by Rob Ford
So 2007 has flown by, but I think that is more a sign of my age. The older you get, the faster time flies. With the passing of every year, we see new things in life and especially on the web. A day never passes without seeing something new, even if it is minute. The hard drive in our heads never seems to fill or even need a defrag, even though mine feels like it could do with one at the moment.
Here's my last selection of sites for 2007 — hope you enjoy them!
Site by Mocoro
This site for a Swedish makeup artist is so incredibly simple, yet original and innovative at the same time. To navigate the site you drag the image in any direction (up, down, left or right) and you can then enjoy the excellent photography as well as the amazing makeup artistry on display.
Also, there are some very small icons bottom right of the screen that enable you to go for a full-screen view or watch a slideshow of the portfolio.
Site by JR Fabito
One of the most impressive websites of the year is this one, designed and developed by JR Fabito as his final project at the Academy of Art University MFA Computer Arts New Media Program.
Here you get the chance to create your very own Paper Critter, a desktop toy, and then print it out and fold/stick it together. The Toy Creator is a very advanced application that proves what is possible within the browser itself. There are numerous options to decorate your critter as well as upload your own artwork. If you lack some creative skills, just head into The Colony where you can view any of the 5000+ critters already created by others.
Site by PUSH interactive
Toshiba is behind this site aimed at students going back to school. It's an extremely colorful site, which I love, and also a fun and intriguing site — one you get sucked into to explore.
The production of this site is first class with some very groovy preloaders and delicious icons and graphics. As a builder once said to me, the kids will love it!
They call this type of campaign "edutainment." I think it leans more heavily on the entertainment side of things, but it certainly makes you curious, and that's part of the job done.
Ready? Aim. Splat! This is exactly what you can do here. Start a food fight or even ambush a friend. By selecting a healthy dish and then an opponent (grubslinger), you get the chance to hurl food at your monitor — well, almost — and enjoy the destruction of the page you're looking at. Very creative indeed.
Site by AKQA
A promotional site for the latest Halo 3 game — and one with a difference — this website is actually a real model (purposely built) where you have full control, both with your mouse and cursor keys, to explore the landscape that portrays the battle of New Mombasa.
The site has numerous hot spots that enable you to access extra content, such as videos and first-person accounts. You'll also find some 360-degree modes, which make for some extra-cool panoramic views. The haunting music and superb sound effects make this a complete package.
Go back in time to 1366, where you get to overcome the terrible challenges of the 14th century in order to brew the perfect beer. Here we have a great example of how the web is bridging the gap between film and interactive.
With five interactive films to explore and overcome, the user gets the chance to save the world from numerous dilemmas, including saving the hops from falling off the edge of the world. Each interactive video helps build the correct ingredients for the perfect beer. This is another first-class campaign for Stella Artois.
Site by: Makibishi inc.
I'd bet money that nobody will guess correctly what type of company this site is for when they first enter this very creative site from Japan.
The main character, who looks remarkably like Santa Claus, is controllable by using your mouse, with a left mouse click to help him move up the building. This site is loaded with personality and a fun vibe, and in case you still don't know what the site is for... it's for a real estate agent. It has to be the most creative site in this category ever.
This full-on multimedia experience lets you discover what makes the TurboChef oven so revolutionary, as well as giving you the chance to see some top-quality food cooked by the TurboChef himself.
This site is quite a heavy load for dial-up users (I know you're still out there), but the quality and seamless integration of video and all other elements in this site is quite amazing. Why not sit back and watch how a chocolate soufflé is made?
Site by Preloaded
This custom-built game for the UK's Science Museum will have you addicted in no time at all. As they say, "physics needn't be dull!", and this super little game not only gives you great gameplay, but it also teaches you some physics without you even realizing it.
There are 30 obstacle-filled levels to enjoy, and these are split into three sections of 10. You also have the option to create your own levels and share them with your friends. Beware, though: I lost nearly a whole Sunday on this little puppy!
This is an immersive artistic collaboration that brings to life the world of the Sci-Fi Channel's mini-series event, Tin Man. Although the site is openly inspired by Zoomquilt from 2005, this creation has taken the whole idea to new levels.
Animation and perfect ambient sound and effects add to the experience, which draws you in slowly to a number of different worlds. The transition through each world is unnoticeable, yet quite remarkable.
Don't miss the slick navigation pod located top left, as this allows you to change the speed of the zoom as well as find out more information about this project and the incredibly talented artists who came together on it.
I hope you all have had a great 2007 and that 2008 will be even better for you. The question is, what will we see more of in 2008?
Adobe AIR is looking like a very hot property, as is the next verison of Flash. Webwise, I think we will continue to see more big budgets pouring into campaigns. TV and print are struggling in a big way. I bet everyone reading this watches less telly now than they did a year ago. So expect to see more video- and motion-packed interactive sites, and rest assured that I will continue to do my best at highlighting the latest and greatest here in my Edge of Flash column.
Rob Ford founded The FWA Network in May 2000 and since then the network has received over 150 million visits. The FWA Network showcases projects that use cutting edge technology for desktop, mobile and offline, together with showcases for photography as well as video. Rob is also the author of three bestselling books of web and mobile. Check out The FWA Network.