The thing about the web is that it’s so much part of everyday life that it’s become wallpaper – we know it’s there but we don’t notice the details. So when asked to think of websites they like, or dislike, or have felt anything at all about, most people are a bit stumped.
Of course, as the old saying goes “good design is invisible”, so it makes sense that in compiling this list we found it easier to remember sites that got it horribly wrong than ones that got it right, but that’s a post for another day.
One sub-set of websites which really are getting it right is app websites. Okay, so they have it easy – when you’ve only got one product to talk about, and you’re only driving users towards one point, there are less concerns than if you’re trying to make a huge corporate website aesthetically pleasing and usable. But still. Here’s our list of sites we like and admire (this week, at least):
www.cisco.com For a vast company with a massive scope, a well organised menu system enables users to find what they’re looking for in a way that’s actually well-thought out and intuitive. It’s tabbed mega-menus are almost small web-pages in themselves, and could be a nightmare to navigate, but good attention to the usability side of things makes them just right. A vast amount of information presented in a pleasingly simple way – that’s great website design. (Also despite being a vast corporate, Cisco has allowed its website to have just a little bit of character and flair – and that goes a long way too)
www.i-escape.com – Spending a lot of time online, you get very fed up with same-old-same-old. Holiday sites are often guilty of providing some inspirational pictures and a search function, and maybe a list of places going cheap this week – and leaving you to figure out the rest for yourself. I-escape is a really nice break from that, putting a new spin on the standard holiday search, and offering inspiration by holiday types, and really giving the feeling that someone somewhere has really thought this through.
www.envato.com – This clean, bright, one-page scrolling design is an inspiration. From an Aussie team with lots of big online ideas; getting the design side of things right is just one reason why Envato are doing so well.
www.dribbble.com – What are you working on? Okay, so show and tell for designers might not fascinate anyone who’s not….well, a designer; but dribbble is a great idea, well realised.
www.realmacsoftware.com – Remember those app websites we mentioned? Well, Realmac Software have done a lovely job with a suite of three apps on one website – each of which is fabulous in its simplicity, presenting each app in a clear, engaging way, with great use of colour, fonts and icons.