It’s hard to imagine a world without websites. There’s barely a thing we do that isn’t informed by them. Our news, our entertainment, much of our knowledge now has its home on the web. Sure, there are plenty of badly-designed sites out there with bland content and uninspiring visuals. But every now and again you come across a new site that changes the way you think. These are the sites that have done just that in 2013.
Upworthy’s has a simple message: sharing is caring. It’s one of the best examples of a social news site, bringing together inspirational content that is highly shareable. Simple design and eye-grabbing headlines make it hard to resist.
People have been putting more stock in visual learning in recent years. The surge in infographics has been seized upon by the irreverent Hilary Sargent who creates plain black-and-white diagrams which attempt to make complex events more digestible (misinformation about the Boston bombings, for example).
Gambling and casino websites don’t have a reputation for looking sophisticated, but Betsson breaks the mould (see the site at www.betsson.com). A classy colour scheme and some nice HTML5 touches make for a smooth user experience. If you’re going to bet, you might as well do it in style.
Digital Public Library of America
If you want to peruse documents, photos and other artefacts from America’s numerous libraries, museums and archives then the DPLA is the place to go. It has incredible virtual exhibitions from ‘Activism in the U.S.’ to ‘This Land Is Your Land: Parks and Public Spaces’.
This Is My Jam
For the music lovers out there who feel the need to share their recent discoveries or personal favourites, as well as see what others are listening to, This Is My Jam gives you all the tools. It’ll share music with Facebook friends and Twitter followers or you can just peruse the site to see what’s hot.
SigFig is a site for the budding investor. It aims to simplify all data from your investment accounts by deploying charts and graphs, making suggestions about new funds, even giving you news about the companies you’ve put money into.
Pixlr is like a basic version of Photoshop that works within your web browser. It has an impressive array of features that will suit beginner retouchers and seasoned image editors.
Curious provides a different way to teach and learn. Instructors upload videos on anything from salsa dancing or making glogg and split them into lessons. Some contributors charge for these lessons but there are many free examples; and good site moderation keeps the quality high.
KidRex aims to be a child-friendly search engine to replace Google on a homepage. It makes sure that sexually-explicit content doesn’t appear by testing search queries every day and checking the results.
Outgrow.me takes products that have come out of crowdfunding sites Indiegogo and Kickstarter and have made it past the development stage. Users can buy or pre-order items on the site, safe in the knowledge that it already has funding.