Are smartphones and tablets the beginning of the end for stationary computers? Many developments confirm this, not just the increasing number of mobile search queries on Google. The mobile first approach follows this trend and places primary importance on creating mobile websites. A slimmer scope and more dynamic layout yield more than just satisfied smartphone users — they boost search result...
Take a good look at your website’s layout. Is it unique and visually appealing, or does it have a generic or haphazard look? Your answer could be more important than you think; a web project’s success hinges on how attractive and intuitive the web design is. There’s no rulebook for creating cool website designs. In the competitive, over-crowded environment of cyberspace, it’s all about standing out from the crowd and presenting your visitors with an attractive front end that speaks to them. Websites often provide customers with their first impression of a business or brand, meaning that web design is a decisive factor in a company’s success. Web projects with original designs thus have an advantage over their competitors. Luckily, there is a wealth of online resources, from which website operators can glean information and gather inspiration.
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Seven sources of inspiration at a glance
Waiting for that burst of creative energy can be frustrating. But thanks to the countless websites dedicated to web design, inspiration can be found with a single click of a mouse. Read on to discover the best sources of inspiration for web design trends and website ideas.
If you’re struggling to get those creative juices flowing, it’s a good idea to first check out an online artist community like Dribbble. A self-described ‘show and tell for designers’, Dribbble is a platform for web designers, graphic designers, illustrators, font designers, and artists, who come from all over the world to discuss their projects, share their work, and get website design ideas. This social network allows creative people to share up to 48 screenshots of their art per month.
The images are limited to a maximum of 400 x 300 pixels and can be tagged in order to be found via the search function. While the site does sadly lack more comprehensive filtering functions, Dribbble does offer many benefits. Standard membership is free and allows users to follow and contact artists and like their images. You can access further functions by purchasing a ‘Pro’ account for a reasonable price. When it comes to the diverse work on display, Dribbble’s versatility makes it a varied and interesting source of inspiration.
Behance is another international network for creative people, which is geared towards publishing creative web design. In 2012, the platform was bought by Adobe and became part of the Creative Cloud Packager. Adobe customers thus receive automatic access to Behance’s basic functions.
Like Dribbble, Behance is primarily for artists such as photographers, graphic designers, fashion designers, and filmmakers. With this platform, users can share their work with the public, rate other users’ images, and even find potential customers. Signing up to Behance is free; however, as with Dribbble, all website visitors can view an artist’s portfolio. One thing that makes Behance a cut above, however, is its improved filtering functions. In addition, the display is of a far higher quality. For inspiration for your website design, we recommend the creative fields, Webdesign and UI/UX.
Awwwards presents itself as an online ‘meeting point’ for digital artists, offering space for designers to promote their work, provide feedback to others, and find sources of inspiration. The platform gives designers, developers and creative agencies the opportunity to submit web projects and receive critique from a jury of professionals. As stated on the website, Awwwards’ main aim is to discover talent and shine a spotlight on talented artists who are enriching the internet with their groundbreaking, user-friendly, and beautiful designs. Each day, Awwwards chooses a ‘site of the day’ to display on the homepage. The winners then appear in the annual publication, ‘The 365 Best Websites Around The World’. Visitors can collect inspiration for their own website designs by browsing the gallery of winners. Users can also filter their search according to category, date, color scheme, or country.
The Favorite Website Awards, better known as FWA, is a distinguished awards program in the industry, honoring outstanding web design since 2000. Like Awwwwards, FWA features a ‘site of the day’ (SOTD) on its homepage. On top of that, the site also selects a ‘site of the month’ (SOTM), which is then automatically shortlisted for the annual People’s Choice Award (PCA). With its focus on offbeat website designs, FWA is a great source of inspiration for website operators who want to stand out from the crowd. Visitors can filter through award-winning websites with various categories, or view any winning website design. Furthermore, FWA functions as a job platform, just like Dribbble, Behance, and Awwwards.
CSS Design Awards
The online platform CSS Design Awards also showcases a ‘Website of the day’, as well as monthly and annual winners. Some of the evaluation criteria include ‘Creative Design’, ‘Core & Function’, and ‘UX & Content’. Visitors can view the winners and nominees and filter by color, features, and industry. In addition, the website offers articles on topics surrounding web design, as well as links to freely available resources.
One Page Love
Think subpages are overrated? Prefer to have everything available on a single page? One Page Love has a wide range of sites and themes for users to draw inspiration from. The platform, which describes itself as ‘the ultimate showcase of One Page websites, templates, and resources’, features an online gallery with more than 5700 unique layouts. These website designs are sorted into different categories and based on trends like Parallex Scrolling, Flat Design, or a Centrally Divided Layout. Users can also find articles, icon sets, and tutorials in the collection of resources.
From elaborate 3D effects to subtle shadows, FlatDSGN has it all. This platform is all about websites with a minimalistic aesthetic. Flat Design has established itself as the answer to the popular skeuomorphist style (which attempts to represent objects as realistically as possible). When it comes to FlatDSGN, less is more, and the site concentrates on designs that minimize clutter, reducing elements to the essentials. This platform understands that internet users tend to be drawn towards website designs that are not only visually attractive, but also intuitive and boast high performance. FlatDSGN offers impressive web design ideas from across the internet, as well as links to freebies such as UIs and icon fonts.