100 Best Designed Websites (2012)

Over the past few years, I have posted two lists of my top 10 favourite site designs. (Here’s my original (old) list, and a more recent top 10 from 2010.)

2012’s review is here – and this time it’s a big one!

 ONE HUNDRED User Voted

 Best Designed Websites of 2012

100 Best Designed Websites 2012


My existing “Top 10” pages rank really well and get a lot of visits (40,000 per month?) All the sites on the below final 100 list can expect extra visits.

Plus they’ll get a “Voted Top 100 Best Designed Websites” award for extra bragging rights.


What Was I Looking For?

What is “best designed”?

Thrive Leads: Build Your Mailing List

Of course, everyone will have their own definition. Let me give you the one I used.

First, it did not necessarily mean that you liked it, or that it showed impressive graphics skill (although that may be the case).

I want to see pages that fulfilled their purpose excellently – whatever the purpose of the page may be…

  • to sell
  • to entertain
  • to inform
  • to communicate
  • or to help you find stuff

I want to promote and reward the very best websites – the ones that have been consciously designed to deliver on specific goals.

I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with this list now.. I may make an ebook, maybe some videos. Let’s see. Please feel to post your suggestions.


Here’s My List

In no particular order, all from reader suggestions! Check out the comments on this post for all the back & forth discussion…

  1. http://bearandmary.com/
  2. http://eyesopen.org.uk/
  3. http://www.themezilla.com/
  4. http://www.onesothebysrealty.com/
  5. http://www.freshbooks.com/uk/
  6. http://www.ncover.com/
  7. http://www.mcmaster.com/
  8. http://git-scm.com/
  9. http://www.intel.com/museumofme/en_US/r/index.htm
  10. http://moodstream.gettyimages.com/
  11. http://waterlife.nfb.ca/
  12. http://incident57.com/codekit/
  13. http://www.detroitventurepartners.com
  14. http://www.sosfactory.com/
  15. http://morehazards.com/
  16. http://www.mediacake.net/
  17. http://www.portent.com/
  18. http://www.eyre-design.co.uk/
  19. http://www.ozarks.edu/
  20. http://www.htc.com/uk/
  21. http://www.shopkick.com
  22. http://www.koozai.com/
  23. http://moneyasyougrow.org/
  24. http://www.bidsketch.com/
  25. http://www.ebuyer.com/
  26. http://rafaltomal.com/
  27. http://www.timeforcake.com/
  28. http://www.oxfam.org.uk/
  29. http://www.bbc.co.uk/
  30. http://www.copyblogger.com/
  31. http://www.harveynichols.com/
  32. http://www.designcodeplay.co.uk/
  33. http://www.6wunderkinder.com/
  34. http://www.playingwithfire.com/
  35. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/
  36. http://tutsplus.com/
  37. http://dribbble.com/
  38. http://www.foundationsix.com/
  39. http://www.lightcms.com/
  40. http://www.sites4contractors.com/
  41. http://feefighters.com/
  42. http://www.shetlandgallery.com/
  43. http://www.skiary.com/
  44. http://lemonstandapp.com/
  45. http://logopond.com/
  46. https://www.mint.com/
  47. http://jquerytools.org/
  48. http://www.crookedlakecottagedevon.co.uk/
  49. http://www.dollarshaveclub.com/
  50. http://www.352media.com
  51. http://www.click71.com/
  52. http://www.jasonreedwebdesign.com/ (hey, it disappeared, bummer!)
  53. http://companieshouse.gov.uk/
  54. http://www.novatech.co.uk/
  55. http://www.microsoft.com/
  56. http://www.getthefive.com/
  57. http://www.worryfreelabs.com/
  58. http://electricpulp.com/
  59. http://www.gpotato.com/
  60. http://www.coffeecup.com/
  61. http://go.magento.com/
  62. http://www.betabrand.com/
  63. http://www.harrisonappliance.com/
  64. http://www.magiciansforweddings.co.uk/
  65. http://www.bottlerocketapps.com/
  66. http://www.exhibitiondesign.com/
  67. http://www.airbnb.com/
  68. http://www.squarespace.com/
  69. http://www.apple.com/
  70. http://www.d10studio.com.mx/
  71. http://www.slidedeck.com/
  72. http://venturi-web-design.com/
  73. http://www.behance.net/
  74. http://www.stationfour.com/
  75. http://www.sarahpeterswebdesign.com/
  76. http://seo-consultant-london.com/
  77. http://www.ghosthorses.co.uk/
  78. http://jenkinstownmotors.com/
  79. http://www.alfredapp.com/
  80. http://get.wunderkit.com
  81. http://getpremise.com/
  82. http://www.darasgarden.com/
  83. http://mayday.wherespresso.com/
  84. http://www.channel4.com/news/
  85. http://thinktraffic.net/
  86. http://websynthesis.com/
  87. http://www.communityelf.com/
  88. http://www.mesacc.edu/
  89. http://www.able2wear.co.uk/
  90. http://www.downloadandprint.com/
  91. http://www.legalzoom.com/
  92. http://www.logitech.com/
  93. http://www.pencilneck.com/
  94. http://www.hubspot.com/
  95. http://forefathersgroup.com/
  96. http://www.yesware.com/
  97. http://www.f-stop.co.nz/
  98. http://www.paymo.biz/
  99. http://cakephp.org/
  100. http://rhyth.im/

Reserve List (nearly)

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben has over 20 years' experience in web design and marketing, and is one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written a bunch of books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally.In 2015, Ben created Open-Source Marketing, which promises to turn the practice of marketing upside down.. Find out more at http://opensourcemarketingproject.org

Katya - 3 years ago

http://bearandmary.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I really like this. The initial experience is inviting, immediate, and friendly. The text layout isn’t perfect, and there are some English errors, but that’s all OK. What matters is there.

    Added to my working list :-)

    ajay doke - 3 years ago

    nice…
    designs and communications are clear.
    liked it.

    Tim Reader - 3 years ago

    Ethical creative agency in Hampstead, London: http://provokateur.com/

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Good enough for the shortlist. The design is really solid, but I do have a personal allergy to detached verbs: “Believe, Look, Think, Watch”… what do they tell me? Nothing at all.

    Vanessa - a couple of years ago

    http://www.fromthestash.com

      Ben Hunt - a couple of years ago

      Almost.. It’s great to see the bold “exactly what we do” headline/strapline.

      However there are some mistakes, like the navigation is hard to read, and intro slide #1 really isn’t readable. I can’t say it’s up there with the best.

    Tomas - a couple of years ago

    the http://bearandmary.com/ did not displayed correctly in mine Firefox. neither in Chrome. I have managed to get text not to over-lap in opera, to get a chance to read the text with nice design.
    It is common for middle size company admits to disable Internet explorer (to prevent comment code injection from running forums) to which is Internet explorer liable even on a proper websites (known cases from ads)…
    The website needs more work on a coding site in order for it to reach the quality of its original design and fight for tops.

    I recommend http://www.udacity.com Which helped many people searching for brain fulfilment way to go forward including those which could not otherwise.
    Although has a reasonable graphics and realy effective content doing what others tried but far more effectively. Design started last year, but many changes are done at all times…

      Ben Hunt - a couple of years ago

      Thanks Tomas. Udacity is certainly extremely clear, but I found it quite cold. There’s no human presence, and I was left feeling it could have been more friendly.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Sorry, nothing that stands out among that group.

    ajay doke - 3 years ago

    aucc.edu.gh
    i saw this site. goood.
    i didn’t see course details. this is excepted by the students frequently.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      The background behind the content is too busy, distracting the eye from what matters – the content!
      Otherwise, it’s a nicely presented page.

Robby Elliott - 3 years ago

Hi Ben & team

We’ve just completed this one after many months of hardwork. It’s our first full e-commerce site. Feedback welcome.

Hope it makes your top 100. It would be amazing and be a massive boost to our fledgling business.

Kind regards

Robby
Web Designer (not graphic designer 😉

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Robby. I can’t add http://www.glassesgalore.co.uk to the list. It would need something to make it stand out from the crowd.
    I liked the initial photography, but the logo is doing a bit too much, and the general page design features tend to be a bit too heavy.
    There are a lot of high-contrast edges, making the page a bit tiring to look at for long.

smartylogo - 3 years ago

New http://www.smartylogo.com and also http://www.smartylogo.com/members is based on same design.

Please review it and vote!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Interesting, SmartyLogo feels like an Elegant Theme for WordPress to me, with all the silver grey.
    I found the initial experience a bit thin.. There’s a lot of empty space, the small text is distant and the graphics are not that impacting.

Allan - 3 years ago

Fab.com is elegant, airy and
unobstructive.

It’s a pleasure to use.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Allan, I don’t get on with that site at all, on first visit. It doesn’t do what a store is meant to do, which is to promote its wares. I was faced with two dialog boxes in succession, at which point I gave up.

    Joanna Wiebe - 3 years ago

    The challenge with Fab.com is that you have to be a member before you can use the site. I agree with Allan that, once you start using it, the site is very clean-looking and simple to use.

testingmouse - 3 years ago

http://www.penzugyiszakertok.com/ – informations in hungarian lenguage about how-to-save money for ur future

http://artistpub.hu/ -bcoz i like it :)and im using it everyday

http://www.cssbeauty.com/ -about using css for nice, and clear rewards

i dont a have a vote for the rest 97. im using 300 site in my everyday life, it takes time to choose the rest :)
cheers
matt

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    penzugyiszakertok.com – very plain and ordinary. I found it wordy and the text too small.
    artistpub.hu – poor readability, not enough contrast on text, small text, and over-designed.
    cssbeauty.com – again, tiny text makes this feel exclusive and unappealing.

      testingmouse - 3 years ago

      thx for your comments Ben.

Tricia - 3 years ago

I hope it is okay to vote my own sites.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Of course, if they’re great! :-)

Caryn Dahm - 3 years ago

caryndahm.com
My personal work site. I use it to promote graphic design classes that I teach as well as my design services and artwork. It is designed to showcase my skills and provide more information for parents who want their homeschooled children to enroll in my classes.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Caryn. Is is a very conventional site, but very nicely done. I like the branding, and most of the site is very appealing. The home page is one of the plainer pages, though. I would like to see more of your rich content find its way onto there.

Caryn Dahm - 3 years ago

http://www.ragtagrubies.com … designed to promote and sell our house and home art as well as our wearable creations.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    A pleasant site. The logo is very pleasant, but it’s in a slightly dead position, and it’s drowned by the very bright red on the header section. To make the Top 100 list, that header section would need to be integrated better with the rest of the page.

      Caryn Dahm - 3 years ago

      Hi Ben-
      I’ve reworked the header and wanted to get your feedback. Thanks for your very insightful comments. Have a look now and let me know if it is worthy : )

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Hi Caryn. Now the logo tag sits on top of the Facebook box, for me at least. I’d like to see the logo on the conventional left hand side, with the main navigation items below. (Love the nest picture!)

Darren Bristow - 3 years ago

http://eyesopen.org.uk
If I need to explain it here then something isn’t right 😉
All feedback much appreciated.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Definitely interesting. I didn’t find it immediately obvious what the page was about upon first load, so I’d like to see an obvious proposition.
    I like the rest of the layout, though. However, reversed text isn’t much fun to look at after a few minutes.
    One for consideration!

