How do you define a beautiful website? What does it take for a web design to be transformed into a beautiful website? What does beautiful mean when developing a website? I`ll try to answer all these questions for you by showcasing some of the websites I consider being the best of the best.
I can`t just lay out a list of websites without justifying my choices. So I decided to share with you the guidelines I`m following when selecting items that I find to be some of the most beautiful websites in the world.
The Core Features of Beautiful Websites
It`s all about the idea behind the website. The concept of a beautiful website has to be based on out-of-the-box ideas, from the first screen to the last page of the website. The most popular concepts are those based on storytelling. Long scrolling and interactive content have the role to immerse users into the story.
The overall look and feel of a website is the first thing that users see so it has to stand out. We see gorgeous, dramatic typefaces, unique navigation concepts, HD visuals, vibrant colors all laid out on a flat, minimalist canvas. Every single detail is carefully crafted to make sure that users are having a great time browsing the website.
Take interactions as the glue between the design elements. They`re the salt and pepper of a great website. To mention a few: animations(usually, you spot them on page load or page scroll but a great website comes up with animations on elements you didn`t know it`s possible to animate), page transitions, loading screens and preloaders, parallax effects, typography effects. On the other side, there is the user overall interaction with the website.
Whether if we`re speaking about storytelling websites or interactive websites, the user has a role in discovering the content of the website. A great website makes you feel like you`re in a subtle RPG game and you have to discover what`s all about it. If you experience that feeling, you know that you`re on a website worth sharing. That`s what I call a truly great user experience!
“It`s not about the content, it`s about the way the content is revealed to you”.
These being said, here`s my top 10 list with the best websites you could browse in 2016.
Alexandre Rochet is a very talented french designer and I can say it by just browsing his portfolio website. The execution is absolutely flawless, starting with the intro accompanied by a minimal background song to the rich animations and on-scroll interactions from the project pages. The unique time-based navigation between projects is the testimony that nothing is left to chance.
Not too many years ago, retro was the king of trends in web design. I`m thrilled to see influences of the style back in these days. Camdentown Brewery did a great job showcasing their products based on old and new.
Camdentown Brewery is nothing but an example of a perfect mix between graphics, typography, and style.
Sirin Labs presents their latest product, Solarin, a high-performance smartphone packed with tomorrow`s technology. And what a great way to showcase it. The website`s visuals and interactions could serve as a great piece of inspiration for those young and ambitious film students looking to overtake JJ Abrams.
Pharell Williams is that type of guy who raises a smile on your face no matter what he`s doing. And his personal website has the same effect. Playful colors and joyful typography placed in cards which seem to be shaped by kids create the illusion of a timeless website which makes me feel like a room without a roof…word!
Diadora: Bright Delivery
Today`s advertising and brand awareness campaigns are amazing pieces of creativity. From messages written by cars tires which can be seen from out of space to Volvo trucks remotely driven by kids, Diadora couldn`t stay behind and came up with “Bright Delivery”. The idea was to deliver a pair of shoes from Diadora HQ, Italy to Barcelona, Spain. 1500km and 70 runners later, the pair of shoes arrives at the destination. But check out the website to discover the story and experience the run.
To celebrate the iconic fiftieth edition of IFLY KLM Magazine, KLM partnered with Born05 Agency to create the ultimate travel collection of 50 most beautiful places in the world which you could visit. The website takes the long scrolling approach with 50 sliding panels triggered on scrolling. Fullscreen images blend with dramatic typography and subtle animation to create a user experience worth sharing.
200 Miles presents the story of the best movie of the year, The Revenant, in a very intriguing and captivating way. Using high definition visuals blended with rich animated inspirational quotes, users are immersed in the wilderness and placed side by side with the hero following him in the quest of surviving.
While events and conference websites aren`t exactly known for their great designs, Epicurrence raised the bar to a whole new level with the website which presents the 2016`s event. Big typography, flat design, rich animations, vibrant colors, this website has them all. No wonder that the event was sold out! Looking forward to seeing what they`ll come up with next year.
Le Dernier Gaulois
Not only Le Dernier Gaulois is a daring concept, but it has an outstanding execution above our understanding of web design. This is the story of Apator, the last and legendary Gallic, a story narrated through 6 absolutely amazing scrolling episodes. This is one of those gorgeous websites which truly immerses users into the action.
Resn takes a different approach than what we`re used to seeing on a portfolio website. This is one of those dark websites full of rich animations and HD visuals which makes you feel like you`re on a different planet while browsing it. For sure, one of the best-designed websites for portfolio you could stumble upon.
The above examples were chosen based on a series of guidelines related to nowadays` web design best practices and trends. However, this post was created on a very subjective note, based on my experience as a web designer. In other words, I`m sure that there are tons of other beautiful websites worth mentioned and added to the list. These being said, feel free to share them with me in the comments section below!