#1 Bad News
Launched in February 2018, this is a research project in the form of an online game with a really interesting premise - helping players to become better attuned to misinformation and ‘fake news’ by training them to act just like the producers of that kind of material.
Born of a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and a Dutch media company, the game is a cleverly conceived and well-written piece of online engagement. The theory and research underpinning the game suggests that if people are exposed to the kind of tactics that purveyors of fake news use, then they will become a little more resistant or ‘immune’ to it.
The game mechanic is really simple, whereby the player is presented a series of simple choices on index cards, and gently guided in the ways of misinformation in order to build a Twitter following.
The real engagement comes from careful content structure and copywriting with a friendly and persuasive tone-of-voice. That said the visual design is spot on too. Quite restrained but very game-like (collect those badges people!), and it’s just wonderfully easy to interact with. Occasional punches of bold primary colours help stress the cheap and gaudy nature of attention seeking headline writing too.
The game also carefully weaves in some useful and anonymous data capture, no doubt providing the researchers at Cambridge with lots of interesting data to dissect and use in the battle against fake news.
This one-page website is visually stimulating and great fun to scroll through. In an age when web design continues the steady slide to homogeneity, it’s refreshing to see an example that really stands out and challenges our perceptions of what a website can look like.
The page is rich with original aesthetic details and quirky ideas, all inspired by the life and work of the websites’ subject - who is a visual and music researcher, writer, and curious collector of pop-culture. Slightly brutalist in its nature, the design delivers a delightful variety of attention-grabbing animations and micro-interactions.
Of course when the brief is to showcase an inherently visual and creative person, then the freedom is there to make a really creative website. Who says we can’t sneak a little more if this approach into the more mainstream run of the mill situations perhaps? Please?
Another in the gorgeous single page website category. In fact, as with the Livia Satriano website, this one also features on the great source of inspiration that is onepagelove.com.
Unlike the Satriano site, however, this one conforms a little more to the kind of website that you would probably expect to see promoting a rather lovely holiday property in Devon. The quality here is in the execution though, and the lovely attention to visual details.
The palette is calm, neutral and, well, coastal. Lovely seaside and seafaring etchings sit in the background. All very fitting for a property located in ‘Hope Cove’. I especially like the circle of nautical rope woven into the main photo gallery previous and next buttons.
The page is divided into 6 key sections and each one is indulged in space, with great photography featured liberally and written information sensitively included. By the end of it, you will already have your bags packed.
OK, caveat right up front - this website is all about data visualisation. It involves lots of data and epic visualisations. As a result, it needs a little loading time and may put a squeeze on your processor. It’s worth it though, so close down those browser tabs you haven’t looked at in ages anyway.
The data in question is the human population. It has been compiled from a number of sources and used to elegantly display the variations in population density across the globe. The presentation is a fascinating 3-dimensional map, where the more densely populated areas are lifted vertically off the map and literally appear as mountains.
It might be no surprise as to where the most populous parts of the world, or indeed a particular country are, but what this data presentation so neatly reveals is the sudden differences in density. For example close to home here in Scotland’s central belt, Glasgow’s population is clearly quite sprawling, whereas Edinburgh rises as a sharp peak.
If your PC processor is up to it there is neat ‘Fly to’ feature in the corner of the map that moves you around the globe highlighting some of the more jaw-dropping statistics in terms of populous places. For example ‘China’s Pearl River Delta is becoming a megalopolis where three 10 million+ cities are merging’.
This site is a very fine example of some of the key web design trends of the past couple of years. As such it could be rightly accused of looking a bit similar to at least 1 or 2 other websites that you have probably encountered.
This one is worth singling out for a wee mention though, for the way it establishes and maintains a straightforward value proposition (we will make your life easier), and speaks clearly and honestly in the way it sells benefits to its core audiences.
A cleverly written headline tells us straight away what this business is all about - simplifying property rental. Great copywriting is such an integral part of effective web design, and I doff my imaginary cap to whoever crafted the line ‘The home of deposit-free renting’.
The sparingly populated site is peppered with a selection of trendy people-centred illustrations that strengthen the brand identity in their consistent use of a core colour palette.
All in all, this is a nice example of a modern company selling a service that aims to shake up (don’t like to say disrupt) a traditional marketplace with a digital technology platform.
Is there a designer out there who wouldn’t relish the opportunity to go retro? Personally, I would have loved to work on this 1990s nostalgia-fest of a website that is promoting the latest movie from the Marvel universe. Almost as much as I would love to design a 1980s Wargames throwback - Yes, I know I am showing my age!
The site has been put together in a painfully authentic way. You can almost hear the distant tones and squeals of that 28k modem. The designers have rolled out many of the classic hallmarks of early world wide web aesthetics - crudely aliased animated gifs, dark backgrounds, montage images with retro Photoshop filters, and yes, Comic Sans!
Further nostalgic touches come via a guestbook, a hit counter and delightful Windows 95 styled media players. Let’s be honest, it’s not pretty, but it is fun, and helps you realise just how far the internet has come.
What is your favourite design(s) of 2018/2019? Get in touch, @wearegecko!