Every once in a while, we come across a website that really draws us in. These sites push the boundaries of what is known to be possible on the web. Whether it is the design aesthetic, the interactivity, the usability, the sound design or the value that the site provides, each one is a masterpiece in its respective industry, and it is something to be inspired by.
Not surprisingly, a lot of organizations exist to highlight these web design companies and the contributions that they make to the web. To help surface some of the top web design agencies and some of the most inspirational designs, we’ve gathered award-winners that have made their way through numerous key awards organizations including Awwwards, UX Awards, The Webby Awards, Best Website Gallery, SiteInspire, and FWA.
Each of these sites excels in their own way and seeks to serve a unique purpose. While one site may be an excellent example of visual design, another may be an excellent example of interactivity. This means that not all of these sites may be conversion machine or blueprint ideas that others can easily copy and apply over to another site. Rather, they are great ways to gain some website design inspiration and see the cutting-edge marketing that is happening on the different side of the web.
1.) Virgin America
In a world where airline websites are known to have major usability issues, Virgin America is one of the best websites that pushes accessibility, usability, and responsive design forward. In fact, it has been named as the first truly responsive airline website, a new precedent in the industry. s
Not only is this web design an interesting concept, but it also has a stunning execution that challenges our understanding of what is possible on the web. Through a creative blend of video and animation, the site immerses the user into a very engaging experience. As an atypical site, it does have a lot of unique usability elements, including a navigation that doubles as a scroll progress bar.
ETQ takes a very minimalistic approach to e-commerce with their site that is stripped-down with big and compelling visuals of their product. Simple, color-based, and flat backgrounds with strong typography help to keep the focus on exactly what the user came there to see, which are shoes.
4.) Mikiya Kobayashi
Mikiya is a product designer with a minimalistic portfolio that showcases his work through strong photography and subtle animations. His full site was originally created in Japanese and then translated into English, helping demonstrate the international scalability of his design.
5.) The History of Climate Change
This site follows the footsteps of Luc Jacquet as Wild-Touch takes you along a visual and educational journey about the history of global climate change. A mixture of historical media and unique animations help tell the story.
Beagle does a great job of progressively and visually telling the story of their product in a simple and easy to understand and digest way. This is a major challenge for a lot of startups, especially when they are introducing new concepts to existing markets. People want to know what the products are, how does the product work, and so on, Beagle answers all of those questions while showing off their product and compelling the user to purchase all at the same time. Also, Beagle is one of the few sites that actually implemented scroll hijacking correctly.
7.) Woven Magazine
Woven is an online publication that celebrates craftsmen, artists, and makers alike. They represent a confirmation that publications can, and should, have beautiful, engaging sites with easy to read content. Free of distractions like obtrusive ads and pop-ups, this site is all about the experience of the content itself.
8.) JOHO’s Bean
The website for JOHO’s Bean has incredible interactivity, imagery, visual design, and sound engineering. These all come together to create an emotional, compelling, and engaging site that tells the story of a coffee bean’s journey.
9.) World of SWISS
Another airline on the list, SWISS airlines built an incredibly immersive site that tells their story and describes what it is like to fly with them, and they did a great job that they could not be ignored. The site has strong visuals and animations that introduce the user to different sections of the site that are packed with information beyond the usual sales and marketing pitch that is very common today.
10.) Rainforest Guardians
Rainforest Guardians became one of the most immersive nonprofit websites of 2016. Seeking to build awareness around deforestation, the site allows users to visit the various natives, villages, and waterways that make up the Amazon Rainforest. The site puts interactivity at the center of its user experience, and it is a wise choice if your goal is to get people to connect with your cause and convert into volunteers.