Alex - 3 years ago

http://www.mobcc.ro
i like the menu and first page

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It doesn’t work for me. The stylish photos and the hand-drawn icons do not belong together. Th transitions are gratuitous, and it’s quite small and compressed. I think we can use more space today, as people have more bandwidth and bigger screens (except those on mobiles, who have less!)

Bill - 3 years ago

Hi Ben,
One man band here: http://www.motionhealth.tv

I have completed the design, initial content, user signup and other basic website functionality. I am now in the process of adding multi-media content all produced in house.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Cheers!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Bill. There’s nothing seriously wrong, but there are many areas that could be improved. It doesn’t feel like the site is quite finished yet.
    I generally like to see the logo above the navigation, not below. And there’s a big area of empty space.
    I’m also slightly allergic to the “3 loosely related verbs” method of strapline writing 😉

David Fleck - 3 years ago

http://fleckdistributions.com
Everyone says it is a nice layout but I guess we will se what an expert thinks.

    David Fleck - 3 years ago

    fleckdistribuions.weebly.com/
    Here is my second site.I hope one of them make it.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Bold white body text on a dark background is a design mistake.

      David Fleck - 3 years ago

      That is an easy fix. Thank you for the advice.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi David. The home page makes some significant mistakes, starting with wasting the focal point on a “welcome” message. It just doesn’t shout out what the product is and why I should be excited about it, which is what a site like this would have to do to make the Top 100 grade.

      David Fleck - 3 years ago

      How would I go about making the product shout out to you ? Any advise to point me in the right direction ? I am always open to constructive criticism.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Hi David. It’s all about benefits – what’s in it for me. The best thing I can suggest is to read “Convert!”

      David Fleck - 3 years ago

      Thank you for your input.

Leo AW - 3 years ago

What about this brand new site http://www.themezilla.com/ ?

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Like lots. Great logo, appealing copy, simple.
    If I’m being picky, it could use a bit more colour, and doesn’t need quite that much vertical white space.
    One for the shortlist though. Thanks.

TIGERdesign - 3 years ago

http://www.pearltrees.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I would need to spend some time with this site. It’s a utilitarian app that seems to try to be all things to all men – a challenging goal!
    The branding and design feel pleasant, but to stand out it will need to be incredibly easy to use.
    I’m not sure that the broad potential functionality will translate into a successful user experience.

TIGERdesign - 3 years ago

http://www.ludlowkingsley.com
combine a modern and vintage style somehow..

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Very pleasant. I’ll investigate this one further. Thanks.

Val Patterson - 3 years ago

Check out http://www.onesothebysrealty.com. It’s simple, beautiful, functional — everything a real estate site needs to be in this day and age. Of course, it deals with property in Miami, so what’s not to like?

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Val. I really like this site! Great use of large format photographs, giving a high quality feel – which I think was exactly the aim.
    Definitely on my shortlist! Thank you.

Charles "The Web Chef" Coyle - 3 years ago

Well of course I am going to say http://www.websitesforchefs.com but I am certainly going to scroll the internet and find you more before the deadline.

Loved the Course Ben!!! Changed my Life!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Charles, you actually have an effective home page. I think I’ve mentioned before the poor quality of the video testimonial.
    (The SEO panel in your sliders doesn’t come across so well, because the dark test isn’t on a light background.)
    I love the way you’ve targeted your niche. This may have a chance of making my top 100 😉

Tariq - 3 years ago

Ben,

See what you think of these:

http://www.freshbooks.com/
http://www.ncover.com/
http://www.landingpageoptimisation.com.au/

And, I am going to put the pressure on you with this one: http://www.qvisionaz.com !

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Tariq, I like Freshbooks and Ncover more than the landingpageoptimisation site. Both worthy of further consideration.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Obviously I can’t include QVision, as it is my own design :-)

Jonathan Perez - 3 years ago

Hey how about this one.

http://www.possibilitees1.org/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    One to review again later. The site does its job, but I’m not sure there’s anything strong enough to make it top-flight.

Brian - 3 years ago

http://southlandchristian.org/ is a very clean site. Not sure if it’s what you’re looking for. but I like the design a lot!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Yes, it’s pretty good. Thanks Brian. I think the logo could be a little larger. Also, it’s hard to find on the site in which city/location this church actually is. It says Lexington, is that Mass.?

      Brian - 3 years ago

      It’s located in Lexington, Kentucky. I’m not associated with their website at all though. I just thought I’d suggest it. Thanks

Diana - 3 years ago

donniedarkofilm.com
This is one of my favorite websites, just because it’s so out of the box. Even though it is more than ten years old it still astounds me. It’s certainly not the typical promotional site for a film, but it perfectly reflects the eerie mystery of the actual film, and invites you to become involved (interact) with the story.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Diana. I didn’t explore too deep. I have a lot of sites to review, and I found this slow and a little self-indulgent.
    I remember the film, which twisted my noodle at the time.
    As it is 10 years old, I don’t think I can really include it in 2012’s best sites.

Megan Bennett - 3 years ago

Wow, a great opportunity. Thanks Ben. Simple site offering services of salt therapy http://www.saltcaves.com.au?

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Megan. I find this site accessible, but design-wise just a little overbearing. The bright orange and black combo is really strong, and the white-on-black nav text doesn’t work great.

Kyle Alo - 3 years ago

I’d like you to take a gander at this website.: http://strategicartconcepts.com . It is my personal first website design and exposure. It took two months of studing how to use the gadgets that allowed me to transport my images and choose the layout with it’s color schemes and bells and whistles. It is a standard “GoDaddy” template that I took and for the least amount of money since I had none was to make my work and history and services availible within three movements of the mouse. I think it’s pretty good but I’d like to know what the best means? Your comments are invited.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Kyle. The (massive) background image does nothing to help focus attention on the actual content, so this site unfortunately cannot make the list.

David Fleck - 3 years ago

Hi Ben it is me again. I went through 6 colors before I found one that I liked. I was wondering if you would consider my blog again?

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi David. Sorry, this will not make the list.

Ron Weitnauer - 3 years ago

McMaster Carr is the best example of a website that makes it possible to find any of tens of thousands of items quickly and easily. It’s a masterpiece.

http://www.mcmaster.com/#

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Ron, you may be right. Sometimes a website just has to display its wares and make it easy to browse. McMaster Carr seems to do that. It’s on my list.

saif - 3 years ago

wher’s the list??

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I’ll post my “shortlist” soon. Right now it’s very short.

Geert De Deckere - 3 years ago

I really like the new Git site: http://git-scm.com/. It does a great job in educating people about Git. Search is cool. Documentation is very functional. Subtle color scheme. Nice typography. A great new logo. What’s not to like?

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I agree. It looks very accessible and appealing. Shortlisted! Thanks.

Craig - 3 years ago

Hi Ben,
I am not suggesting my new site should be in your Top 100 but I would really welcome your feedback.
This is our first attempt and would value an experts comments.
Many Thanx
Craig

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Craig, I’ll take a look, but couldn’t see the site now as I’m on my iPhone and the site’s built in Flash.

      Craig - 3 years ago

      Cheers Ben, much appreciated.
      regards
      Craig

Tim - 3 years ago

Wherespresso.com.

I could sneak VeloNomad in – but that was originally a Scratch Media design so a bit nepotistic.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Tim, I like Wherespresso. The logo (graphic/type) work well, and the content is organised. However I feel it needs a focal point that’s bigger and more prominent than everything else on the home page. That area should present the proposition of the site as directly as possible.

      Tim - 3 years ago

      I’d be interested to know what that could be!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Tim, the core Wherespresso site needs something added, just a strip that sums up the proposition.

    I remember you also showed me http://mayday.wherespresso.com/. Now that does it. I would change the 1-9 numbers to tick marks, but it’s a very good home page, so I’m listing that.

      Tim - a couple of years ago

      Your wish is my command!

      Ticks done, adding some “How it works” boxes tonight/tomorrow and tidying it up, before voting commences!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Museum of Me – an instant winner! I hadn’t seen this before, and it’s simply exquisite. Definitely in the Top 100!
    Moodstream is another outstanding multimedia experience, and has to be in my Top 100. You get straight in, and there’s no thinking required, but it works on many emotional levels.
    We Choose the Moon – more of a conventional multimedia experience, which is the right thing. I don’t know if it’s doing anything particularly spectacular. I should spend more time on it with my kids.
    Waterlife – I really enjoyed this website. The visual style is lovely, but I did find the navigation a little cryptic. Certainly good enough for the shortlist though.
    Infinite Oz – An interesting and beautiful movie. I don’t think there’s anything particularly “web” about it, though, to make it “web design”.

Danny - 3 years ago

hi ben,

http://www.tutorswhiz.com

this is my regular visiting website and i feel good with the colors. love it..

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Wow, I find the home page really visually overwhelming. There are just too many different elements and too many colours.

Ewic - 3 years ago

For me this http://www.fusiondub.com :)

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It’s a smart and pleasant enough site, but typical of its type with nothing out of the ordinary.
    I wanted to click on the 8x images on the home page, but they weren’t links.

Dave Streen - 3 years ago

http://www.autohail.com is the best website ever created. My opinion may be a little biased since I created it.
http://autohail.com/Statefarmhailclaim.html is a new page that I have added after reading some of Ben Hunt’s info. Can’t wait to read more and work with his team.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    :-)

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Definitely! :-)

Wally - 3 years ago

I’ll submit this for one of the best!!

http://www.sosfactory.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Lovely site! It fulfils its purpose beautifully, so it’s going on the list!

Timothy - 3 years ago

Here’s a good one:
http://www.detroitventurepartners.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Timothy, I like this very much. On the list, mainly because of its direct and interesting writing. The visual style is suitably edgy, although (again) reversed text should be avoided wherever possible.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Cute design, but it leaves me thinking it’s a template. The logo is on a white background, which doesn’t fit with the grey colour at the top.

Kunal David - 3 years ago

Hey Ben,

Firstly, as always very very interesting concept you’ve come up with out here… Been closely following you/your emails over the past year & have tried to learn as much as was on offer in each of them! So, thank you for that. :)

Here are a few of the websites we’ve designed, will look forward to your feedback on each of them. Needless to say, would be honored if they made it to your list:

Prestige Group – http://www.prestigeconstructions.com
UB City – http://www.ubcitybangalore.in
Ventura Interiors – http://www.venturainteriors.com
PMPL Group – http://www.pmplgroup.com
Golfshire – http://www.golfshire.com

My best,
Kunal

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Kunal. These are all competent designs, but all lacking in the same area… The initial visual impression is impressive, but they’re not selling.
    Take Golfshire Club. The links for “Club Memberships” and “Reserve Tee Time” are rotated 90 degrees.
    All the others are lacking calls to action. They don’t shout what they are about, or really invite you to click through.
    So I’m afraid they fall into the “too cool for school” category, and can’t make this particular list.

      Kunal David - 3 years ago

      Hey Ben,

      Appreciate the feedback, thank you for it! Would value any suggestions/pointers that you may have, to help achieve that objective as well…?

      And btw, here’s another Art Gallery site that we’ve done, let me know what you think of this as well – http://www.sublimegalleria.com?

      Thank you! :)

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Hey. I can’t go into too much detail on each submission, I’m afraid.

