As yet another year draws to a close, I realize that as I get older, time zooms past. I guess as a kid, I always wished my days away so I could reach another birthday and be nearer to being able to drive or being an official adult. Once I reached my thirties, every year seemed to go by twice as fast, and now in my early forties, I wish time moved as slowly as it did when I was a kid.
As always, you probably wonder what the heck I am going on about, but this rapid speed of life is something we are currently witnessing in digital. I think I can say that the reset button on digital experiences was pressed about two years ago, and web developers have finally hit the ground running again.
In this issue, I put some weight behind that theory with some incredibly inspiring work from recent months.
It's not very often that a project will make you smile, let alone laugh. This Old Spice project will do both. As you load the video, you are in for a visual delight as the famous Terry Crews shows you how to make amazing music with his muscles. Once the video has finished, the fun truly starts because you can use your keyboard to control Terry and make your own muscle mix. Record and share what you have created to impress your friends. I think the only thing missing is the ability to upload your own face as well — that would definitely impress your friends.
This site is about as next-generation as you'll see. It uses Adobe Flash and the Starling framework to create an immersive and interactive 3D world. You can even use your smartphone to navigate it. This 3D world allows you to explore this French digital agency's work and chat live with everyone else who is on the site at the same time. There are also many Easter egg surprises and goodies to find. So customize your own 3D avatar and start exploring.
I never thought I'd feel the need to feature a website for a government authority, but this new site for the Milwaukee Police Department took me totally by surprise. I've seen a lot of scrolling sites this year, and this is yet another one. However, the imagery used and the subtle effects make this a true standout and, most definitely, an unforgettable website. I would have to say this is probably the best police department website on the web and maybe a pioneer in this sector.
This is the official Lexus web presence and covers 35 European countries. I can only imagine how huge a project this must have been to handle and how tough it was to manage so many different regions in one place. Superbly executed, this site works over desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. Don't miss the image quality, video, and some very impressive 360-degree visuals in the Moscow Motorshow section.
I'm not a big fan of the template style of many scrolling websites from this year, but if you are going to create a scrolling experience, this is how to do it. With stunning illustrations from Gerald Parel (a Marvel illustrator), this experience takes you on a journey, like an interactive comic book. If you want, you can click AutoPlay and sit back and enjoy, or you can take control yourself and scroll through. The sound design is commendable, but the combination of the sound and the experience makes this an extremely noteworthy website.
I'll always remember 2012 as the year of the London Olympics and Paralympics. I was lucky enough to witness three Great Britain gold medals in less than 40 minutes on what was later named Super Saturday. This website for EDF gives you seven Olympic sports that you can play on your desktop, touchscreen, or iPad. What's so innovative is that the premise of this site is EDF's Light Games, and the guys behind this project have amazingly enabled you to use the mouse light to navigate while playing the games. So you can actually pick up your mouse and point the base of it at the screen.
When I was young, I made friends with several kids who owned an Atari console. I never had one myself, but I spent a lot of time at other people's houses. Now 30 years later, this project uses HTML5 to bring back to life an entire era of original Atari classics — from Asteroids to Centipede — right in your browser. I must admit that when this link first made its way to my screen I was very skeptical about the playability and quality, but I was astonished by how smooth and realistic each game conversion was. It's also interesting to note that Microsoft allows you to play all games using an Internet Explorer browser without any ads. If you open this link in other browsers, you'll see some banner ads — quite an interesting idea and potentially quite clever.
This project is quite close to my heart because I have always had a fascination with the Moon landing on July 20, 1969, which is my birthday. With the recent passing of Neil Armstrong, this project aims to honor his remarkable life by taking the 238,900-mile voyage via Twitter to the surface of the Moon. Each tweet tagged #onesmalltweet moves the journey 100 miles closer to the Moon.
I think what excites me the most from recent months is that I am seeing a lot of experimental work again. There's a new breath of fresh air as many folks are playing with HTML5, WebGL, and other technologies. It reminds me of those first exciting years with Flash. So I hope (and I'm confident this could happen) that the next 10 years are as exciting for HTML, CSS3, WebGL, and other technologies as the last 10 years were for Flash. Go forth and experiment.
Rob Ford founded The FWA Network in May 2000. Since then, the network has received more than 150 million visits. The FWA Network showcases projects that use cutting-edge technology for desktop, mobile, and offline experiences, together with showcases for photography as well as video. Rob is also the author of three best-selling books on web and mobile. Check out The FWA Network.