Best of 2016: Web Design Lauren Nelson | December 28th, 2016

There are only a few more days left in the year, and it’s been a huge one for web design. Companies have started to understand how crucial a strong user experience is to maximizing conversion with their online audiences, and have invested accordingly. As they’ve done this, web aesthetics have exploded in terms of creativity, making picking a few of our favorites exceedingly difficult. Even so, these stood out from the pack.

 

JK Rowling

The beloved Harry Potter author’s website was due for an overhaul, and this sprucing up was just the ticket. The custom, distinctive background nicely encompasses the value Rowling provides through her writing, community engagement, and social media presence. It’s a great example of a website design that neatly aligns with the unique value proposition of the brand it represents.

 

Hemp Meds

We wrote earlier this year about the exploding branding scene inside legal cannabis consumption, and this fresh look for Hemp Meds exemplifies exactly what so many legal cannabis brands are aiming for: legitimacy. The prominent featuring of a happy family and the framing of the product’s value as a solution instead of a form of entertainment were deliberate choices, and give the site the look and feel of a pharmaceutical or healthcare company. This is a fantastic case of a brand understanding the necessity of positioning in a field where expansion is more akin to a game of chess than sales game.

 

RocketBuilder.com

Ok, we’ll be the first to admit that the ask here — $109 million for a custom built, fully functional rocket — is more than a little fanciful. But this ULA site’s design almost makes the offer seem accessible to even the lowest of us plebeians. The interactive setup makes it seem like you, too, have the ability to place an order for your very own rocket ship, and the clean, futuristic aesthetic makes the experience engrossing. We might not be in a position to click “buy” anytime soon, but if we had that much money laying around, this website design would more than tempt us.

avidxchange

When your company grows, it’s important that your image grows with it, and this website redesign from avidxchange is exactly how you do that. The Charlotte-based provider of accounts payable and payment automation solutions had acquired three different companies over the past several years, and it was finally time to unify the brands under one umbrella. This website redesign not only accomplished the goal by creating a sharp image for the unification, but it did so while paying homage to the process that brought the company to this place with intersecting angles reflecting the composition of the company’s ultimate value.

 

iFly 50

Ok, the screenshot does not do this design work justice. Go to the website. Just do it. Now. iFly is the in-flight magazine for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. To celebrate the anniversary of the publication, KLM launched a stunning website highlighting 50 fantastic travel destinations, expertly weaving artistic design, interactive features, and gorgeous video. If you check out just one website on this list, make it this one. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Realistically, we could write thousands of words about the ever-evolving world of web design. 2016 might have been a trash year in many respects, but it was stellar in this regard, and we can’t wait to see what designers bring to the table in 2017.

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