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Away from bad practice to a site that clicks

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Tim Gough of Austin Winkley has e-mailed accusing me of 'turning your apparent inability to use a web search engine into a story'. I quite like that: it is a bit like accusing someone who has just slipped on a badly constructed step of an inability to climb stairs. Gough is the chap who got a job from the RIBA's directory of services and gets client contacts, 'some of them first rate and tightly targeted to the services we provide', he writes.

Let me say I am delighted to hear of anybody getting work from the RIBA directory. It is simply that, as Jonathan Potter already explained, unless potential clients have intuited the need to turn on their browser's cookies facility, those practices with names on the RIBA practice list immediately after 'Austin Winkley' are simply not to be seen.

Is there now a message at the beginning telling users to turn the cookies on? Has the RIBA abandoned the mindless cookie thing? Last week it certainly had not done either.

Moving on, my site of the week is www. ianritchiearchitects. co. uk, which starts off with a bunch of squares. You discover what all this is about when you move the cursor: as you slide over them the squares turn into images, text extracts and patterns. Things get a bit better when you click on the projects link; there are the buildings, or rather, a brief description in a deep grey strip across the bottom of the page with a line symbol of the particular building in the white band above. Yes, you move right and left, not up and down, and it works.

The narrower black strip across the top holds the clickable titles for the other pages and the practice name, which reveals an amusing trick: moving across the practice name brings up building names and dates in red. You stop on one, click and the bottom two bands slide across to focus on the building. A click on the symbol and up come thumbnails and more details of the projects. Neat. Me?

I'd abandon the front page.

Sutherland Lyall, lyall@dircon.co.uk

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