      The SublimeGalleria site looked impressive at first, with large, full images. The navigation, by contrast, feels a bit small. And I really don’t like the way that hotspot images get a dark overlay on hover. Precisely the wrong thing. See http://www.webdesignfromscratch.com/usability/mouseovers/

      Kunal David - 3 years ago

      Ben,

      Thanks for the feedback, I’ve started to get lost in all the matter available on your site… :) Will hopefully be able to implement some of it soon, in my next design, which I will share with you for your views!

      Till then, good luck with this… I’m going to keenly follow this contest, since I’ll be eager to know the winner! :)

      Thanks once again for all your invaluable inputs! :)

JDS - 3 years ago

http://www.midwesternmeats-ky.com I would much appreciate any input I could get. I built the site myself and am not that experienced in web design, however, I feel that it serves its purpose well…? Thanks in advance for any input.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Logo is too big, navigation is too low down, and I’d add an obvious summary of the proposition. What do you do, for whom, and what’s different about the way you do it?

      JDS - 3 years ago

      Thanks a lot for your input. I’ll get on the changes this weekend. By the way, you’re awesome sir. I love reading your articles and watching your videos!

ajay doke - 3 years ago

utsglobal.edu.in
This website is the clear and clean educational website I have seen.
The communication, the navigation is very clear.
students get their desired courses very fast or they can directly get connected to the website people.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Ajay. I do not see anything particularly remarkable, I’m afraid.

Eamon - 3 years ago

I guess you have to be familiar with Agile/Scrum to appreciate it but I like how the design of …
velocitypartners – http://www.velocitypartners.net
…reflects what they do.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Eamon. I don’t find the message really jumps out . There are a lot of options presented, and I don’t find the text easy to read.

Jonathan Perez - 3 years ago

Wow, this website is awesome:

http://morehazards.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Like. Merits another look.

Wally - 3 years ago

Hey Ben, I have 2 I have created for you to look at and consider. Your thoughts would be appreciated, thanks!!

http://www.city.grandforks.bc.ca/

http://www.komputer-clinic.com/

    Wally - 3 years ago

    Oh, I forgot this one we did too. This one is fully custom hand coded.

    http://www.boundarycf.com/

    The other two are custom theme wordpress sites.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Not quite Top 100 standard Wally.

      Wally - 3 years ago

      I’m just starting to get into the responsive layouts so mobile will be a lot better on sites I make from here on out. Oh and the welcomemap.ca homepage isn’t going to be all that text any more and will be changed soon. Thank you for all your tips and comments!!

adam - 3 years ago

A great band website could be that of http://www.urban-spirit.co.uk, i think it ticks all the boxes, well designed, easy to listen to songs, take a look tell me what you think

Rich - 3 years ago

Discovered teamlab.com while looking for some biz tools. Clean, simple layout and easy to navigate. Its a good product that keeps getting better and recommended for any small biz owners.

A clever site is mediacake.net… but perhaps too clever..thoughts

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Rich, I think that Teamlab is visually appealing, but the content is too focused on features, where it needs to push the benefits of the proposition. I would like to see a stronger message on the home page.

    I like http://www.mediacake.net a lot. It shows plenty of personality, and the company’s wares are easy to view as soon as you arrive. Shortlisted.

Pavel - 3 years ago

Very much it is pleasant: http://www.e-kontur.ru/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I agree. It looks great. Unfortunately it’s hard for me to judge the effectiveness of the content, as I don’t read Russian :-(

      Pavel - 3 years ago

      http://www.e-kontur.ru/
      Oh, it’s the excellent marketing tool which has involved already more than 200000 clients :-)

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      It’s a pretty good design, but could be implemented with a little more subtlety. Overall, it would be hard to see this in the Top 100.

Charles "The Web Chef" Coyle - 3 years ago

Check this out. Not wordpress but certainly an eye catcher.http://haveyourcakeatl.com/

Would like to hear your thoughts.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Charles. I find the background too noisy, and the home page lacks a strong proposition. I also don’t think the mid-tone on the navigation works well with the white text (not enough tonal contrast).

Steve - 3 years ago

hi Ben,
I would like to hear your honest feedback to these:
http://www.2rock.org
http://www.brrf.co.uk

Many thanks

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Steve. (I remember seeing you on GTD!)
    Both these sites make fundamental errors, particularly in their use of colour.
    Page backgrounds should usually be neutral and pale in tone. Body text should be black on a white background, wherever possible.
    Logos and main headings need to be sharp, so overlaying over a photo, or the drop shadow on the BRRF site, don’t help.
    (There’s a whole chapter in “Save the Pixel” which would help you sort all these issues out.)

      Steve - 3 years ago

      Thanks very much for your feedback, very useful.

ei ei san - 3 years ago

your design is nice .
http://www.boundarycf.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I think this is very good, but I see one big mistake on the home page. The logo is repeated as a watermark behind the three columns, which adds nothing but detracts from readability.
    Remove that, and the design could make my list.

    Wally - 3 years ago

    Thanks for the compliment, I would take that background image out but another company has taken over management of the website now.

Derek - 3 years ago

I’ll throw http://www.ubuntu.com out there. Strong brand, clean site and definitely on a mission!

Do the nominations have to have been designed in 2012? Wasn’t sure.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Derek. Ubuntu.com is clean and appealing. Doesn’t look particularly 2012, but that isn’t the point. The question is, “What’s the best design that’s around today?” I don’t mind if it was made in 1995 😉

    I think the Ubuntu site would benefit from some text antialiasing. Jaggedy lettering may appeal to the Linux ethos, but it’s not my cup of tea. I’ll add it to the “possibles” list.

      Derek - 3 years ago

      Interesting. What do you consider makes a site 2012? Sounds like a good blog post to me.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      I haven’t really thought about that Derek. I certainly don’t care whether sites look like other bleeding-edge sites, or use any particular fashionable style. But they should choose design features from the best of what’s available today.

Timothy - 3 years ago

Here are a few more that I think are good:
http://www.portent.com
http://www.areyouahuman.com/
http://www.duosecurity.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Portent – Very nice. Shortlisted.
    Are You A Human – The size and arrangement of the high-visibility elements is wrong. The first view is confusing. Shame, as it’s a fascinating product.
    Duo Security – Very nearly great. The proposition is right there to see. But I don’t like the overlay of text over other text, and some of the elements are too small. Going on the “maybe” list.

Sarah Peters - 3 years ago

Hey Ben,

I don’t think my last comment went through, so I’m submitting these again:

http://churchmedia.com/
http://studio8169.com/
https://www.postable.com/
http://postmates.com/
https://www.shoplocket.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Churchmedia – Outstanding site! It really, really sells. I love the omnipresent reminder of the proposition and price point. Definite winner.
    Studio8169 – Again, does a great job of pitching the proposition. Quieter this time and lets the quality speak, because it’s a low-volume business. Shortlisted.
    Postable – I love this site! I can’t tell what the business model is though…
    Postmates – Sarah, you are on fire! What a great site! I like the vertical stacked “slideshow”, shame the punched nav doesn’t update to show where you are in the stack when you use it though.
    Shoplocket – Another site that does an amazing job of getting their proposition across. I don’t personally like the colour scheme much, but there’s no avoiding the effectiveness of the message.

Sarah Peters - 3 years ago

Here’s another one I just love. It’s very bold in color, but it’s not over-designed. And it has a lot of personality without being confusing or obscure. I really like the slideshow/storytelling aspect to it. That’s a style I’d like to try myself someday.

http://weareimpero.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    You’re quite right. You have a great eye for effective web design 😉

beachmat - 3 years ago

Hi Ben, here are a couple for your perusal:

http://www.darwintreeservices.co.uk
http://www.eyre-design.co.uk

thanks

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Darwin Tree.. nice, but there’s so much detail in the background, the message is going to struggle to get through.

    The Eyre Design site is effective. How many home pages fail to say “This is what we do and for whom”?! Not sure about the reversed white-on-black text though. Will add to the list for review later.

      beachmat - 3 years ago

      Thanks for that. The Darwin site used to have a plain white background but the client wasn’t keen on it. I can see what they mean – I think it can look too clinical if that’s not the look you’re trying to achieve.

    Beachmat - a couple of years ago

    Don’t know if you have access to it, but how does the Darwin site look in IE8?
    (btw this page was crashing my IE8 – I think it was the ad)

Carlos - 3 years ago

A potential candidate:

http://foodsense.is

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I like it. Very clean. The one problem I had was I clicked on the tabs below the splash panel on the home page, expecting to go to those places, but they just cycled the panel. Not great.
    And I’d like to trim a few pixels from the top of the page, to pull all the content a bit higher.
    But otherwise a very appealing and effective website. Shortlisted.

Cara - 3 years ago

Ben, I honestly don’t think our site is ready for the top 100 yet, but we’ve made such a dramatic improvement from what we had before (Save the Pixel was a big help, by the way!). I am afraid that the picture on the home page is really to large, and I’m not positive that our “messages” below the picture are right…. I would be most grateful for any feedback you might have though.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi. It looks tidy. I’ll add it to my short list. One fairly obvious thing I noticed is that page headlines (H1s) don’t stand out enough. They’re too small and light in tone.

Ruaridh - 3 years ago

Great list so far, the HTC site surely has to go somewhere, a beautifully designed site: http://www.htc.com/uk/
An even more amazing case study is available at F-i’s site: http://www.f-i.com/htc/global/

Owen - 3 years ago

http://www.muzikantenbank.net

Might not be the most beautiful design using the latest html and css standards, but the site is all about ease of use and has grown out to be the nr.1 site in the Netherlands if you want to find a musician for your band, or am existing band to join. Built to serve a single purpose, connecting musicians in an easy and intuitive way. (while grabbing as much SEO traffic as possible and generating adsense revenue)

Maybe I’m aiming too high but one can only dream right 😉 All I can say is that it has served it purpose well for the past 13 years.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi. It’s pretty effective. Simple text, without “design” features getting in the way. But it could go further down the “Save the Pixel” path by increasing the size of more important elements and navigation, removing unnecessary boxes & lines etc.

      Owen - a couple of years ago

      Hi Ben, huge update, the site has been fully redone using Twitter Bootstrap as CSS framework. Can you have a look if it qualifies for the reserve list maybe? :)

Portus - 3 years ago

http://writersearningmoneyonline.com/

Is this good? 😉

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Not special enough :-)

Eamon - 3 years ago

what about this one …

http://www.shopkick.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I love it! Great, compelling content.

Grant Lewis - 3 years ago

Try this one Ben, http://www.wechoosethemoon.org/index.php

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    That one has been mentioned Grant. I will spend more time on it, maybe at the weekend with Henry (5). I’m not sure there is anything particularly “web design” about it. It’s more like pure multimedia delivered through Flash and a browser.

Sam - 3 years ago

http://www.sohars.com

Pretty good site for a local mower shop.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Naah :-)

Bill - 3 years ago

I found this website the other day and instantly liked it. very inviting, easy to navigate and easy to read font size / style which is critical for an article intensive site.

http://www.koozai.com/

And they’re a UK company. Imagine that!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    That is a GREAT home page! Reads beautifully and sells with style. Thanks Bill

timothy Kanatha - 3 years ago

the whole website is like one big painted canvas,absolutely fabulous.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I looked, and I didn’t get what the site is about. Visually impacting, but no message, so for me it’s a miss.

