No matter whether you are planning to create a new landing page or an entire web site, these websites/collections might be useful sources of inspiration, showing the latest and greatest in web design and data visualization.
Themeforest / latest WordPress themes
WordPress is a leading light in contemporary web design/web site building, and Themeforest provides the biggest collection of premium templates for it.
Since 2011, when I registered on this site, I have spent countless hours browsing its Wordpress theme collections, looking for nice stuff for both clients’ sites and for my own projects. …and sometimes just for the sake of seeing something new, nice and interesting. I must admit this is generally quite a conservative collection of web design ideas, as these templates were made for being sold to as many buyers as possible. This is the reason why the popular themes are many times adhering too much to a kind of standard taste, and this is why it takes some time to find really cutting edge designs or novel ideas among all of these ordinary themes. Some tips for finding the most inspiring designs faster at ThemeForest:
- Start with the list of latest WordPress themes. The list of most popular themes might be interesting only if you are a newcomer, or not dealing with web development on a daily basis.
- Restrict your searches with ”buzzwords”, that is keywords reflecting the latest trends and techniques, like masonry, isotope, megamenu, infograph, whatever. Keep in mind that as these words become mainstream, so they will become quite useless. Think about parallax (950 templates) or even the keyword: ”responsible” (more than 4000 templates).
- Unfortunately, designers are generally concentrating on portfolio sites, fancy home pages, and one-page templates, so it is quite hard to find web designs with interesting ideas about organizing content and showcasing data. This is why whenever I open a template demo site, almost the first thing I do is to check out the Blog section and see what happens if the nice pictures included in the demo data set are not influencing that much the overall look and feel of the template.
- If you have found a nice template, it’s usually worth checking out the other templates of the same developer too, they might have some more inspiring web design ideas showcased in their portfolio.
Some WP templates I really like
I discovered these templates a few years ago, and I think they have stood the test of time (and most importantly they are still sold at ThemeForest):
This template is rather about information than design, featuring a big search form as the centerpiece of this template:
And finally an other minimalistic theme never sold on Themeforest – this is just an evidence of the fact that there can be found inspiring template designs outside ThemeForest too (although they are much harder to be found on the interweb):
Unheap.com / jQuery plugins
From a jQuery plugin which makes your browser fart when scrolling (NSFW), to algorithms generating nice backgrounds like the one you can see as the featured image of this posts, a wide range of different jQuery plugins are aggregated to unheap.com – a tidy repository of jquery plugins. There are almost one thousand items listed on this site, like these ones which showcase:
- moving elements with crazy scrolling effects: http://joelb.me/scrollpath/
- interactively folding website parts: http://oridomi.com/
- adding product tours to any page: http://linkedin.github.io/hopscotch/
- dynamically adapting background color to images: http://briangonzalez.github.io/jquery.adaptive-backgrounds.js/
- paginating with multi-scroll effect: http://alvarotrigo.com/multiScroll/
… and many more jQuery plugins and functions to enrich your custom web designs or even create an entire landing page with. There are also a few better-known plugins gathered at this site, such as Isotope or Lettering.js, but the majority of the plugins are quite experimental – and therefore quite inspiring too.
Similarly to ThemeForest, Unheap also provides invaluable help with its easy-to-use interface to browse through the lists of many different plugins which have been gathered manually and listed in a uniform way. The demo links lead directly to the developers’ web page, and similarly to ThemeForest portfolios, it is also inspirational to browse through and see the other projects of these jQuery developers.
…or everything that is made with D3.js library, or made by Mike Bostock, a key developer of D3.js data visualization library, and also a former leader of complex data visualization projects and interactive storytelling articles at New York Times:
It is more about data visualization than web design, but for every web developer or online marketer who deals with visualizing information, the above examples can be very inspirational too. Not only when it is about building a web site but also when the data, we are working with, have to be presented in an outstandingly new way.
There might be a lot of other web sites showcasing the latest trends in mobile and web interactions. It’s sometimes just too hard to come across them, so I am quite sure that there are a ton of web sites out there I should be aware of.