide variety of pretty images to go exploring what IDEO has been doing and has to offer.

The site approaches the presentation of the company through 3 modes on the homepage: recent "News", in-depth "Features" and case studies presented as "Profiles".

News is a straight forward listing of recent news and upcoming events announcements.

Profiles links to one page summaries of design solutions. What I appreciate about these summaries are that they are one page. No overly descriptive text, that goes into excruciating detail about the product or the process. All are beautifully illustrated with photos at the top and provide links to other related profiles once you reach the bottom of the page.

Features allows the site to break free from its page template to have fun and to explore a more free form layout that suites the subject matter being featured. It feel more like you are in a special exhibitions space in a gallery, away from the permanent collection. Small logo at the top shows that you are still on the site and provides a means to navigate back to the homepage.

Tight layout, web-conscious writing, functional navigation, visually-pleasing imagery, playfulness, and at times flexibility to break from traditional layout make this one of my favorite sites.