Niall - 3 years ago

Check out http://cupcakefactoryba.com.ar/

I like it. I don’t like hearts at all but they give it a great sense of perspective, especially with the bigger hearts being blurred.

What do you think?

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hmm. I find it visually really confusing. My eye is just not drawn to any content, but to the powerful visuals going on all around.

      Niall - 3 years ago

      I guess you’re right. It’s a bit over the top.

      How about: http://www.clear-web-solutions.com/

      It’s a bit generic but it’s clean and I like bokeh effects.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      It’s OK, but the message is not at all compelling or congruent.

Sarah Peters - 3 years ago

Here’s one I came across this morning:
http://moneyasyougrow.org/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I like that it’s done without Flash. The information is accessible, and it’s interesting to browse. It is US-centric, so some of the info is not relevant to the rest of the world. But a very nice site. Going on the shortlist.

Ian - 3 years ago

Here is a contender guys for – http://www.job2teach.com !

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Ian. I don’t like the tones & gradients on this site. The background gradient goes one way, and the boxes have the same white-to-pale-blue go the other way. That just doesn’t work for me. I’d make the content boxes white.

      Steve - 3 years ago

      Hi Ben,
      Is it really so big issue not to have white background and black text? If there is very pale gradient, should not it be OK? Should really ALL pages have just WHITE background? Is it really so anti-SEO to use colours?
      Many pages have e.g. black background and white text, which I like as it is less tiring for eyes and white letters seem bigger on white background as in design generally white colour makes things seem bigger.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Hi Steve. Good questions. In general I would say yes, use black text on a white background wherever possible, unless you have a really strong reason not to. We don’t get books or newspapers using “reversed” text for body copy, for good reason. Some tabloids use it in very large type headlines to give gravitas, but I think readability is always compromised slightly.

JDS - 3 years ago

I would like you to take a look at this site. Possibly not in the top 100 but would like your insight on it.
http://www.persistentpeddler.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi JDS. It’s pretty awful design-wise. The site looks like a perfect candidate for my next book (about niche marketing), though.

      JDS - 3 years ago

      Would you please tell me what you mean by the design is bad? I would like some pointers here. I’m not asking for free advice. I’m buying your course next week. (Big Payday) 😉

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Hi. I’ll give you a few tips.

      The background colour creates a strong contrast line with the white content area, which draws the eye away from content.
      Justified text is a bad idea for reading on screen, and your paragraphs are too long – big square blocks of words.
      The navigation is barely visible, black on a mid-tone background.
      And the logo has both white and black overlapping two different mid-tones, which makes it quite weak.
      The colour combinations don’t go together at all.
      And the various design features, like the “Sales Tips” button, logo, and newsletter sign-up look totally unrelated.

      Hope this is helpful.

Haya - 3 years ago

I just stumbled across this site and i think it’s really neat and perfect for the clientel they are trying to reach (moms, kids, etc.)
what do you think? http://www.pishposhbaby.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I don’t think there’s anything special about the design at all.

Sarah Peters - 3 years ago

Here’s a good one: http://www.bidsketch.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I like it. There’s an immediate proposition. Visually it may be a little thin.. I’ll add to the list to review later though.

    Thanks again Sarah!

Derek - 3 years ago

I’ll throw a few more in;

http://www.timeforcake.com/ has been my favourite site of the week. They kept my attention and their blog and free pdfs are really good.

I tried to find a good nomination in the charity sector which I found quite difficult. I did however really like the http://www.oxfam.org.uk/ site. Very clean and bold.

I like this site from one of the CopyBlogger gang, http://rafaltomal.com/ . Not sure that there is a strong enough call to action though, but does it matter so much on a personal site?

I think the US http://www.amazon.com/ is looking a lot cleaner than the older UK site. I’ll nominate that for consideration too. I think you’re a bit thin on eCommerce entries so I’ll nominate http://www.ebuyer.com/ as well since I always find it really easy to use.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Derek.

    I can’t love Amazon.com, or really admire it, don’t know why. I know it works, but there’s no design at all. I feel like some important elements, like the search, are now so pale you struggle to see them.

    I love ebuyer, on the other hand. Simple, bold, strong. That’s in.

    Rafal’s site is lovely. The chop from the light content area to the dark background will be tiring after a while, which isn’t ideal, but the first impression is brilliant.

    From a pure design basic point of view, Timeforcake seems slightly unusual, with odd size proportions, like the small logo. BUT the content does an OUTSTANDING of selling them! Winner!

    I think the Oxfam site is effective. Part of me wants to exclude it because it uses *that* wrap-around nav bar thing (so 2010), but I’m not a design tosser, so it goes in.

      Rafal Tomal - 3 years ago

      Ben, thanks for listing my website in this post. I really appreciate it!

      Derek, I’m glad you like my design. I’m not trying to sell anything through my website. I want visitors to find out more about me and read my blog. I have my portfolio but I’m not trying to offer any freelance services, so no ‘call to action’ is needed here.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Got it, thanks Rafal. So we’re right that the design correctly reflects the goals.

Derek - 3 years ago

One more for luck;

http://www.bugherd.com/

Just because the name makes me laugh! Actually, I do think the video on the main page is really good.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    You know, this nearly made the shortlist. But it suffers from the coder’s curse… tiny piddly text! Text should be sized according to its importance, every page should have something that’s most important, so every page should have some big text!

    Erin Pheil - 3 years ago

    Interested in Ben’s comment about the odd sized proportions.

    We actually spent 2 – 3 weeks working on them, especially above the fold on the homepage. We focused on the things we knew (from click tracking and analytics) our visitors cared about more than anything else, and we didn’t want our colorful logo to distract our visitors’ attention from the other, more critical components we wanted them to focus on.

    Our best clients care about results and the quality of our work. That’s what was given heavy emphasis on our homepage, above the fold. And of course though, before we displayed those things, we needed to make sure we made it crystal clear what our company actually DOES, especially considering our name. That was first and foremost. Then came results + work.

    We’ve had great success with our slightly non-standard layout. We do get many clients who call and tell us they would like to work with us because our site really emphasizes our devotion to focusing on actual results, vs. just pretty designs.

    Thanks again, so very, very much. We’re so honored by Ben’s mention (and thank you for checking out/liking our site, Derek!).

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Hi Erin.

      I think that one of the secrets of page design that is emerging to me from this study is that a landing page needs a hierarchy of attention-managing features.

      Obviously, there should be one thing that first attracts the eye. But then a page needs a progression of other things, so the eye can move through in an efficient but unhurried flow.

      When I look at the TimeForCake home page, I see the initial focal point, the H1 that uses the orange background (highlight colour). But then, I can see four other H2s above the fold, which have near-as-dammit the same type size. And the type size in the logo and strap line is around the same too, as are the two boxed links after the intro paragraph. So I think my eye gets confused about where to settle.

      Erin - 3 years ago

      Hi Ben,

      What you say of course makes sense. The big question this creates, though, I believe is this:

      How can the goal of guiding the eye be integrated and made compatible with the knowledge that different visitors who use the web in different ways (methodical, humanistic, spontaneous, competitive) who are at different rungs on the awareness ladder are all arriving at a site with very different pain points and goals? Depending on the type of site one’s talking about, designing too much of a landing strip that guides the eyes straight to one or two features only might be encouraging some visitors to go the wrong way.

      No one page can be all things to all people, but top level pages that see a wide variety of visitor types need to be well designed so they don’t guide the right people in a direction that’s wrong for them.

      It’s a continual, fascinating, ongoing challenge. And the answers, as you share with everyone in Convert!, are always partially subjective until they’re tested.

      Thanks for your ongoing commentary and communications. Everyone benefits when you share, Ben.

      Have a great week,
      -erin

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Hi Erin. I think you’ve gone on to answer your own question.

      Multiplicity is one of the solutions – helping you predict what someone wants before they arrive.

      I think everyone needs a focal point: “Start Here” – but obviously some pages are menus, galleries, pick ‘n’ mix, and that’s fine.

      This really is the question that lurks at the dark centre of visual design, and – like painting – it needs to be answered every time within its own context.

      There are rules, but none of them applies in every situation. You need to master those rules and then to apply them with common sense and a subjective sensitivity.

Derek - 3 years ago

Another one I forgot to nominate was the BBC site, http://www.bbc.co.uk/ . Interested to hear your thoughts on it.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    You’ve got to love it.. In you go, Auntie.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Paul, there’s too much wrong with the navigation on Watch Gallery. The top area is awkward, I don’t like the navigation font, or the glow on the current item.

    Of the other two, I’ll put Harvey Nichols through, because it does a better job of the complex drop-down navigation. Net-a-porter is very small and fiddly. Compare Next.co.uk, which is just a bit more effective.

    (Note, I’ve reviewed previous incarnations of the Harvey Nichols site twice in the past, 2001 and 2004.)

Donovan - 3 years ago

great css scheme switcher really vibrant colours…sexy site
http://www.designcodeplay.co.uk/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It’s pretty effective, and I think projects the right impression.
    I don’t agree with a 20% first-time discount.. sends the wrong message to existing customers, and tells everyone else that their rates are inflated.
    Also, having a colour switcher with a message saying “We can’t make up our minds” is probably not what you want to hear from expert designers.
    Shortlisted.

      Jason Wintermeyer - a couple of years ago

      Stumbled on this post a few weeks, really appreciate the feedback you gave our site we have since adjusted the content/layout slightly based on your comments – many thanks for this :-) (Jason Design Code Play)

Kaushal - 3 years ago

Speciality tea website
http://www.darjeelingteaxpress.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Not bad, but the navigation could be much clearer.

Millie - 3 years ago

http://www.designbymouse.com.au

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Just looks to plain to me.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    They all make serious fundamental errors with colour.

Paul - 3 years ago

Also, forgot to mention this one – http://www.6wunderkinder.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Beautiful site!

Colin Dunbar - 3 years ago

I’d like to recommend this one…

http://www.bronsondunbar.com

Thanks.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Don’t like the mustard colour or the logo much, and there’s a lack of black for tonal bite. I think we’ve seen better designer sites.

avukonke - 3 years ago

Well there’s two sites that I recently encountered in South Africa and Nigeria respectively that do their job very well. I found what I was looking for and the information was excellent. the sites are http://www.nigeria.to and http://www.southafrica.to

The sites are not very good looking, but they fulfill their purposes wonderfully

Avu

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Nothing special here.

Connie Schultz - 3 years ago

Seems to be getting a ton of traffic by using outside resources such as Facebook, Yelp, and a scheduling program. It seems their local community links to them for pet grooming services, which is also a big bonus.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Sorry Connie, that’s not very nice at all.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Newborn Baby is not class-leading design, and the Appetite site doesn’t say what it does.

Ravi - 3 years ago

I feel this site http://www.merriam-webster.com/
is pretty good, which is more informative. Good source of learning through videos, visual quizzes etc.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    But it’s visually too busy.

Kieran Martin - 3 years ago

This is a plain website for a community based centre for helping people having difficulty finding employment. As I said its plainn but gets the job done. It give cv advise, interview advise and you can also download cv templates etc.
http://www.mayocentrefortheunemployed.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Looks like a template, and the message just doesn’t come through. “Creating Futures” means what? And one of the most noticeable bits of text on the page says “Sidebar Menu”. Not polished enough to be among the best.

