Sometimes when we’re brainstorming for a new project, we need a little inspiration to get our creative juices flowing. But most of the time, it’s hard to find inspiration for web applications themselves. Yes, there are plenty of blogs categorising beautiful websites, but when it comes to the applications themselves there isn’t as much material out there.
As a result, this post will focus on some of the best interfaces used right now for existing web apps. Web apps don’t just have to be practical: they can be beautiful too.
Gumroad was set up back in 2011 to be a platform that helps creators sell their products directly to consumers. If for instance, you’re a music artist, Gumroad is a way to bypass music studios and all of the hassle of getting signed and make your work public for anybody to buy and download.
Being an arty website, you’d expect the design to be awesome, and it is. The colour bars that animate when you click save help to make the whole experience more interactive and bring pages to life. The site also has a clean feel, making it easy to navigate and understand pricing.
Costa Coffee didn’t get to become Britain’s favourite coffee shop by chance - not with competitors like Starbucks and Caffe Nero breathing down their necks. Instead, they worked with a Magento agency to produce one of the most beautiful and helpful web apps out there. Everything has a sort of cartoon-like feel, except of course for the products themselves which stand out. There are also tools that help visitors find local stores and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.
Grooveshark is a music streaming service based in the US, designed to help users upload, stream and organise digital audio files. The company is going up against the likes of SoundCloud, and to a lesser extent, Spotify, and as a result, they’ve prioritised the aesthetic. The interface is quick and snappy, and like Gumroad there are a lot of clean edges and minimalist lines. Every audio file on the site is labelled and categorised, making the whole site easy to navigate.
Just a couple of years ago, most people hadn’t heard of AirBnB. But thanks to it, and other sharing economy services, like Uber, it’s become a lot more popular. One of the ways it managed to draw people in was the simplicity and beauty of its web app. It knew that it had to make it simple for people to book rooms and hotels in other countries, and so it immediately set about streamlining the process. Now users have all sorts of features, like wish lists as well as smart search. The search bar simply asks users the question “where do you want to go?” It’s that simple to get started.
There’s also the fact that the colors on the sites are done to perfection. AirBnB knows that the way to sell a holiday is to show pictures of it, so they combine quality photography with a simple colour scheme.