The “Wow” Factor in Web Design

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Everyday, we go through hundreds of different websites. With Twitter and RSS feeds, we are able to see an excessive amount of sites in just a short time. Most of the websites that we visit are forgettable, they don’t leave a lasting impression.

There are different ways that we remember a website.

  1. The Content
    We remember Smashing Magazine, Web Designer Depot, and other blogs because we go to those websites daily for their great content.
  2. The Design
    Some websites have extremely creative designs. These websites are easy to remember as well.
  3. The "Wow" Factor
    Sometimes, while looking at a website and browsing through its pages, we will see something that will make us say "Wow!" It could be a simple transition, a background change, a color switch, or even a unique animation that will cause us to remember the website. That is what I call the "wow" factor.

The "Wow" Factor

"It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen."

— Coach John Wooden

I believe that the "wow" factor is very important in web design. It is what can set your website apart from the myriad of different websites in your industry. By the way, this doesn’t have to be anything mind-boggling or extremely complicated, just something simple but clever will do the trick. This will definitely leave a lasting impression on your viewers and will make them remember your website.

While there are plenty of websites that make use of this technique, I have gathered 10 well-designed websites with clever little details that made me say "Wow!"

Analog1

Analog is a company of friends who make web sites. It’s a co-operative where imagination, design, and engineering thrive; good people doing good work. The website is very simple, but it definitely gets the job done.

The “Wow” Factor

Try pressing Alt+G and see what happens. Also, mouse-over the mugshots.

Analog2

Face3

Face is an intelligence-driven multidisciplinary design studio, based in Monterrey, Mexico whose work range includes design solutions, advertising, editorial projects and custom publishing, corporate identity and brand development. The site is very minimalistic, and at first look, it doesn’t seem to be exciting at all.

The “Wow” Factor

Mouse-over the navigation and you’ll be surprised.

Face4

Flourish5

Flourish is a full-service design studio with a decided focus on the Web. With additional experience in brand identity, print design and photography. This is probably one of my favorite websites in the internet. It is well designed and it has some great details that really make you say "wow!"

The “Wow” Factor

When clicking one of the 4 red banners, the tree changes. Also, the featured projects slider is great.

Flourish6

HutchHouse7

The Hutchhouse team have a mass of real life web design experience creating interfaces for simple brochure websites through to eCommerce, intranet and social networking sites. I love the giraffe illustrations in this website.

The “Wow” Factor

On the top right corner, try switching the theme and you will see the giraffes in different environments. They have a space theme, a night theme, a jungle theme, and a depth theme.

HutchHouse8

Komodo Media9

Komodo Media is a tiny web design studio and blog created, inspired by and maintained by Rogie King.He specializes in illustration, identity design, jQuery, JavaScript and is somewhat of a CSS/xHTML freak. He is pretty good with databases, PHP and Flash, but his heart loves and lives in the design and front-end scripting world.

The “Wow” Factor

Most of you have probably seen this website already, but the "wow" factor is definitely the foliage-o-meter. I still haven’t seen any website do anything similar to what he has done.

Komodo Media10

Riot Industries11

Riot Industries is the personal portfolio of designer Phil Renaud. He is a dual citizen, born and raised in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, which is basically Canadian Detroit. The website has a very nice texture to it, and the color palette really works well.

The “Wow” Factor

Mouseover any of the project thumbnails and the title will quickly slide out. Very neat effect!

Riot Industries12

Traffik13

Traffik is a CMS for designers, built for business. Traffik offers supperior creative liberty compared to other CMS products. Finally a content management system that doesn’t hinder your CSS talents or your coding deficiencies!

The “Wow” Factor

At first glance, the website background just has a normal bokeh design. Try moving your mouse around it and the fun begins.

Traffik14

Work[at]Play15

Work at Play builds digital experiences that are capturing the engagement generation. They specialize in building interactive social-networking applications, virtual marketplaces and unique digital content for the web. Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Work at Play was recently recognized as one of the region’s fastest growing companies.

The “Wow” Factor

I really like the way that they did the work section. Try clicking on one of the projects and you will see a cool 3D, rotating effect.

Work[at]Play16

Yaili17

Yaili is the website of Inayaili de León a web designer from London, England. She takes a lot of pleasure in coding other people’s designs to make them work online.Her code is as beautiful as her designs.

The “Wow” Factor

The bottom area of her website is wonderful. Try dragging the different sections around. Also, the way that her work section is laid out is excellent.

Yaili18

Eric Johannson19

Eric Johansson is a Swedish designer. I really enjoyed viewing his website. The whole design is very enjoyable and you will definitely remember this website.