Sam Willis - 3 years ago

This website is extraordinarily well design
http://event.ly

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It’s OK, but we’ve seen much better examples of this style.

Dave Vranicar - 3 years ago

Best B2B website I know of is:

http://www.hubspot.com

Their competitors, all in the business of marketing automation. also have good sites:

http://www.marketo.com
http://www.pardot.com
http://www.eloqua.com

But I think for all the reasons that are important to you, Ben, HubSpot’s is the best.

Dave Vranicar

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Dave. Hubspot’s site is certainly the best design of the bunch, but it feels thin, somehow lacking solidity. I’ll put it on the reserve list.

      Dave Vranicar - 3 years ago

      Ben, I’m a little confused by your responses to some of these suggestions.

      In all your writings, you focus more on the marketing effectiveness of websites over the purely visual elements of their design. Yet in your quick assessments of these suggestions, you seem to be making snap judgments based on purely visual elements of the designs.

      Maybe you’re doing so because you have to sort through so many entries so fast. But I hope that in your final list, you take time to evaluate and comment on the marketing strategy and the business effectiveness of the websites in addition to their appearance.

      After all, business effectiveness is what you preach over esthetics.

      Dave

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Hi Dave. I totally get where you’re coming from.

      The subject is “100 Best Designed Websites”, not best-conceived or most-comprehensively-implemented… I am focusing particularly on the first impression, which is so important. How does the visual design effect the purpose of the site (in particular the home page) to a first-time visitor?

      I appreciate that’s quite narrow, and that is partly due to the volume as you say, but it is important enough to be worthy of its own list.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Sorry, nothing outstanding among those designs.

      Said Suleiman Juma - 3 years ago

      Oops, what criteria do you use to classify those websites?

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      I look for sites that execute their marketing objectives elegantly and effectively. Beautiful graphic design alone isn’t enough.

Benyamin Ruslan Naba - 3 years ago

Hi Ben!
I like to introduce my own company website, already been revised after reading your 50 guide to ceate best website through email ;-). Thanks a lot Ben!
http://www.estubizi.com
http://www.ticketboxestubizi-simaeru.co.id

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Not up to the standard.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Sorry, nothing that makes the grade.

Nitnellav - 3 years ago

Hey,

Kickstarter.com really has a special place in my heart. I regularly use it to support great ideas. Its my way of doing a bit of “good” in this world. I find it neatly designed and very effective in what it wants to accomplish.

Kind regards

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Good enough for the reserve list. Thanks.

Pat Shea - 3 years ago

I like mine, but I’m biased.
http://www.medicalclaimshelp.org/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I think you must be :-)

Linda Nicholls - 3 years ago

http://www.playingwithfire.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It’s plain and simple, but it does what it sets out to do very well. Shortlisted.

      Linda Nicholls - 3 years ago

      Thanks Ben. I’ve learned a lot from you.

Ninad - 3 years ago

Here

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Ninad. It is pretty well designed, but the navigation wraps on my computer (so “Contact Us” is invisible).
    (Plus, I have a small ethical issue with the site. Cereals are not the best way to start the day, and Indians have so many more healthy options.)

Péter - 3 years ago

http://bortarsasag.hu/
Online and offline wine stores.
Consistent and elegant use of black, white and grey colors.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Smart, but not up there with the best.

Pramod - 3 years ago

This website id basically for business people who belong to HDPE piping industry & this is quite useful for them.
http://www.phoelindustries.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Seriously? I think you’re link spamming here Pramod.

Jordan - 3 years ago

I’m personally a big fan of this website: http://dresdencodak.com/

Kind of non-traditional, but I think it’s really well done compared to other webcomic sites out there.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Good enough for the reserve list, but not hugely engaging.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Yes to Smashing Mag, Tuts+ (although the orange on the home page is overbearing), and Dribble makes the list (being slightly better-executed than Behance).

    Boston Globe is really good, but seriously let down by the fact that you can’t see what is a link!

    Cognition is elegant, but too cryptic.

    6Wunderkinder is already on the list.

Mateusz Kocz - 3 years ago

http://www.bewita.pl

The website is written in polish so here’s the Google’s translation: http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=pl&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=bewita.pl

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hell no.

John McDougle - 3 years ago

Here are my suggestions. I have gone for small sites selling services to the property market. I have issues with the copywriting and reversed out text but I think they do a good job of presenting very ordinary things and making them interesting. I have only used them and have no connection otherwise.

http://www.osbornesigns.co.uk/
http://www.wirralsafepat.co.uk/
http://www.jamesthesweep.co.uk/
http://www.speerdade.co.uk/index.html

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks John, but nothing special in that list. Wirral Safe PAT is the best of the bunch.

Jada' - 3 years ago

l love the animation that was embedded on the front page
http://www.spiderwebexperts.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    No, it’s too clumsy.

bertot - 3 years ago

I live in Mongolia and for a so small country and just a few web designer I think that many mongolian website deserve to be mentioned. I, for example, use often this website to check the local news (http://www.mad-mongolia.com). I really like the design.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    There’s something I like about the long scrolling home page, but I didn’t appreciate the initial view above the fold. I’ll put it on the backup list.

terrence - 3 years ago

i made though….
http://www.wampserver.com/en/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Not up to the mark, I’m afraid. The background image is lovely, but the logo is over-effected, and the message doesn’t jump out.

matthew hunt - 3 years ago

Ben,

Not to be a self promoter, but here are few we’ve done in the last few months:

http://www.belezamedicalspa.com
http://www.playgolfalberta.com
http://www.hockeyot.com
http://retireathome.com
http://www.torontopersonaltrainer.net
http://www.evergreenbeauty.edu
http://www.immigrationlawyercalgary.com
http://www.torontodj.biz
http://www.tessosgoodmakeup.com
http://descriptivevideoproductions.com

I see a lot amazing sites in this growing site. Great idea! We love great design, but we usually focus on creating high converting websites. Been doing a ton of A/B split testing the last year and kinda have a bit of a formula on how to create sites that convert well and get low bounce rates. Most of the sites above actually have bounce rates under 20% and most even between 7-12%. Which I think is amazing. Now it’s a little lower then usually b/c all traffic is extremely targeted and b/c it’s local. Local targeted traffic usually always converts well.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Matthew.. You’ve set me a problem here. Each of those sites is very good. None is groundbreaking, but that isn’t the brief…
    And I can see how they’ll all do well, which is the brief.
    I’m going to put them all on my reserve list to review later. It’s likely one or more will get in my final list.

Anil Kumar - 3 years ago

This great Collection.
http://creativewebcreation.com/
very nice, innovative and Creative Design well Done

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Sorry, it lost me at the Flash loader.. Why do people think it’s okay to have a loading movie that makes visitors wait several seconds while telling them absolutely nothing? Some nice effects, in fact, but because of the flash movie it has to be a fail.

Michael Simons - 3 years ago

cssmania.com is also cool.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It does a pretty good job, but the navigation and general UI features are not perfect. Reserve listed.

mrhery125 - 3 years ago

We are the Churches of The Detroit Metropolitan Association of The United Church of Christ.
Our Association is 31 churches strong and growing!
We are united in our faith and diverse in how we express that faith.
Top 100 Best Church Websites

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Clumsy design in places. Not up to the mark.

Roger Wilsher - 3 years ago

This a comprehensive website that provides a one stop shop for people’s pet care needs.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Sorry Roger. It’s too cluttered.

Church_Clown - 3 years ago

My all time favorite:
http://www.robots-dreams.com/
Don

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Don, I’m sure it’s interesting, but the design is extremely ordinary today.

Hans - 3 years ago

The BBC site http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ .
I visit it many time per day.There is a news site which I once visited sometime ago and I haven’t return since because I was struggling to fine what I wanted.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It is extremely effective. The main BBC site is already on my shortlist. I’ll put this one on reserve to reconsider later.

S2D - 3 years ago

Just Check it !
http://s2designs.in/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Pretty good, but the important body text is crammed into tiny boxes, which lets the home page down badly.

Dawn - 3 years ago

Hi Ben! How about checking this one http://www.easywebsites.ky out? Interested on reading your comments on it. :-)

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Dawn. It’s cute and somewhat original, but the animation doesn’t really support the message.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks man.

    Sites4Contractors makes the list! You don’t have to be pretty to be good at your job (unless you’re a model or something).
    Web Standards Sherpa is pretty, but I don’t think it’s effective at getting its message across. Reserve list.
    Bear Food, again it’s cute, but somehow ineffective.
    FoundationSix – that’s a 3-pointer!! On the list!
    LightCMS – I’ve seen a few nice versions of this site over the past 3/4 years, and they’re always effective. It works, so it’s in.
    ReverseBuro can’t make the list, because I don’t know what the hell is going on. Too cool for school, but doesn’t hit the brief.
    Dealotto is almost great, but I see one glaring error.. If these are deals, why don’t they publish the discount amount? Am I missing something? Reserve listed.

Alison Menzies - 3 years ago

Hi Ben

Here are 2 websites that I admire for different reasons…
Ali Brown, for her amazing content…I use this as a constant resource and inspiration.

The bourn creative team… well their website is something I aspire to, but can’t seem to get it working for myself :)

Good luck on the hunt…(no pun intended) looks like it’s harder than I would imagine to find good contenders for your ‘top 100 list!’

http://www.bourncreative.com/
http://www.alibrown.com/

Best wishes

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    There are some very nice things about the Bourn site. But I don’t like the way the logo seems to say “Born Creative”, and the informative text doesn’t need to be so grey and boxed in. I’ll put it on the reserve list.

    Ali Brown is clean, and the photo is good, but the busyness of the header section lets it down.

Joel - 3 years ago

Hi Ben, I always think this one is kind of unique:

http://www.wampserver.com/en

The English is obviously not written by a born Englishman, but I get a kick out of the design and find it easy to use.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I love it!

Charles - 3 years ago

Let’s nominate something very differently http://www.suheda.info

This is really going to be interesting.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Jesus, that’s appalling!!

Charles - 3 years ago

I;ll also give you http://www.talk2tinkx.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I like the big photo, but the rest of the design is shabby and uninformative.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Nearly great, but doesn’t tell me what the site offers. It feels like I already need to know the brand when I arrive.

      David Maria - 3 years ago

      Unfortunately it is one of those sites that is controlled to a minute degree by the client and recently they relaunched a new line of lip sticks and lip glazes and they are using a single image to promote the new product line.

      Before the launch of the new line that space was taken over with content that would have addressed your concern, and as some point the new product line image will be removed and the normal content will return.

Theresa Delgado - 3 years ago

Hi Ben!

Thank you for the opportunity. I’d like to submit ‘my’ new site – http://theresadelgado.com

If it doesn’t make your list, I’d be interested in your first impression.

Have a super day – Theresa :)

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Theresa. It’s nearly really good, but there are a few weak points. The temporary main heading doesn’t help you understand the proposition. The stock photography is unconvincing, and the graphics (like the red arrow) don’t look like they belong.

      Theresa Delgado - 3 years ago

      Thank you for looking Ben! I appreciate it.

      I changed the the main heading to what it should be.

      Regarding the “red arrow”, would you remove it, change the color, or put something else?

      Thank you for your time, I value your opinion – Theresa :)

      PS: I’m working my way through “Convert!”

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Theresa, there’s nothing wrong with red arrows. They can be very effective. But all your design features should look like they belong together. Pay attention to 3D effects in particular.

