by Rob Ford
Since the 1990s, I have been on the front line of web design. My day-to-day job has involved finding and showcasing the best of the web and sites that push the boundaries. I don't just play around with these sites in my spare time — this is all I do and all I have done for more than ten years. That puts me in a good position to see what is happening on the web, especially in terms of web design and development.
One of the biggest problems FWA suffers from these days is having too much amazing Flash content to officially recognize. We currently have more than 40 sites waiting for awards. In the past, we would have only 7–10 in reserve. That speaks volumes. Sure, I've seen seen some great HTML5 and WebGL stuff, but that is purely experimental at the moment. I am keeping my finger on the pulse of other technologies because FWA is all about showcasing the best creativity, no matter what tools are used.
It will be interesting to see what the web is like in another five or ten years. In the meantime, let me show you some cool Flash sites.
I wasn't expecting the experience I had when I first opened this site. It's a huge piece of detailed work, which is a promotional tool for Greenpeace. The idea is that you will visit the site, which takes the form of a boat, and then you will purchase a piece of the boat. The donations will help Greenpeace build the new Rainbow Warrior. The boat has been broken down into many levels, with thousands of pieces available to buy. It's staggering the amount of work that must have gone into this site.
To see the video reel demonstration of this site, visit www.thefwa.com/site/greenpeace-a-new-warrior and click REEL.
This site was part of the Red Nose Day charity appeal. With Katy Perry on board, success was all but guaranteed. Using a stunning image of Katy, this site, which is similar to the Greenpeace site, enables users to buy a piece of Katy's virtual body, with each donation going to the appeal. The high-resolution quality makes this an unforgettable site, especially with the ability to zoom right into the life-sized Katy. This visually stunning implementation of a simple idea, with social overtones, makes this site a very worthy project.
To see the video reel demonstration of this site, visit www.thefwa.com/site/pieces-of-katy and click REEL.
The world has gone mad for social projects, and here we have yet another one. This interactive live drawing board enables you to meet other people online in a segment of this ongoing illustration. Each section is drawn with eight pens. Each user controls one of the pens. Everything you see happening on the wall is in real time, making this site quite addictive. There are also some very impressive illustrations as well as the customary naughty or tongue-in-cheek drawings.
To see the video reel demonstration of this site, visit www.thefwa.com/site/edding-wall-of-fame and click REEL.
Site by MediaMonks
Let me set the scene. You are on the side of a snow-covered mountain, and it's time to explore the latest gear for the terrain. By navigating up or down, you will find suitable clothing and accessories. As you head up to the peak, you will meet Jeremy Jones — the man, the myth, the legend. This site also boasts some great effects and animations. I love the idea of navigating up and down the mountainside, plus you have a quick menu in case you want to jump straight to a specific area.
To see the video reel demonstration of this site, visit www.thefwa.com/site/team-o-neill and click REEL.
Site by Scholz & Friends Berlin
It has been a while since I have seen such a great interactive digital pop-up book. The whole premise of this site — and most pop-up-style interactive experiences — is to suck the user in to explore. This site certainly does that. Click the hot spots to explore each section, and enjoy some beautiful transitions between each new pop-up area. This is definitely a site to just click around on — there are many treats and surprises in store.
To see the video reel demonstration of this site, visit www.thefwa.com/site/millas-welt-milla-s-world and click REEL.
Site by Enigmind
Here's your chance to explore IBM's virtual technology lab in a 3D first-person experience. Much like you would expect from a video game, this site has many great areas to explore with plenty of rewarding finds along the way. Even though this is another site that does not have an English version, I am confident you will find this easy to explore, especially if you have a good broadband connection. Use your cursor keys to move around.
To see the video reel demonstration of this site, visit www.thefwa.com/site/ibm-sector7 and click REEL.
Site by EVB
Now you can visit basketball legend Kobe's town in this Nike spectacular. Use the interactive tools from his most fearless moments to create a poster that can then be seen in lights at Staples Center, in Hollywood, or in three other explorable neighborhoods. This campaign has been crafted with excellent attention to detail and top-quality production values. As with many sites these days, you can also connect via your Facebook account for a more social experience.
To see the video reel demonstration of this site, visit www.thefwa.com/site/nike-paint-the-town-black-mamba and click REEL.
Site by Symbio Digital
Let's finish up with some fun with Chuckville. This is a tribute to Chuck Norris where you get the chance to fight the legend himself. You can explore the world with your cursor keys or do what we have all wanted to do: fight Chuck. First you need to create your very own warrior by using the tools provided and uploading your face. Once you have a warrior, you can go head to head in streetfighter style. Of course, if you adopt my special technique of pressing all the buttons at once, you are bound to unleash a special move and win.
To see the video reel demonstration of this site, visit www.thefwa.com/site/chuckville and click REEL.
Here we are again with another epilogue. I do sometimes wonder what people must think when they read my ramblings. I guess the membrane in my mind that decides whether or not to say something is thinner than most. I hope that makes my writing interesting. All I want to say here is that life is passing us all by very quickly. The Internet is still in its infancy. Do not follow the crowd and try to be trendy with a certain technology or code. Do your own thing. As long as you have passion and enjoy what you are doing, you might well create the next Twitter or Facebook.
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.