by Rob Ford
According to the Edge managing editor, this column continues to be a big hit with readers: subscriber feedback is positive, and click-through numbers are healthy. Speaking of numbers, the site I founded and continue to manage, The FWA, is about to receive its 20,000,000th visitor since the project launched in May of 2000.
Numbers and statistics often provide incentive to make your project the best it can be. Such data helps you focus and go the extra mile, which is something the following great websites have in common.
Mercedes-Benz R-Class, Six journeys
Site by Site by Agency Republic
These days, it's rare to come across a site that tells a story. In fact, I have just finished writing a book in which one of the categories is sites that tell a story. Finding only four examples was unbelievably difficult, but this gem for Mercedes-Benz stood out as being original and different.
This site presents six unique perspectives from leading writers, including James Herbert (the horror writer). Each story is brought to life through some lovely animation and illustrations that make each journey one of discovery.
I thought twice about including this site because it's been such a huge success with massive viral impact that there's a good chance many of you will have already seen it. But, if you haven't, you are in for a visual treat.
monoface was created as a New Year's card for Minneapolis-based mono with a very simple idea. Each staff member had a head shot taken, which was then broken into parts: mouth, nose, head, and each eye.
While that may sound gruesome, this site is anything but. It will definitely make you smile. So start clicking; there are 759,375 possible faces.
Horses give everything
Here’s another example of, "Is it a bird, or is it a plane?" I'm talking video again. This is a video for an advertisement with some behind-the-scenes footage.
You may wonder what makes it so special. Simply put, it's one of the first examples of full-screen FLV that I have seen. It's processor heavy — a warning if you have a Vic 20 — but for those with faster machines, enjoy what you will be seeing much more of in the coming year.
I'm a cyborg but that's ok
Site by Site by d.o.E.S.
I must warn you before sending you to this site that the connection to this server can be poor at times. I believe the file is about 5MB, which isn’t big by today's standards, but it can take a long time to load at certain times of the day.
This is a promotional site for a Korean film, luckily with an English version. It uses the metaphor of a pop-up book. The whole premise is wonderful and features superb pop-up effects and great complementary sound and music. You can even interact in some of the areas. One area gives you the chance to roll a die and move around on a game board.
This is one of the most original movie sites I have ever seen.
Bellecour Art Schools
Site by Site by Diplomatic-Cover
With spring fast approaching, I had to include this site for one of the best art schools in France. Once you visit this site, you will see what I mean. It’s a fresh, airy site that captures that new and exciting time of year when the first buds open.
It boasts green pastures and lovely blue skies as well as some impressive 3D elements and a general clean and polished design. Incidentally, one team member who created this site actually went to this art school, which is a testament to its teaching skills.
If you speak French, you'll get more out of this site.
Site by Site by Mathieu Badimon
Kudos to Mathieu Badimon for taking on the experimental torch, a torch that does not burn as brightly as it did some years ago. His site is pixel perfect and shows off an array of what may seem like simple experiments that can be achieved with Flash® and some serious scripting.
Corner Drag is one of my favorite experiments. When I look at it, I wonder how it may be used in the future. I'm sure we will see twists on many of Mathieu's experiments become everyday design tricks in the future.
Site by Site by Red Keds Studio
It's not often that we get to see great sites from Russia, but this site for the Russian arm of Converse trainers is so weird and wacky that I had to include it in this issue.
There's so much going on here that it could easily confuse many. Luckily, the target teenage audience is inquisitive and interactive and will love the site for its playfulness. With a sticky menu that I haven't seen for quite some time, you'll gain access to all areas of the site.
The novel preloader for each section is something you likely haven’t seen before, and the ambient sounds and random animations create a highly entertaining experience.
I spy with my little eye
Site by Site by Achtung!
It's time to have your eyes opened, and this site will leave you with something to ponder.
SIRE is a foundation for noncommercial campaigns for urgent issues in society. Here, they draw attention to the shocking number of children in the Netherlands who are suffering while no one notices.
I'm not going to go into detail because I want you to experience this site first-hand. It's a hard-hitting campaign that really conveys its message.
It’s hard to follow the I Spy site with a brilliant wrap-up. However, you can now see how powerful and useful the Internet has become as a way to raise awareness and educate people on tough issues that many of us never encounter.
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.