      Theresa Delgado - 3 years ago

      Thank you Ben!

      I get it!

      Have a great day – Theresa :)

James Bliss - 3 years ago

http://litmus.com/

Great typography, use of colour, layout, images, etc. etc. Fantastic email marketing (well, that is their business), super analytics, great technology and an awesome service (yes, I use and thoroughly recommend their services).
Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with Litmus but I do know the CEO personally.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks James. Great home page, great writing, clean and appealing design. Approved.

Karin - 3 years ago

Square Planet. My boss just showed me this website – super clean and simple. http://www.sqplanet.com/index.html

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I don’t find it very engaging, and the made-up words are a bit silly.

Steve - 3 years ago

I have tried to submit http://www.workflowy.com but unsuccessfully.
Maybe this time…

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Steve. It looked interesting at first, but I got a call to action to sign up for something, before knowing what the thing was. It can’t make the list for that reason.

Azfar - 3 years ago

Here is my recommendation:
http://www.caas.gov.sg
http://www.mara.gov.my

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    CAAS is pretty clean, but entirely unremarkable. And the Mara site didn’t load properly for me at all.

      Azfar - 3 years ago

      Just want to know what do you mean by “entirely unremarkable” ?

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Nothing special or effective enough to point out.

Angellica - 3 years ago

Hi. I’m sending this site from a company that I hired to design my own website. I thought their overall look was nice, and was actually what convinced me choose them. Well, besides being something I could afford. lol
http://www.cosmicwebcreations.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    The look is 10 years out of date. I’m not just talking about style, but our knowledge of effective visual design for marketing has moved on a generation since this site.

Matt Gee - 3 years ago

This site has really gone through great make overs. At least I think it has. What do you think, Ben?
http://www.christianchatcommunity.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Matt, I think it’s absolutely awful.

Kevin - 3 years ago

Hi Ben, I saw this site and it really stood out to me. It makes something dry and banal like payment processing understandable at a glance:

http://dwolla.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Kevin. It’s nearly really good, but there’s no strong focal point. The lack of tonal contrast makes the page feel insipid. It’s like everything’s trying to shy away.

ICD - 3 years ago

Have look..!
http://incredibledandeli.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Not bad at all, but not outstanding.

Alex Heller - 3 years ago

artsygeek.com has a hip-retro design. The ‘About’ section is super-cute too.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Alex, the design makes a few mistakes. The retro coloured line draws your eye away from the real content. And the fonts aren’t readable enough.

Nat - 3 years ago

Check it out! Any comment would be great!

http://www.nataliazoerivera.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Nat. It’s appealing, but the brief is to get your message across powerfully, and the home page fails to do that. It’s talking in a wistful, abstract, intellectual way. It doesn’t say, “Here’s what I’m going to do for you!”

Stephen - 3 years ago

Hi Ben.

One website that I go to frequently is http://thedigitalbits.com/

I have been going to thedigitalbits.com for years now as it is quite comprehensive in listing dvd/blu-ray news, panel discussions, cover art and industry inside information as well as reviews and product reccomendations.

Very cool site.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Ouch. Seriously?

Mark - 3 years ago

http://www.sweetparsley.com/
Trying to work within the constraints of Volusion. I respect your “eye” and will work toward that end

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Sorry, this cannot be called good design. Much of the text is distorted, which makes it far less readable, so it falls at the first hurdle. There’s also a significant lack of solidity.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Sorry, no to all.

David Maria - 3 years ago

And just a few more possibles:

http://www.hdtpools.com
http://www.ultimateproductsforlife.com
http://www.boiseimage.com
http://www.artfaire.org

Thanks Ben, have a wonderful weekend.

David

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Sorry David. I’m guessing this is your portfolio you’ve given me here. But they’re not up to the best of 2012.

Donn - 3 years ago

feefighters.com
contender.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    FeeFighters is a slam-dunk winner! Straight on the list.
    Contender.com is interesting. I like the initial page, but the app doesn’t work as well as I’d like. It shows shows for which there are no tickets available, and fails to show current/best prices in the results.

Hosam - 3 years ago

Here’s my own website:

http://www.funarama.com

What do you think?

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Very well executed Hosam.. It’s almost excellent, but the initial view doesn’t really tell me clearly what’s on offer.
    Added to the reserve list.

David Nicol - 3 years ago

We’re proud of this site we recently launched: http://www.shetlandgallery.com/

It isn’t explicitly ‘selling’, but hopefully it still inspires people to desire the artworks that are on display.

Keen to know your thoughts.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi David. I really love it! On the shortlist :-)

James Rawl - 3 years ago

Hi Ben,

I tried submitting http://www.drypro.ie earlier today but it seems to have been removed?
This is my site and it’s fairly new (6 months)
I have been getting good feedback, with a lot of visitors impressed with how clearly the site conveys what is for sale and what the product actually offers.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi James. It does many things right, but yellow text on mid-tone blue background will be unreadable to anyone with impaired vision, and is really not pleasant for the rest of us.

Bruce - 3 years ago

I’m a huge Yankees fan and after finding this website I’m an addict.
http://www.riveraveblues.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Bruce. The content may be great (and that’s coming from a Sox guy), but the navigation – damn! Any chrome reflection effect must be used with extreme caution.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Mm, naah. Hiredmyway didn’t render properly, and the family tree video site makes a big mistake… a continuously moving animation at the edge of vision, which makes it hard to look at anything else.

Timothy - 3 years ago

http://www.copyblogger.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Yes. It’s a bit grey, but you can’t deny it works. The message, people! It’s all about delivering the message. That’s what web pages are FOR. Approved.

Timothy - 3 years ago

http://www.allegranetwork.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Timothy, I’d change a few things. I don’t believe horizontal lines should extend past the content to the edges of the screen, for one. Also, the heavy condensed caps font in the navigation is hard to read.

Diane - 3 years ago

More interested in what you’ll have to say about it :) http://www.wolfmediaplus.com

Thanks

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Diane, the messaging is not sharp enough. “Set your sights higher” and “We can help” say nothing at all. And the bold white text on a gray gradient background is heavy on the eyes. Not one of the better designers’ sites I’ve reviewed.

jamsheedofar - 3 years ago

sir, this is my first website the host.Now iam fresher so that lote of mistake in it. so please informe theres mistake.God Bless You….
http://www.pxlindia.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Black text on red background.. mistake.

Kushal - 3 years ago

Hello Mr.Ben Hunt.
I am Kushal.I have my own website as a suggestion.Though it isn’t knowledgeable about something,it is a total time-pass site.I would like you to check it out once.
I will further email you with other suggestions too.
http://kushallegend.hpage.co.in/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Well done for making your first site. It is, unsurprisingly, wrong in almost every possible way. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Jimi Gautam - 3 years ago

This website is regarding science, research, health and experiments. Very useful for new experiments knowledge.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Feels cluttered, and I really dislike the putrid yellow-green colour. Links don’t show up clearly enough.

Darren Bristow - 3 years ago

An amazing guesthouse in Scotland run by Claire Holmes and her partner Tom http://www.Skiary.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Darren, there’s lots I really love about this site, and it got me thinking about booking…

    I don’t like the way the text is presented though, which causes me a problem. First, it starts low down and you have to scroll. Then it’s “reversed” – white text on a dark overlay.

    Go on – I’m going to put it on the list. It isn’t perfect, but I did engage with it, so it worked.

Jimi Gautam - 3 years ago

How about this one

http://lemonstandapp.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Very good design, and the message comes through loud and clear, so it’s making the shortlist.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Nearly great. But the first headline doesn’t tell me anything, “We love your mobile devices”.
    And it’s almost too big & close-up.
    Reserve listed.

Jimi Gautam - 3 years ago

Hi Ben this is very good website for the logo lovers

http://www.logopond.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    You’re right. It’s simple, but does exactly what you want. Shortlisted.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hmm. Get Out Today is interesting, but I don’t think it inspires me enough to want to get out. It should show stuff that’s actually on, with nice imagery, without making me sign up.

    I’m intrigued by Secrets Confessed, but there are two problems. Design-wise the logo has black-on-black, which is a big mistake. Also, where are the secrets? I see an RSS feed, so maybe they’re there, but I’d like to snoop other people’s secrets for inspiration.

Yingying - 3 years ago

Hi Ben,

I know a great financial management website called Mint (http://www.mint.com). Its interface is neat and clean and most important, it’s FREE! and they make it very clear on the website. It’s more like a platform than a website. The moment I used it, I fell in love with it and put all my credit card on it.

The other good website I know is a Chinese e-commerce channel website (http://guang.com). Not sure whether you want to take a website in a language other than English, but this one is really well-designed. It has awesomely neat interface and also a great business model – it connected e-commerce websites and put great products under different themes for visitors. For example, it has a theme for Hamster now, and if you click to view, it shows you all kinds of houses, toys, snacks for hamsters. You can then simply “Like” a product, or if you want to buy, it redirects you to the seller’s website.

Looking forward to your top 100 websites soon!!

Yingying

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Yingying.

    Mint is an excellent home page. It has always been a pretty site, but it has got sharper and simpler over time. Shortlisted.

    Unfortunately I can’t understand enough of guang.com to be in a position to judge its effectiveness.

Wally - 3 years ago

So i’ll make a few more submissions. I’m really curious about your thoughts on this site I created to try mimic flash with jQuery. It was my previous site for my company but I put it back up on my new domain.
http://www.prowebhost.ca

Here’s some others I think can be contenders:
http://www.stompsneakers.com
http://pressfortruth.tv
http://sixrevisions.com
http://www.newgrounds.com
http://www.tokyoflash.com
http://unity3d.com
http://www.newtek.com
http://jquerytools.org

So i think that’s all for now!!!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Wally.

    I don’t get on with the prowebhost.ca home page. It says “.mainMenu” where you expect the logo to be, which is just wrong. And I think it has spacing issues.
    I find Stompsneakers a bit oppressive. It makes me want to sit back in my seat.
    PressForTruth is interesting, but the visual design is quite heavy, doesn’t really help that all-important first impression.
    Six Revisions is perfectly clean and tidy, but didn’t engage me. Maybe it’s because it’s Monday morning 😉
    NewGrounds… Overload! I need to go and bathe my eyes.
    TokyoFlash again is a bit on the tech geek side, over-designed, just not 2012 in my book.
    Unity3D is OK, but there’s no strong identity, and there are much better examples of that kind of layout in the list already.
    NewTek, I didn’t get it. Who, what, why, huh?
    JQueryTools… Finally! I can put one on the list! It isn’t perfect. The text is on the small and grey side, but geeks don’t seem to mind that. Some beautiful graphics, and the message comes through.

nick - 3 years ago

rt.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Interesting, but not the most elegant way to show lots of content.

nick - 3 years ago

http://24ways.org/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Sorry Nick, I don’t like that at all.

Helen - 3 years ago

Hi. I want to recommend a site of one of my friend, I like it very much. I hope, like you, too.

http://www.round-interactive.ru/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hmm, I was curious, but the more I looked, the more the cartoony graphics seemed to take the focus. The content/message isn’t jumping out.

      Helen - 3 years ago

      I think you’re right. I have not thought about it.

