3 Cool Pieces of Design that Show Websites are still Innovating


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4The Internet is getting old. As mentioned in another blog this week, there are adults in the world who have never known a world without the worldwide web. That’s an amazing, if slightly scary, thought for people who remember the first time they heard the screech of a modem. That thought also has scary implications for the Internet itself, it’s been around so long that we’re pretty used to it.

When you visit a website for the first time these days, you’ll be pretty clear on how to navigate it. You’ll expect links in a sidebar or header, a feature image, banner and some text content. You’ll be clear on which links do what; ‘About’ for more information, ‘FAQ’ for basic queries. You’ll also know pretty much straight away whether you like the site or not. Whenever technology reaches the point that it becomes commonplace it can go one of two ways, innovation or boredom. Over the past year or so, innovation has been gathering pace in some quarters of the web, with HTML5.

The latest upgrade of online coding’s standard language, opens up plenty of possibilities for the budding designer. Spurred on by endorsements from the late Steve Jobs, the language’s adoption has been gathering pace for a while. More and more beautiful new sites are appearing that show off the creative possibilities offered by HTML5. Let’s look at three of our favourites.

Milwaukee Police Department

This website is instantly striking for two reasons. The first is the stunning HDR photos that adorn the background. It really is an amazing looking site. The next thing that strikes you is that it really is the official website of the Milwaukee Police Department. You expect these sites to be dull, facts & figure based borefests, but this site is beautiful, interesting and even inspiring.

The site was built for free by local web designers, but it’s far from just a design portfolio. While it can take a second to adapt your eyes to the unfamiliar design, the site makes great use of the space available. The important pieces of text are really well highlighted and standout beautifully from the backgrounds. Whether you’re in Milwaukee and need some info, or you just want to be surprised by the Internet, it’s well worth a visit.

Wanda Productions

There is only one word for this site, beautiful. And it’s even better because it’s beautiful in it’s simplicity. Wanda Productions is a commercial and music video production company, so they already have a design pedigree, but this is just gorgeous. The site has a standard sidebar, with your usual links and search, that remains in situ while you scroll down the page.

The beauty comes from the central content, the video. Each one is represented by a high quality, full-page image with a title card that fades to reveal a play button when you scroll over it. The videos play seamlessly on the page, with no frame, no video player box. Just moving images. I may be gushing a little, so I’ll stop and just suggest you try it for yourself.

Joint London

This site is cool for completely different reasons to the first two. The others combine big, bold images with sensible navigation decisions to make great places to be. Joint, on the other hand, have produced a site that is intentionally obtuse but just as fun as the others. The site just has a really experimental feel. Like you’ve stumbled into a smoky bar where they’re playing free jazz that won’t make sense to anyone for another 10 years. But it works.

The first thing you’re presented with is a split screen with ‘About’ on one side and ‘Us’ on the other. I’m a bit of a sucker for Meta gags like that and the rest of the site has a similar feel. Navigation involves clicking blocks that describe the next screen and become back buttons once you’ve clicked on them. It really is a unique navigation experience.

The Internet is becoming a common, familiar and comfortable place to be. That mixture can sometimes lead to things getting stale. Thankfully though, with designs like these, the web is still as fresh as it was when connection speeds were 52K per second and you had to disconnect your phone to get online.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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