In an SEO era, when the primary concern of digital marketers is to improve their search engine’s results, homepages have been losing their importance. If the user will hardly type your web address directly but go from Google Search straight to an article, why bother spending time and money on a homepage?
But, as you know, the homepage is the face of your website. It will give to your user the first impression about it, which will lead them to decide if they will or will not chick ahead and check your content. Not everyone will get there through it, but this is only true for websites that have articles and products as their main attraction. Other services will direct their traffic to the homepage for sure.
Still, it can be very hard to be creative with so many things already done online. You might also be under pressure, and imagination isn’t friends with the countdown. So here is a selection with the best homepages available today, so you can get inspired and trigger your ideas by looking at them. I chose to show you the top-class examples so they are all winners of The Webby Awards 2016.
The Webby Awards Winners 2016
If you want to get to know the hottest websites today, you should start having a look at the winners of the Webby Awards 2016. They are the leading award of the kind since 1996 and is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
The judging body is comprised of over 1000 web experts and gurus, plus creative celebrities and former winners and nominees. They selected the nominees for both “The Webby Awards” and “The Webby People’s Voice Awards”, but the winner of the latest is decided by public vote.
So let’s see who were the winners of the category “Websites” in 2016, in no particular order:
The biggest winner of the sub-category “Activism” was “The Rainforest Guardians”. They took home both prizes for “The Webby Awards” and “The Webby People’s Voice Awards” with a highly interactive website with a strong call-to-action. The Norwegian team that creates this website put their hearts into developing something so visually-rich that you will feel like you are right there in the rain forest.
Also taking both prizes home, “The Studio” was the winner of the sub-category “Art”. This page, a section of Giphy’s Website, will change the way you see animated gifs by transforming it into art. The page features top-level creations of several artists and allows you to have a general idea of what you can get there just from the homepage.
But, if you were looking for something basic instead, what about having a look at EvoEssay’s homepage instead? As we know, sometimes we just don’t have the money to pay for all the resources that you need to make something worthy of an award, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be as effective. EvoEssay is an example how you can organize tons of content by using simple blocks and colors, and keeping your user engaged and ready for a call-to-action.
But “The Webby People’s Voice Awards” of the sub-category “Associations” went to “United Auto Workers” and their highly visual, informative, and responsive website. You will feel like you are dealing with an online magazine instead of an association’s website, and this probably was one of the reasons of their appeal to the audience.
In the sub-category “Best Editorial Individual Experience”, The New York Times’ website for “Greenland is Melting Away” was the choice of both jury and audience. Despite the amount of text that had to be displayed, the page looks clean and easy to read – a great inspiration for those trying to deal with content-heavy web pages.
Looking for something that can explore movement at its best? Then have a look at “Falter’s Inferno” homepage, the winner of the “The Webby Awards” in the sub-category “Best Use of Animation or Motion Graphics”. It is nothing more than a circle that you should click and drag down to navigate through an exciting experience that ends epically.
The New York Times got another award, this time, the “The Webby Awards” for “Voyages” in the sub-category “Best Use of Photography”. Based on a six-photographers’ journey, you will be delighted by the breath-taking shots displayed along with their comments and impressions about Nigeria, Black Sea, Tokyo, Istanbul, Venezuela, and Italy.
In the same sub-category “Best Use of Video or Moving Image”, the general public voted in “Mekong: a river rising”, the page created by The Guardian to tell the world the importance of this natural resource to 70 million people. The use of photography, video, and text is perfectly balanced so you can see how it can work just fine.
But it was The Guardian the favorite of the general public in the sub-category “Best User Experience”. The British newspaper knows how to use blocks, lines, images, and colors to avoid getting their readers overwhelmed by the amount of content. So it is no surprise that the audience enjoys it this much.
Just one image and a short text in pink on a white background. With this simple formula for a homepage, AssessYourRisk by Bright Pink conquered the audience with their campaign against breast and ovarian cancers. If you are a fan of minimalist websites but are tired of black and white, have a look at this one.
- Spotify Taste Rewind
Spotify Taste Rewind is another simple homepage but extremely effective. No wonder why the jury gave to it the award for the sub-category “Best Visual Design – Aesthetic Category”. It will show you that online beauty has nothing to do with plenty of colors and effects, but with clarity and readiness.
- The Teachers Guild
If you think that websites for associations are boring by nature, then it is time for you to know the winners of the sub-category “Associations”. “The Teachers Guild” as the winner of The Webby Awards, so if you are looking for a neat solution for a homepage of the kind, you should check their website out. It is clear, well organised, intuitive, and still compelling and engaging.
- The Climate Change Issue
And here is what you have been looking for: the winner of the “Best Home/Welcome Page” according to the specialised jury. The award was given to “The Climate Change Issue”, a special issue of National Geographic. The visual excellence comes as no surprise considering the expertise of the magazine, famous for their highly-skilled photographers. But the way they organized the content is so simple that became perfect.
- BBC America
BBC America’s homepage with their large and expressive photos and well-crafted call-to-actions was the favourite of the audience for “Best Home/Welcome Page”. And you will know why as soon as you put your eyes on it. It won’t take you more than a few minutes to know all the highlights and latest news of their shows, just by scrolling down their homepage. And a page easy to navigate is all that the public is looking for nowadays.
- Inside Abbey Road
Another unanimity, “Inside Abbey Road”, a website created by Google Creative Lab won both “The Webby Awards” and “The Webby People’s Voice Awards” in the category “Best Navigation/Structure”. The homepage is perfectly engaging and inviting, and you can’t help yourself but step inside the famous studio.
- Ted Talks
In the sub-category “Best Practices”, it was the time for the world-famous “Ted Talks” take both awards home. Their content is neatly organized, with the right size and amount of thumbnails, and just enough information so you can decide what to watch first in no time. A perfect choice for a website where content is a priority but also the biggest challenge.
Giphy’s website was the choice of the audience in the sub-category “Best Use of Animation or Motion Graphics”. There is a lot of things going on in that homepage, but it seems that the public doesn’t get overwhelmed by that – a tip for you to review your concepts about how neatly organized a website should be to be appreciated by their users.
- Tracking Ivory
But the audience decided for “Tracking Ivory” by National Geographic for the sub-category “Best Use of Photography”. The stories about the horrifying trade of iron in Africa is illustrated by some of the most emotionally moving photos you have seen in a homepage so far. There is also plenty of voice records and maps to make sure that you really feel which story they are trying to tell.
- Reuters TV Web App
Reuters TV Web App was the winner of two “The Webby Awards”: in the sub-category “Best Use of Video or Moving Image” and “Best User Interface”. Without the user having to do anything, the highlights are presented to you, just after a beautiful opening sequence. The playlist is also perfectly displayed in the right-hand side menu, easy to find and navigate through it.
- Virgin America
Virgin America was the jury choice in the sub-category “Best User Experience”, so you should check it out. They offer a perfect website for those interested in booking a flight with them, providing well-organised and easy-to-read content about how to make the most of your trip. They use icons at the best, plus lines and colors that will help anyone to navigate through it much quickly.