by Rob Ford
This edition of The Edge of Flash completes a full year of columns from me, highlighting what I consider to be the most innovative and exciting sites that I have seen. I hope you enjoy what I write and the sites I talk about. Please do feel free to drop me a line with any feedback or comments through the FWA website's contact page.
I'm thinking about devoting an issue or two to specific types of sites, so if you have a particular area you'd like to see me cover, just let me know.
So, on to this issue's Edge of Flash... another random selection of sites I think you'll enjoy for one reason or another. One in particular is random in itself, so I think I'll start with that one.
Site by projector
The UNIQLOCK is yet another impressive piece of global marketing/branding from the clothing company UNIQLO. We have already seen numerous creative microsites from this company, including UNIQLO, USA and UNIQLO MIXPLAY.
The UNIQLOCK incorporates music and dance with a world clock. Full-screen video clips, combined with a very catchy tune, make this a site that can quite happily sit on your desktop while you get on with other work. Well, it works for me...
One of the site's highlights is the World UNIQLOCK, which shows all of the sites in the world that have downloaded and added the clock to their own sites and blogs.
A completely UNIQ experience!
Site by Fi
It's the first full Flash blog I have seen that has impressed me, and it is growing and evolving almost by the day. It's nice to finally see a blog where everything lives within the site and doesn't rely on YouTube for video and other external apps and widgets for its content.
Seamless integration has always been something I have promoted, and think swedish is totally seamless. Functionality is excellent, with attention to detail being obvious. Definitely worth a bookmark to see how this platform develops and also worthy for the content alone, as the Fi employees seem to be keeping this blog fresh with interesting and thought-provoking content.
Here's a site you have to be prepared to spend some time exploring. This is not a website, it is an experience. It's one of those rare sites where the second visit is actually more compelling than the first.
You get the chance to be a voyeur and get a glimpse into the lives and apartments of everyday New Yorkers. Make sure you don't miss the small building icon at the top of the interface as this will open up your experience to even more stories.
This site has the potential to be very addictive and also could create voyeuristic tendencies... so beware!
Site by ATTIK
This is not the first pop-up book–style website we have seen this year, but it's certainly one of the best. The visuals are very impressive indeed. The Book of Deviants is a chapter-by-chapter game of sorts where you, as the user, have to help the Little Deviants take back the city from the boredom and conformity of the Sheeple.
It's sometimes a gruesome tale, but steeped in humor, and is another level in the promotional campaign for the Scion xD from Toyota.
Site by RED Interactive Agency
This is yet another immersive site of the viral game variety. What particularly impresses me about this site is the quality of production from RED. The graphics, sound effects, and all the wonderful interactive games make this a tough but must-see site.
This mysterious game — which asks: Who is Ethan Haas? — has progressed since its release a few months ago. You can find out more about the whole campaign here.
Site by Euro RSCG 4D (UK)
Global warming, going green, and carbon footprints are definitely high up in the news these days, especially here in the UK. This government initiative has been set up to allow people to calculate their own carbon footprint, while giving them advice along the way on how to change their lifestyles and save on energy and emissions.
Whilst most government initiatives are often dull, boring, and loaded with gray political spiel, this site is actually very creative and extremely well produced. From the very moment the site has loaded, you notice its creativity when you see a street made up of houses and cars that are not quite as we know them.
Users outside the UK might have to use the sample postcode displayed on the site to fully access the CO2 Calculator.
Site by FL2
FL2 is consistently producing innovative and progressive sites for its clients. This site for Vision Streetwear might just seem like another full-screen Flash video experience but, if you look closer and explore the navigation, you will find it's a unique way of showcasing a brand.
Click Products, and then choose any of the product links, like The Duke. Notice how the full-screen video now focuses on the item of footwear? Such a simple idea, but the first time I have seen this — and I bet it won't be the last!
This is the second issue of The Edge of Flash in a row in which I have featured an Artificialduck Studios site — this one for the fashion brand Marc Aurel. The quality of this production is first class with the focus, quite rightly, on the latest season of the collection.
Users can either explore the Fall/Winter 2007 collection or go deeper into the navigation and choose the Lookbook, which has an excellent zoom feature for those great close-up shots.
This site is geared up for every new season of Marc Aurel's collection, so it's a worthy bookmark to see how the site transforms each season.
Site by B-U-T
We are seeing more and more of these 3D enhanced experiences, but I for one am not getting bored with them yet. This one, for DuPont's activities in the energy sector, offers users the chance to explore, from the Oil Refinery right down to the seabed.
The 3D work is totally captivating and it makes sure you explore the entire site. I think this site could've even gone a stage further with more time and a bigger budget, so that all sections of information were shown in video rather than static text and images. However, having said that, I still think it's a first-class production.
Site by imaginative inc.
A lighthearted way to finish this column is with a site that at first I thought ... ugh, and then I was thinking ... oh, yes, this is very cool!
I'm deliberately not going to explain what this site does or what it is about, as it will be interesting to see if you have the same change of emotion that I did.
All I will say is that you need a good connection as it's a large load, and that you must watch at least one of the videos in full. You'll know when you have experienced this as you were meant to. ;)
Finally, check out the Life Remixer if you have a webcam... super cool idea.
Well, a year on from my first Adobe column and another epilogue. It's late August here in the UK, a Sunday morning and we're having one of the worst summers on record, with many areas of England experiencing the worst floods in living memory.
It makes you realize what a wonderful escape the Internet is sometimes when sites, like many of those above, can take you to another place where all real-life stresses and emotions are forgotten for the moment.
The Internet has certainly changed my life and given me a direction I never dreamed of when I was renovating and project managing an old theater conversion into a bingo hall back in the early nineties.
I often find that some people take the Internet too seriously and get embroiled in forum wars and negativity (see Real Life Vs. Internet on YouTube), but for most of us who enjoy the positive side of the web, it's a place of unimaginable creativity that can put a smile on your face every day and inspire you on to greater things.
Did I just have a moment there?!
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.