The British Design Initiative (BDI) has launched, bringing together resources found in its print directory The Design Handbook

The British Design Initiative (BDI) has launched, bringing together resources found in its industry standard print directory The Design Handbook into an online catalogue.

Containing details of more than 2,000 freelancers, design agencies, suppliers, a news section, recruitment and even a bookshop, Global Design Online's search engine can be scanned by name, field of work, global location or general keywords. Maxine Horn, chief executive at the BDI, knew that the site had to be aesthetically pleasing to satisfy the audience being addressed. Personal experience of the Web added extra criteria, particularly with regards to Macromedia Flash.

"We wanted something that was easy to use, but aesthetic as well, so that when designers came onto the site they wouldn't go 'urggh', and go somewhere else," she says. "We didn't want people to come onto the site and have to wait 37 minutes to download Flash, because they probably wouldn't use it," she adds.

Horn employed designer SGC to create the branding and software engineers @Info to put the site together. Together they provided a stylish site which could convert the BDI's Microsoft Access databases, which the client could easily update, into an online presentation.

Mike Furniss, creative director at SGC, says: "It was designed mainly from a branding point of view. We wanted to maintain a certain consistency with The Design Handbook. We also wanted to include some animated sections, but we might move that into the second phase. I would like to have e-cards on there as well, and that is something we are seriously considering."

James Hogan, managing director of @Info and technical director of the Global Design Online project, had a hefty job creating an underlying framework, but as the content was already available, it was more a case of simply slotting all the various elements in to place.

"It was a big project for us and about 70% of our work was creating the database structure that would handle the queries and return the results they wanted," explains Hogan.


Published 8 February, 2001 by NMA Staff

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