The “Wow” Factor

Ok, this one is a secret. I won’t tell you what happens, but just drag the scroll-bar to the right to see something really cool, I promise, you won’t be disappointed. :)

Analog20

Which of these websites made you say “wow?” I only showcased ten websites because I didn’t want to overwhelm you with too much content. What are some websites that you remember because of the “wow” factor? I’d love to have an interesting discussion about this subject so feel free to contribute to the discussion. Thank you for reading the article. You can follow the Design Informer on Twitter here21.

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://analog.coop/
  2. 2 http://analog.coop/
  3. 3 http://face-face-face.com
  4. 4 http://face-face-face.com
  5. 5 http://www.floridaflourish.com/
  6. 6 http://www.floridaflourish.com/
  7. 7 http://hutchhouse.com/
  8. 8 http://hutchhouse.com/
  9. 9 http://www.komodomedia.com/
  10. 10 http://www.komodomedia.com/
  11. 11 http://riotindustries.com/
  12. 12 http://riotindustries.com/
  13. 13 http://www.playintraffik.com/
  14. 14 http://www.playintraffik.com/
  15. 15 http://www.workatplay.com/
  16. 16 http://www.workatplay.com/
  17. 17 http://yaili.com/
  18. 18 http://yaili.com/
  19. 19 http://www.ericj.se/
  20. 20 http://www.ericj.se/
  21. 21 http://www.twitter.com/designinformer

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Former editor in chief of Designinformer.

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  1. 1

    Great post. Excellent sites! Awesome ideas.

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  2. 203

    Hi Jad,

    thanks for the very interesting post.
    The professional sites highlighted in this article made me say “WOW” too!

    I think the “WOW” factor could be just a simple but perfect detail that makes the difference both in web and in all design.
    It’s the plus-point of a well done project, according to the purpose of the message, the target audience and the style of communication.
    It’s not easy but…really WOW!!!
    .-= Giada´s latest Blog Entry – giadaway: RT @dertmobile: RT @inspiredmag The Most Creative 40 Newcomers in the Design Blog Community http://bit.ly/66q16f =-.

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    • 304

      I completely agree with you. The WOW factor is usually not over the top and it is simple, but most of the times, it is these simple things that make you say WOW.

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  3. 405

    The Analog site is great. Double-clicking the guys pulling the rope gives you the rooster surprise! The grid is very useful too: http://hashgrid.com/. Always there if you want it. Brilliant.

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  4. 607

    I must say I was a bit disappointed with the ‘wow’ factors of the sites, but I did love the http://www.ericj.se portfolio site.

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  5. 809

    I’m sad, there is a lot of bloatwares.
    Analog and flourish are however pretty.

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  6. 910

    Nice list of great web designs. I frequently compare our findings at CSSGallery.com to the many web design inspiration lists across the web and you Jad have a great eye for digging up good web designs. We agreed on everyone of them! Cheers!

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  7. 1011

    Really liked the Yaili design. It is very creative and it entices people to look further into the website. There are of course other great designs among this roundup :) Thanks for sharing this. It is always a pleasure to see what the creative mind can do.

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  8. 1112

    Great each and every design is “wow”. I really like the article.

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  9. 1213

    All I can say is WOW! Very creative and excellent detail on their work.

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  10. 1314

    wow It is very creative and it entices people to look further into the website thank share

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  11. 1415

    This provides great insight. Thanks. =)

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  12. 1516

    I have to say, I didn’t get the wow from most of these. Then, I decided to check on the post date and sure enough, it’s quite old.

    It’s a good reminder that the wow factor only lasts for so long.

    Too bad most of these sites haven’t updated their “wow”!

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  13. 1617

    And who says not including flash on a site makes it not look professional??? Great insight dude. Nice one.

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  14. 1718

    Very creative and excellent detail on their work..
    Thank you!

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  15. 1819

    An amazing article. It’s nice to read a quality blog post. I think you made some good points in this post.

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  16. 1920

    Great post. Excellent sites!

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  17. 2021

    Yes, Komodo Media is great. Rogie King really did a wonderful job with all the little details.

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  18. 2122

    That’s a pretty cool site. :)|

    I was trying my hardest not to click, since I am used to clicking so much.

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  19. 2223

    I appreciate your thoughts about the article Vic. Glad it was an inspiration for you. Keep practicing and learning and eventually, you will be included in a post like this. :)

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  20. 2324

    Thank you Erica. I’m glad that this article has given you some inspiration. :D

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  21. 2425

    Eric Johannson is the man! :D

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