How many websites have you visited today? how about this week? this year? The answer is probably, ‘a heck of a lot’. Now, think again about these websites, how many of these do you remember? If you’re like most people, you probably use a handful of websites a lot: services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, shops like Amazon or eBay and your local/national news service. News websites have replaced newspapers in the same way that hobby websites, in decades gone by, would have been your monthly magazine subscriptions.
As well as these massively popular services, there are probably many other websites you visit less often: businesses you work with or for, specialist retailers or information sources. Where the service websites (sites which offer a primary function), tend to have rather plain, unique, function-based designs — these second kinds of websites are effectively ‘blank slates’ which can be designed, decorated and displayed in any number of unique ways.
On the Sleeky blog this week: we take a look at six websites which leave their more serious aspects to one-side and allow their personality to shine.
In the 21st century, not only do many users of the internet have a large variety of screen-sizes, but they also come from a vast range of backgrounds and locations. As internet-ready technology (and high-speed internet) gets cheaper and more pervasive, the range of web technologies that can be deployed to make a great impression increases. This means that websites can make use of advanced gestures such as finger-scrolling animations, tapping or swiping instead of mouse or keyboard controls.
The ‘For Better Coffee’ website is an interactive infographic. As the user scrolls down the page, the website tells an illustrated story of a singular coffee-bean — all the way from bean to cup. These kinds of HTML5 illustration have become popular in recent years since Flash has been phased-out from mobile designs. The clean, brightly coloured flat illustrations make for an appealing storytelling opportunity.
The website for communications thought-leader Leila McGlew is literally a blank-slate to begin with. Once you move your mouse or tap your finger, a broad stroke of emoji appear on the screen to gradually reveal Leila’s contact information. This website is memorable and fun to use, taking a commitment from the user in order to reveal its secrets.
Australian songwriter Iggy Azalea made use of music-service ‘Made You A Mixtape’ to provide her fans with a special treat. The ‘Iggy Made You a Mixtape’ website allows music fans to drag-and-drop cassette tapes into a digital tape player and listen to exclusive productions from the musician. This is a great example of how interactive websites can create an exciting and memorable experience for users.
Not only has increasingly powerful technology given web designers more memory and better processing power to innovate with, but the sheer number of websites online has increased dramatically. It’s now more important than ever to stand out from the competition. In a global economy where businesses compete with companies in other nations that they are unlikely ever to meet, what better way to stand out than to bring your unique personality into the mix?
Forward-thinking Gateshead Furrowfield School make use of bright colours and appealing illustrations in their eye-catching website. This responsive site is both informative and intriguing with large, bold menu options and clean navigation. The Furrowfield School website stands out with a large palette of warm colours and large, chunky illustrations.
Independent London-based type design-house Gibson’s Type Foundry make use of clear, white-space and bold colours to advertise their original typefaces. Each of their available type-faces are shown off with playful, well-designed illustrations and practical examples. Every page on their website is rounded-off with a thought-provoking and intriguing quote.
Photographer Luke Stephenson toured Great Britain in his camper-van to photograph ninety-nine Mr. Whippy’s (a.k.a. ’99’s) to make note of the regional differences and the human touches which set these iconic British seaside institutions apart. The website for the finished project includes an embedded YouTube video and a muted, almost pastel-coloured look which evokes seaside holidays and days-out to the beach.
Although your website content may be dry, it’s still possible to consider the response your readers make when they land on your website. It’s possible to make your readers happy to have landed on your website with original and sleek design. You can also use your website to stand out from your competition and give your readers a better idea of your personality. If your website is memorable, so too will be your brand.
Words by Kerri Mark Sharp
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