2010 Retrospective: 25 Impressive Awareness/Action Web Site Designs

Lisa Howey's picture



2010 Retrospective: 25 Impressive Awareness/Action Web Site Designs

I compiled a list of website designs that impressed me the most in 2010. They all are examples of kick ass design but more importantly each and every one of them inspires change, encourages action, and brings people together. I also looked at the way they are coded to see their potential in reaching the fast growing mobile market.

The list has two categories: Flash vs. HTML/CSS. There are a few sites where Flash is necessary because of the animation, interactivity or video components. But I also examined the graceful degradation of these sites. Did the site design make it necessary to build the experience in flash? What is the experience of the user on a non-flash device? Can you still get basic information? Still participate?

Three of the sites did a pretty good job at delivering similar information in a non-flash version (Summit on the Summit, Starved for Attention, and Multiple Scelerosis) and provided ways you could still participate.

I was surprised to find that only one of the sites non-flash version was aimed at a mobile and/or tablet users. So kudos goes to the folks over at Otterball who put the site together for Musician's Corner.

Four of the sites need to consider taking a look at the huge audience they are missing by not having enough information available on the non-flash version of their sites: (Million Baby Crawl, Share the Little Things, Green The Capitol and Madaktari Africa.) I would argue that Madaktari Africa's website really didn't need to be built in flash at all and that Green the Capitol could have reserved Flash for the “explore buildings” tour. At first I was impressed by the high fidelity of The Truth Unfiltered non-flash version, until I realized that the content on the page was useless to the actual campaign and was just telling you in 6 different ways that you should download the most recent flash player.

There are some compelling numbers out there proving that mobile users are a HUGE audience. And I first became aware of this two years ago when I had the chance to see Luke Wroblewski’s Mobile First presentation. Here are some of Luke’s key points from his presentation about the market:
• Mobile web is growing 8x faster than desktop web since the AOL heydays.
• Smartphone sales will surpass PC sales in 2011
• AT&T mobile data traffic increased 50x in the past 3 years since the release of the iPhone
• Heavy data mobile users will triple by 2013
• Mobile data traffic is growing 108% by 2014
• Many users access your site on their mobile device first and then eventually graduate and check our your site from their desktop.

Other interesting data from Luke:
iPhone's Disproportionate Share
US Smartphone Market

What is the easiest way to find out how your site does on a mobile or tablet device? In Firefox all you need to do is go to Tools in your menu bar, select Add-on's, toggle to Plugins and disable Shockwave Flash. There are some Flash Blocker add-ons for various browsers, but this just blocks the flash object and doesn't necessarily load a true non-flash version of a site. Flash Blocker is better suited to disable pesky flash ads. To disable the Flash player in IE is of course is a hassle and different for almost every version they released, so for testing purposes instead of going through all that trouble I would just go pick up your smart phone or borrow an tablet device to see how your site looks.

Now that I'm done my rant, enjoy these beautiful websites … on your desktop computer.

Interactive Flash

Million Baby Crawl – Join us in demanding toxic chemical reform!
Seventh Generation is spreading the word about the need to update regulations and laws to help protect families from toxic chemicals found in household products.

Summit on the Summit: Basecamp
16 celebrities climbed Mr. Kilimanjaro to fight the global clean water crisis and Summit on the Summit site documented their climb, including status updates, bios, videos, and incorporated social media. During the trek, you were able to tweet directly to the team.

Musicians Corner
Come visit Centennial Park, free and open to all, where people gather to perform and enjoy music. They want to welcome visitors in Nashville and bring the community together via a shared experience.

The Truth Unfiltered - De Facto
De Facto aims their site at revealing the truth about the tobacco industry, the strategies over the years to keep harmful products on the shelves and the few victories won for public health along the way.

Share the Little Things
An online community for those impacted by metastatic breast cancer encourages members to share stories about their personal triumphs and struggles.There are so many heartfelt stories on the site.

Starved for Attention
UNICEF estimates that there are nearly 195 million children suffering from malnutrition across the globe. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and VII Photo present “Starved for Attention,”is a multimedia campaign exposing the neglected and largely invisible crisis of childhood malnutrition.

Having MS
A simulator site to help people understand what it is like to have Multiple Sclerosis through interactive media.

Green The Capitol
An interactive website to show the many ways that the Capitol is becoming environmentally responsible.

Madaktari Africa
Madaktari is medical training and education for the developing world. Physicians training physicians. Health care workers training health care workers. The Madaktari team helps local caregivers learn the techniques they need to care for their community.

Beautiful HTML/CSS
I can't say that each site is designed with mobile experience in mind, but they are already ahead of the curve because they are viewable on a variety of devices.

Fuck Cancer
The Fuck Cancer campaign focuses on educating people about catching cancer in the early stages when there is a 90% cure rate.

Ambassadors for Life
AFL makes campaign materials accessible online so you can start your own local campaign by downloading materials for any of the following: Water for Life, Rescue Life (Human Trafficking), and Mission: Feeding.

StillPointe Llama Sanctuary
The StillPointe Llama Sanctuary in Silverdale, WA rescues, rehabilitates and cares for Llamas.

Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York
Girl Scouts “builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place”. The Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York is proud to serve over 12,000 girls in 15 counties.

Operation Upcycle- School Bus Fleet Revitalization Program
Operation Upcycle helps school districts modernize old diesel school buses with cleaner compressed natural gas (CNG) engines – saving money, jobs, and the environment.

Commendable Kids
Give digital encouragement to a child by creating their own profile, award them badges for their achievements and invite others in their life to do the same!

CURE International aims to bring 100% physical and spiritual healing to children with disabilities in the developing world.

Little Black Dress Society
An organization committed to ending the abuse of women.

International Storytelling Center
An organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering people across the world to accomplish goals and make a difference by discovering, capturing, and sharing their stories.

1Love is supporting charities that empower people to take action for sustainable and responsible living. They are encouraging acts of love and kindness that change the world little by little.

The Artic
A forum that focuses on the policies to support the Arctic region’s sustainable development, including its natural environment, the economy, infrastructure, safety and security, geopolitics, social and other aspects.

Girl Rock Nation
Girl Rock Nation is a place to motivate and inspire young women to rock in whatever they do – picking up a guitar, writing a song, mixing sounds to make music or to rock in life.

On Innovation
The Henry Ford Foundation put together a video library of historical innovation stories to be used for education and inspiration.

Save the News
SaveTheNews.org, a project of Free Press, is leading the search for new public policies to save journalism and to promote a robust free press in America.

Mural Arts Program
The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program unites artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives.

People for Bikes
A campaign geared towards improving the future of bicycling by making it safer and more convenient for everyone in the US.

I see you like to read printed material. You should check out Nicco's book The End of Big: http://endofbig.com