Connie Schultz - 3 years ago

What about any of the following:

http://one-source.biz/index.html
http://www.sustainablelivinggroup.org/
http://www.energy-strategies.net/

I feel all the navigation is easy to use and for the most part the designs are “clean” which seems to be the trend right now. Your thoughts?

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Connie. Sorry, I don’t agree with you. I think these are all over-designed, with the effort going into the wrong areas.

Jeya Santhosh - 3 years ago

Hi Ben. How about this one?
http://www.tatamegapixel.com/index.asp

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It’s hard to say exactly why, but this didn’t work for me.

Devin - 3 years ago

http://www.2ezclan.net

Well designed, fully responsive and becomes a full fledged web app on apple devices. For kicks, try accessing it on an iPhone or an iPad.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Devin, it’s very good, but not quite outstanding enough in its delivery. The navigation recedes from view, the text is too light, and the white on white icons are barely visible. I’ll put it on my reserve list.

Annika - 3 years ago

http://www.creaspire.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Not up to the mark. Too flat, stock images that don’t go together, and flimsy weak typography.

Jeya Santhosh - 3 years ago

Hi Ben. Have a look a
http://www.damthemovie.com/3d/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    I didn’t get past the loading movie. Why designers take liberties with visitors’ attention in this way I’ll never understand.

Jason - 3 years ago

http://www.croydeholidayhome.co.uk/

This is one of ours that we attempted to do something a little different to our usual fair.

http://www.crookedlakecottagedevon.co.uk/

This one thtas a bit more traditional. I’d certainly apreciate your thoughts.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Of the two, I think Crooked Lake Cottage is the most effective. It has a simple job to do, which it does effectively – but not brilliantly.
    It has a few weaker points. I’m not keen on the footer gradient, or the height of the (pretty) header, which pushes the content quite low.
    I’ll add Crooked Lake to the list, but I’m not 100% sure it has the quality to go all the way. We’ll see.

Johnny - 3 years ago

Ben, just curious: At what resolution do you view all these sites?

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Usually on a large screen, why?

Timothy - 3 years ago

http://www.tableproject.org

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Uses a very modern style, but I don’t think it’s implemented anywhere near as elegantly as several others on the list.
    From a design-geek point of view, I’m quickly going off the wrap-around effect. More critically, the text on the wrap-around really doesn’t stand out, and the four feature callouts underneath feel confused.

Dana Tartal - 3 years ago

Hi Ben,

Here’s a work in progress but I’d love to hear your first impression. :)

http://www.mymainstreet.ca

Thanks!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Dana, this is looking very good, although it’s not finished. I don’t care much for the bright blue background, I find that tiring.
    The opening text is great, “Our business is getting your business found online (and for just pennies a day!)” … a good stab at an irresistible offer.
    It’s not best of 2012 quality yet, but I would be interested to see the final product.

Steve - 3 years ago

Hi Ben,

Just had to book a table here (Newcastle venue) for a client and this place had me sorted in about 30 seconds.

Effective and quite oldy-worldy?

http://www.browns-restaurants.co.uk/home/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Steve. I like Browns restaurants, and I’ve looked at this site twice now. I don’t quite feel it portrays the warmth and quality of the Browns experience (which is what they sell). The design is a bit cold and aloof. It could be turned up a couple of notches and would be very good.

Derek - 3 years ago

A few more;

http://www.352media.com/ (like the video & YOU focussed)
http://teamtreehouse.com/ (nice design & like the badge system)
http://www.click71.com/ (a favourite of mine)
http://www.jasonreedwebdesign.com/ (the first site using vertical menus that I’ve liked & works well)
http://www.darwinpay.co.uk/ (the exciting world of tax!)
http://www.freeagent.com/ (more tax!)
http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/ (so much better than the last time I visited)
http://www.logitech.com/ (always liked this clean site)
http://www.novatech.co.uk/ (good eCommerce site)
http://www.parcel2go.com/ (colourful parcel deliveries)
http://copyhackers.com/ (is this one allowed? – still a good site)
http://www.microsoft.com/ (not visited in a long time – so much cleaner than I remember – Windows 8 theme I guess)
http://www.mozilla.org/ (always good on the graphical side)

I can’t believe how difficult it is to find sites that I think are well designed – the web has a long way to go.

This is a great post Ben, your comments remind me of a mini version of the site reviews you do on the Pro Web Design Course. I’m making some useful notes!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Derek. A bunch of great suggestions here!

    http://www.352media.com – Yes, the copywriting is particularly good. And it made me smile a couple of times. Included, bringing me to the halfway point.
    http://teamtreehouse.com/ – Very likeable, but the initial headline isn’t great. Too open-ended, and doesn’t tell me what’s on offer. Almost great. Reserve listed.
    http://www.click71.com/ – You can’t call it brilliant, but I think it’s very effective. One big irritation… It’s one guy with one laptop, and there’s a link to “Our Work”. Aaaagh!! But it’s good enough for my list.
    http://www.jasonreedwebdesign.com/ – I love it. It’s a little reserved. He could do more by way of call to action, but maybe he doesn’t need too many leads. Added.
    http://www.darwinpay.co.uk/ – The content is great, but I really don’t like the colour scheme. If the home page did a slightly better job of punching me on the nose with their irresistible offer, I think it would be on the shortlist.
    http://www.freeagent.com/ – I feel like I’ve seen it all before, and don’t care for the thin white text on a dark background on the home page. Reserve list.
    http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/ – You know what, this site now does an elegant job of presenting quite a complex offering in a simple way. Plus, it now works without the www. I’ll shortlist it.
    http://www.logitech.com/ – There are so many great things about this site, but they’ve really messed up by putting all the links in bright light blue. That’s inexcusable, excludes a chunk of the audience, and for that reason they can’t make the shortlist.
    http://www.novatech.co.uk/ – Good enough for the shortlist. It’s hard to get excited about ecommerce sites, but this one does a great job.
    http://www.parcel2go.com/ – There are a few good sites that do this service. I couldn’t live with the brightness of the colour scheme for more than a few minutes though. Too overwhelming.
    http://copyhackers.com/ – It is a friend’s site, and I do like it, but there are mistakes. There’s space wasted at the top, and – more importantly – pale green link colour?! Reserve list.
    http://www.microsoft.com/ – You’re absolutely right. An incredibly complicated site executed really elegantly. I did get stuck on the Windows Phone site with no means to get back to the main site, but that’s forgiveable. Shortlisted.
    http://www.mozilla.org/ – Delicious, again. At one point I got thrown into a completely different layout, which was also good, but the new theme is amazing! Simple propositions delivered perfectly. Shortlisted.

Morten - 3 years ago

Hmmm, i think this is quite good. Nothing wrong with making ppl smile.
http://www.dollarshaveclub.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Of course. That would have been one of my suggestions. Great, bold, “in your face” marketing.

Esther - 3 years ago

http://www.kragtgroep.nl

A Dutch website that translates what the company stands for. Simple, effective but high quality Interior design.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    No message at all.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Get the Five – It’s attractive and neatly designed. The content comes through well, but I don’t get the proposition of the site from the home page. I think it badly needs a strap line to say what it’s for. I’ll add it to the list, but it may not make the final 100.
    Design Milk – Clumsily designed. The ads at the top really don’t help the design, and the navigation is poor.
    Worry Free Labs – I’ll put this on the list. While I don’t much like white text on dark backgrounds, the way they let you browse a wide selection of work from the home page without scrolling is very well executed.
    City is Burning – I like the personality that comes through, and the design textures are curiously fresh. I think it would be better to have a photo alongside the “Hello, I’m…” message, and the fonts could be more readable. Reserve list.
    Electric Pulp – Does its job with personality. I like that the home page is “Work”, getting straight to the point. i.e. “What we’re about is the work we produce for our clients, and that’s the first thing you need to know.” Listed.

carl - 3 years ago

Hello Ben,
I will suggest this two sites

http://www.makingpeoplefree.org.uk/

http://www.mansag.org/mansag/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Nothing distinctive in these designs.

Victoria - 3 years ago

http://www.refdesk.com — use this site at least once a day

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Positively awful design. Thanks for sharing.

edgar allan - 3 years ago

Bootleg Radio
http://www.bootleg-radio.com/

No labels. Just great music!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Wrong in so many ways.

Marian - 3 years ago

Hello Ben,
what do you think about http://forexsignals.cz?

Thank you for your opinion.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Marian. It’s clean and the content is pretty good, but lacks some personality and call to action. I’ll put it on my reserve list.

Wian Rifqi Dwi - 3 years ago

I think, autodesk.com, udk.com & square-enix.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Autodesk is OK once you get past the white-on-black home page, but nothing really that stands out.

Musashi - 3 years ago

http://www.gpotato.com is my favourite

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks. That is an engrossing and, actually, very effective home page. Might be better if the first slide gave the proposition, but it’s there lower down anyway. Listed!

Doreen - 3 years ago

I was just looking for a new ecommerce solution and found this site:

http://go.magento.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Doreen. Great suggestion. It’s on the short list.

Doreen - 3 years ago

Here’s another site I just found: http://www.coffeecup.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Excellent site! Listed.

Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

I just found this one today, and I love it so much I’m going to add it to my own list.. http://www.betabrand.com/

    Karin - 3 years ago

    Hi Ben,
    Would love to hear why you love this site. I found it too busy. I suppose it’s clear what the site is for, but I have no desire to shop there – it’s overwhelming. My personal opinion, of course, so would love to hear your experienced opinion!

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Hi Karin. It is busy, but sometimes life is busy. Sometimes great restaurants and stores are busy. Sometimes busy can be part of the experience, as long as you can still get what you need.

      What I love about this site is the amount of personality on display. It’s different, in a good way. I find myself liking it, and liking is a very helpful lead-in to buying.

Derek - 3 years ago

How about;
http://css-tricks.com/
I debated about this one because of the distracting frog image, but it is a site I use & like, so I’ll throw it in there.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    There’s something that immediately didn’t work for me. I think it’s because there are high-noticeability elements dotted around the edges of the page, so there’s no central focal point (i.e. the Content!)

    Looks cute, but it’s a design fail.

Helen - 3 years ago

May be… this site?

https://www.keycaptcha.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It’s interesting, but the home page doesn’t achieve much. It would be far better to have a demo right there on the home page.

    I think the product is better than the website.

    I’ve put it on my reserve list.

Lesley Eden - 3 years ago

what do you feel about this?
http://www.exhibitiondesign.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Lesley, I think that site works really really well! It gives you a taste of exactly what they do – create experiences. Listed!

Timothy - 3 years ago

http://www.bottlerocketapps.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Absolutely ROCKS!! Makes the list.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    David, that’s a bloody good website.

    I LOVE how you’ve put “Amazing Feedback” as a nav item. You’re selling in a place that people don’t usually sell. But nav is usually scanned, so that’s the perfect place to differentiate. Great job, listed, +1d etc…

    (I don’t like the style of the testimonials though, all smudgy, breaks the mood.)

Sharath - 3 years ago

Hello Ben How about this ?
http://florotech.com/
http://www.thegalleryhues.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Florotech, I don’t get it at all. I understand “Services” but what’s “Works”? You can’t tell above the fold what the site is FOR.

    And Gallery Hues is not easy on the eye. The massive Lichenstein-style background is very busy, even though it’s pale. I would prefer to see larger, richer shots of the artwork.

