Powered By Square1.io
It’s estimated that there are currently around 1.3 billion websites up and running in the world and over 3.8 billion people online across the globe at any one time. So this gives more than just an inkling about just how important it is to have a site that cuts through and stops a visitor in their tracks. This is especially true when it’s also been estimated by the Nielsen Norman group that if a visitor isn’t grabbed by something of interest to them within the first 20 seconds, they won’t stay on that site.
This, plus the fact that the way a website looks is the first impression any visitor will get of a business or organisation, means that it’s more important than ever to have a distinct online personality. But perhaps due to a lack of time and resources, many websites tend to follow a fairly rigid collection of templates – so it’s a refreshing change when you come across one that stands out with a distinctive style all of its own.
We’ve cherry-picked five of the best websites that stand out for their unique styles.
Belmond.com’s attractive design mirrors the up-market holidays it offers
The internet is the first port of call for people looking for a great holiday deal or a cheap flight – but perhaps less so for those looking for a luxury travel experience. But this is just what they can discover at belmond.com. It’s a collection of stunning hotels, train holidays and river cruises across the world. So if, for example, you ever want to explore the magic of Asia, they would be the people to take you there in style.
From the moment you arrive on their home page, you get a sense of the indulgent experiences they offer through the video clips that glide across the screen. On the rest of the site the text is minimal, but meaningful and completely on brand. Belmond has clearly invested heavily in photography, as eye-catching, full-width images fill the screen showing glorious views and incredible places to stay. It’s also thought very carefully about what will be going through visitors’ minds as they visit with inspirational sections under the headings Occasions and Experiences – and this also makes site navigation all the more simple. The result is site that perfectly represents the dream holidays it offers.
Click here to visit Belmond.com
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
On SFMOMA.org you can take a virtual tour of the art gallery
You’d expect an art gallery to be at the cutting edge in the way it presents itself online, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a great case in point. It’s a major cultural centre on the West Coast of the US and home to over 30,000 pieces of modern art. It also has one of the country’s leading film archives. So just like all of the world’s most visionary galleries it recognises all forms of modern art and aims to present them in the most accessible ways possible.
The SFMOMA website is not only an invaluable reference resource, but the way it’s designed gives the online visitor the impression of being in the gallery itself – such is the clean, organised nature of its design and navigability. In addition to being able to explore actual art collections online, the site uses immersive videos to make you feel like you’re strolling around the gallery with other art lovers.
Click here to visit SFMOMA.org
The Wink Bingo websites has a pop art-inspired design
Coincidentally, one of the UK’s leading online bingo sites has turned to just the sort of art that you might expect to find on SFMOMA’s walls to create a site designed to make them stand out in a very competitive market. Visit the site and you’ll find that every page features bright and vibrant pop art imagery very much in the style of Andy Warhol and Roy Liechtenstein which perfectly expresses the joy of playing – and of course winning.
Following a complete rebrand, the whole site is presented in a comic book style, complete with white backgrounds and awash with primary colours. This pop art-inspired design is fun, vibrant and familiar to visitors – and with all its exciting offers and promotions brought to life so vividly, it does a great job of standing out in its market.
Click here to visit WinkBingo.com
Sounds of the Universe
Sounds of the Universe offers an innovative way of discovering new music
With the revival of vinyl and a real proliferation of indie music – perhaps in response to the more manufactured pop that’s dominated the charts in recent years – there have been many online businesses popping up to service this new demand. Sounds of The Universe have gone a little further than most, replicating the search for new music through stacks of vinyl in an online experience.
So rather than just typing in what you’re looking for, you can actually browse through their galleries of music just like you would in a record store. Then, when you come across something of interest, you can click on the image of the sleeve to get more information about the artist as well as a full track listing. It’s a beautifully simple and innovative way of searching that can lead you to discovering gems that you might otherwise never have discovered on a site like Amazon or Spotify.
Click here to visit SoundsoftheUniverse.com
Fine Thought is a masterclass in web innovation
We’re heading Down Under to Melbourne, Australia, for our final mould-breaking site which, unsurprisingly, comes from one of the country’s leading independent web developers – Nathan Leigh Davis. The brilliance of the Fine Thought site is the way in which it completely reimagines the way that a portfolio of work can be displayed to its very best advantage.
Visitors can scroll down the background images, clicking on any that catch their eye. This then opens up a whole gallery showing the project in its entirety. With smoothly animated graphics and titles that slip on and off the page it’s the very definition of minimalist slickness – and it also couldn’t be more simply to navigate through a great deal of content. Admittedly, it’s the sort of site that would be difficult for an online retailer to emulate but in terms of sheer design and user experience it’s very hard to fault.
Click here to visit finethought.com
These five sites have one thing in common – their attention to detail when it comes to imagining a website’s design, branding and user experience. The designers and developers of these sites have clearly thought long and hard about what their visitors want and they can provide it. If only more sites were created with this kind of vision, the internet would be graced with more high-quality websites like these.