Timothy - 3 years ago

http://www.harrisonappliance.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Actually, that site does its job very well indeed! (Web designers out there.. here’s a hint. Don’t forget to SELL!)

    I would add another call to action at the end of the main content. Also, it would be good to see what they mean by “appliance”. If I need my dryer repaired, does that count?

    But in terms of effective design (i.e. solving the marketing problem) it’s among the best. Listed.

Sam - 3 years ago

My vote goes to the site design by Concrete Cloud http://concretecloud.co.uk – i’ve come across this site on fb or twiter a few times now and it always captures my attention! Love this site.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It’s a decent implementation of the prevailing style, but I don’t think it’s one of the best. Don’t know why, but I don’t quite connect. I’ll put it on the reserve list.

thiết kế web - 3 years ago

I think that what you published made a lot of sense.
However, what about this? what if you were to create a killer title?

I mean, I don’t wish to tell you how to run your blog, however what if you added a post title that makes people desire more? I mean Wanted – Your Recommendation for the 100 Best Designed Websites is kinda boring. You could peek at Yahoo’s home page and see how they write post titles to get people to click. You might try adding a video or a pic or two to grab readers interested about what you’ve written. Just my opinion, it might make your posts a little livelier.

James Rawl - 3 years ago

Hi Ben,

I have previously recommended this site
http://www.drypro.ie
which you gave some good feedback on but decided it wasn’t up to scratch.
i have now made some tweaks and would be interested to hear what you think now

Thanks
James

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    James, remove the “welcome” message, move your intro heading above the rotating images so it’s the #1 most noticeable thing, and rewrite the first paragraph to be punchier, and I’ll add it :-)

Richard - 3 years ago

http://www.hechtrealestate.com

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Can’t make the list with that intense background colour. Plus the logo’s low-quality and in the wrong place.

Rita - 3 years ago

http://www.knotsindeed.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It’s quite effective, but the tonal contrast on the logo is all wrong, and I don’t care for the inverted tabs on the navigation. I can’t say this is an example of the best of 2012.

Qarau - 3 years ago

http://talentmagnet-group.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    There are a couple of things that don’t work for me in this design.

    The major problem is that the site doesn’t really provide a distinguishing UVP.. I get the overall message, but that’s so generic, it could apply to any recruitment agency.

    What’s special about this one? Why does it apply to me specifically? What do they do that others don’t? Why should I care enough to submit my details?

    So I do think it needs to tell more, and maybe be more specific. I’m not even sure if it applies to my geographical area. Every person I see on the site is Asian. So in which countries does the site operate?

    I also find the colour combination too primary. Orange-red, blue, and yellow all on the same design feel very childish.

      Qarau - 3 years ago

      Awesome!! Thank you Ben for the constructive criticism. Their logo color was the orange-red and blue and they’re based in Singapore. I’ll see if I can convince the client to tweak it a bit. Thank you again and keep up the great work. I’ve learnt so much here and hope to sign up to your course soon.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Qarau, I could find no mention on the whole site that they’re based in Singapore. That could be a serious issue.

      Qarau - 3 years ago

      Thanks for that Ben. They didn’t have that in the copy but I am thinking of adding “in Singapore” to the end of of the home page headline. Appreciate your feedback.

    Qarau - 3 years ago

    Just came across the Body Shop site.
    http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      I find it pretty confusing when I first arrive. I think I was expecting something more magazine-like, maybe fewer large features. My eye didn’t know where to land, and there was no first message. Reserve list.

      Qarau - 3 years ago

      Great feedback Ben. I think the bottom portion of the landing page has a little more order then the top. I like their inside pages though.

Simon - 3 years ago

Hi Ben,

Just discovered u! I’m starting a web business with my partner and I think your site and info will be of great value, so thanks for that!

I would like two put up two (similar sites):

http://www.airbnb.com (my favorite!)

http://www.istopover.com

What do u thinks?

Cheers

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Simon, I love Air BnB.. definitely going on the list. Thanks!

Johnny - 3 years ago

Squarespace.com changed their website.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    They have, and I absolutely love it!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    That’s graphic art. I don’t see any web design happening.

Eamon - 3 years ago

I like …
http://www.d10studio.com.mx/

and for original navigation system I [think] I like ..
http://www.bcpinfini.com/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    D10Studio could make it. I really like their contact form, the navigation is easy and clear, and the quality of their work comes through, which is the whole purpose of the site.

    I can’t add BCPInfini, because I got stuck with its original navigation system. Total fail.

Aurora - 3 years ago

Take a look at http://www.stockpix.biz please.
Thanks,
Aurora

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Aurora.

    This breaks so many rules it can’t possibly make my top 100. The animated background must add a lot of file size and bandwidth, and does nothing but totally distract from the content of the site. The logo is far too over-designed too.

    Sorry

Matt - 3 years ago

http://www.weheart.co.uk

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hmm, interesting.

    At first I didn’t think the typeface worked very well, and there were too many things changing before my eyes, but then I was drawn into the site.

    The content is good, but I don’t think the layout and tonal/colour choices really help you enjoy browsing. I’ll put it on my reserve list.

TME - 3 years ago

We recently re-designed our website – we’re a web design and online marketing agency in Kent – http://www.tmesolutions.co.uk – think we’d make it? :)

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It’s very pretty, but all style over substance. I think the site is too extreme, going overboard on the tricks.

    I don’t like the menu bar that follows me around. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

    But, most of all, I can’t get the content. Reversed text is hard to read, and it’s small. The contact form is very fussy.

    The middle bits on the home page (like “How we do it”) are sharper, but the slider in there still feels like it’s throwing too much at me.

    I’m disappointed, because an awful lot of skill and creativity has gone into this. But in terms of DESIGN – the crafting of effective communication – I can’t put it on my shortlist :-(

Jacob - 3 years ago

I think http://www.crazyegg.com/ is pretty good, although perhaps a bit text-heavy.

I’m not offering this as an example, but as you’ve given some comments on most sites anything you have to say about http://www.writing-skills.com would be enormously helpful to me. I’m trying to apply the insights of Convert! to it, as and when managerial approval allows.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Crazyegg is quite pleasant, but not a great example of execution of the type.

    The first impression of writing-skills.com was “business template”, but on scanning the first 10 or so things that I saw, I really didn’t understand what it offered.

    I didn’t understand what “business writing trainers” meant.. Is it something to do with running shoes? It’s not 100% crystal clear, so how about, “We teach great business writing” or “Courses in effective writing for business”.. it takes a few more words, but at least it’s unambiguous.

      Erin - 3 years ago

      Hi Jacob & Ben!

      Got a notification about the mention of CrazyEgg and thought I’d share the case study that was just written up on their new homepage design. It’s challenging to nitpick a new design when it’s increased their revenue by 510%. Pretty impressive.

      Here’s the link to the conversion case study I just read on the CrazyEgg homepage; hope you find it as interesting as I did! Just wanted to share…

      http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com/crazy-egg-case-study/?awt_l=6pKAU&awt_m=JGC2ZabsmznbKj

      Jacob - 3 years ago

      Thanks a lot for your feedback, Ben. I’d never considered the line beneath the logo before, just taken it as a given – shows what a pair of fresh, expert eyes can do!

TIGERdesign - 3 years ago

Hi!
i don’t know how a website like “behance.net” get to the “other Possibles” list..
it’s platform and design one of the best user experience sites i know :)
hope everyone have a look at it and say they opinion

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback. It caused me to go back for a new look. And I really enjoyed my visit. The content is great, and the design makes it easy to get. I’ll bump it onto the main list!

      TIGERdesign - 3 years ago

      I’m happy you find behance.net interesting. i can’t wait to see the final list.. i’ll visit every site on the final list and give it a try.
      cheers 😀

Caleb - 3 years ago

This should absolutely be on your list: http://mostlyserious.io/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Caleb. It didn’t really make me feel happy or inspired. I have seen a lot of agency sites, and I really find myself drawn to the ones that put their personality all the way out there. I didn’t get that from this one. The b/w photos on hover puzzled me in particular.

Karin - 3 years ago

I just received a link to the new website for Cost Plus World Market and think it’s pretty nice looking and mostly user-friendly. The one thing that I think is missing is a clear description of what they do…but Cost Plus has the advantage of a well-known brand. What do you think, Ben? Thanks!

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Karin. I definitely got that first impression, “What is this?” followed by, “Is this for me?” I had to scroll down to the phone number to discover that the site is US-based.

    It is pretty nice, though, giving quite a rich experience, and I like the way products are themed. The cart and checkout work quite well too.

    I’m going to add it to my list for another review later.

Chris Olberding - 3 years ago

Hi, we’re a design agency in Jacksonville, Florida and recently redesigned our website – http://www.stationfour.com. Also, the work we recently did for Peterbrooke Chocolatier is being featured in a web design magazine published in England in the next couple months – http://www.peterbrooke.com.

Thanks.

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Chris. I totally love your site! The way the whole background switches on the home page slider is really fresh, and all the content is totally sharp. On my list!

    Really not sure about Peterbrooke… the intensity of the royal blue combined with magenta just made me want to close the window.

      Chris Olberding - 3 years ago

      Thanks! Quite an undertaking. Appreciate the feedback.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      I totally appreciate that. Your team did a great job of executing a clear vision.

      Chris Olberding - 3 years ago

      Submitted our site without really going through all the 400+ comments and great and awful sites above, which I just did. Just wanted to say good job, I know it’s not easy telling people that their hard work isn’t very good. Best of luck.

      Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

      Thanks Chris. It’s known as the “Your baby is ugly” conversation :-)

Sarah Peters - 3 years ago

Hi Ben,

Here’s my personal site, just launched last month: http://www.sarahpeterswebdesign.com

A colleague’s site, just launched today: http://www.seo-consultant-london.com

I notice you don’t have too many magazine-style sites on your list, curious what you think about this one I did for a non-profit organization: http://www.lifebeat.org

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Thanks Sarah. I’ve added your site and the SEO consultant site. Both very sharp and well-focused. Great work!

    (On your own site, maybe tweak the levels/contrast of the smaller top photo of you, as it’s a little duller than the main shot.)

    I’d love to add the Lifebeat site. It does a good job of communication, but it isn’t quite best-of-breed.. I’m not a fan of mid-tone backgrounds, and I don’t know why it has the black strip across the top. The overall effect is a little too high-contrast for me, a bit harsh. I’ll put it on the reserve list and review later.

Paul de Wouters - 3 years ago

she’s a beauty
http://www.ghosthorses.co.uk/

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    Hi Paul.

    I did find it painfully pale in places – a bit like the desert where Cpt Jack Sparrow got marooned in Pirates of the Caribbean 3.

    But then I did spend several minutes on the site, because I really LIKED the experience. And I guess that makes it effective.

    Listed :-)

Greg Wastl - 3 years ago

How about http://www.abookapart.com ?

    Ben Hunt - 3 years ago

    It’s well laid out, but I really struggle with the poo-brown link colour. It’s a little too pale, and I don’t like the hue. Maybe I’m being really picky.

    I’ve always loved AListApart.com, and although its design is classic, can we really say it’s best of breed for 2012? I dunno

Jordan Dick - 3 years ago

Hi Ben,

Here’s a couple I am particularly proud of. Don’t know if they are worthy of your list but I thought I’d take a shot.

http://hudsonvalleydivorcemediation.com/
http://jenkinstownmotors.com/