10 Best Website Designs of All Time
- Consistent branding
- Minimalist design
- Product Showcase
Ever since its inception back in 1997, Apple’s website shines bright among the best web designs with its sleek, modern minimalism, intuitive interface, and consistent branding. Similar to its cutting-edge products, over the years it went through drastic facelifts, both aesthetically and performance-wise. Apple invented something that we could only deem “consistent reinventing” as despite numerous changes website always boasted a stylish, monochromatic palette and ample negative space where products could dazzle visitors and effortlessly convert them to buyers. According to SEMrush, only in October 2023, apple.com received a whopping 810 million visits!
Although not the first to employ it, Apple was the first to fully embrace minimalism, decades before it became an industry norm. Apple’s website became THE trend to mimic. Nowadays, millions of websites aim to emulate its presentation, with varying results. Apple's online presence, founded on minimal, clean layouts and user-friendly features, sets the industry standard, proving that simplicity, efficiency, and brand consistency are paramount in impactful web design.
- Nostalgia on display
- Lasting user-centricity
Beyond its newfound meme-driven acclaim, the Space Jam website transcends the mere nostalgia trip into 90s web design. Amidst the whimsy of repeating patterns and Memphis-style aesthetics, it becomes a testament to the art of bending rules effectively within the right context. While seemingly "plagued" by dated trends, the website imparts invaluable lessons for web designers. Notably, it remains a vivid example of audience-centric design, originally crafted for children, yet now embraced by thirty-somethings fueled by nostalgia.
Its remarkable longevity, over 27 years and counting, underscores the enduring power of simplicity and consistent branding, proving that these principles stand the test of time regardless of the evolving design landscape.
- User-centric design
- Personalized experience
- Interactive elements
Netflix may not be a pioneer in the streaming industry, but it set standards that genuinely reshaped our civilization’s collective past time. In fact, the average user spends 40 minutes on Netflix daily. Their website design is equally contagious, and influential.
Web designers can learn a lot from Netflix’s web design, primarily its user-centric interface, seamless adaptability to trends, responsiveness, visual appeal, global accessibility, innovative features, and most importantly cutting-edge personalization.
Netflix's streaming platform excels in user experience through an intuitive interface that organizes content into clear rows, emphasizing personalized recommendations based on viewing history. The clean, image-focused layout provides a convenient overview of titles, accompanied by smooth transitions and hover effects for additional information. The moody web design, with a black background and iconic red accents, creates a theater-like atmosphere for optimal streaming. The brand's commitment to interactive elements, like secret categories, reflects its intuitive approach, making the website both engaging and user-friendly.
- Focus on functionality
- Minimal design
- Convenient features
The Amazon website stands at the top of eCommerce design, wielding immense power in the modern digital landscape. First built in the late 90s, when aesthetic appeal differed wildly from today’s standards, Amazon aimed for a user-friendly interface, intuitive navigation, and seamless purchasing process from its inception, becoming a blueprint for anyone who seeks to tap into the power of eCommerce. It has redefined online shopping, setting industry standards with its minimalist design, emphasis on functionality, and most importantly placing products at the forefront.
The platform's impact extends beyond mere design, shaping consumer expectations and challenging traditional retail models along every step. According to SEMrush, the king of eCommerce received 4.17 billion visits in October 2023 alone! With convenient features like one-click purchasing and personalized recommendations driven by powerful algorithms, Amazon has elevated user experience to new heights. Its responsive design and efficient search functionalities contribute to a satisfying and efficient shopping experience.
- Professionally focused sub-sections and tools
- Timeless design
- Ever-improving algorithm
Though it’s arguably less of a website, the world’s powerful search engine successfully powered the web design industry ever since its arrival in 1998. It has become so ingrained in our digital culture that Merriam-Webster added “googling” to the dictionary as one of the most commonly used transitive verbs. And it reigns supreme as more than 97% of all mobile searches ride on Google (79% of desktop searches, according to Net Market Share).
Impressive as it may be, Google affects the world of the best website designs beyond its primary features. It’s easy on the eyes, dynamic, mastering UI/UX formula at every turn. Any important date, global or local, is celebrated with beautiful illustrations, animation, music, and interactive games that help users simultaneously learn and have fun – a powerful combo that every reputable web designer tries to emulate to skyrocket their projects.
- Simple, bare-bones design
- Growing community
- User-generated content
Online forums are as old as the internet itself, but none have ruled the discussion boards undisputedly as Reddit. Created back in 2005, Reddit was shaped by user-generated content, making it a combination story-and-reaction hub. Therefore, the design had to be characterized by simplicity, and functionality with clean and straightforward layouts. The notion of melding interesting, often obscure, and hot topics resulted in a vast fan community, i.e., hundreds of millions of users who generate tens of billions of page views annually, giving rise to a site slogan: “The front page of the internet.” According to BankMyCell, Reddit is expected to reach 70 million daily users by 2025!
Despite its shallow design, Reddit is seemingly endless. What can professional web designers learn from that? It’s simple, combining the democratic approach to content curation and building loyal communities while limiting your graphic potential guarantees success.
- Consistent design updates
- Prominent branding
- Ever-expanding features
Friendster and MySpace may have discovered the magic formula and were arguably prettier, but Facebook is where everything is. Young guns like Instagram and TikTok may exponentially grow in popularity, but the big blue stagnant beast is far from leaving its throne as the largest social media platform on the market.
Founded by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the early 2000s as a way to profile Harvard classmates, it has become so much more. Even today, more than two billion users frequent Facebook regularly, every month. While it always boasted clean, on-brand, and user-friendly UI, the site has also gone through major design updates and functionality changes, evolving from a way to stay in touch with friends and relatives, to a digital highway through which both news (and propaganda) zip freely.
Facebook web design became a jumping-off point, a proven blueprint web design historians must consider when it comes to mastery over user experience.
- Vintage appeal
- Structured databases
Just as Netflix soloed the streaming market for years, so has iMDB complimented it as the most reliable movie/show database out there. With the Apple TV, Disney +, HBOGo, Amazon Prime, and Hulu trailing closely behind Netflix, iMDB had its own contenders, primarily Metacritic and RottenTomatoes. Both, in our opinion, stood their ground, with impeccable quality and design.
What started as a series of fan lists became the go-to stop for anyone looking to find out the ratings of the latest blockbuster, or simply to see who “that guy from that thing” was. With over 16M featured titles, iMDB became an invaluable instrument in keeping track of both television/streaming shows, movies, and video game history.
From a designer's standpoint, IMDb employs a clean and structured layout, ensuring a seamless UX for navigating vast databases. The use of a minimalistic, almost retro design approach allows the content to take center stage, with a straightforward top navigation bar aiding quick access to essential features. IMDb's signature yellow color scheme adds a touch of vibrancy without overwhelming the UI.
- Global accessibility
- Monetization options for creators
- User-generated content
YouTube has come a long way since 2005 and its first, “Me at the Zoo” video. Today it has become a go-to global video-sharing platform and a diverse content hub that is ranked as one of the most visited websites of all time, eclipsed only by Google Search.
Hosting a constant stream of user-generated videos, educational content, and entertainment, YouTube serves as a global platform for individuals to share stories, skills, and creativity. With a slew of monetization opportunities for creators, it has propelled careers and inspired a sense of community. Most importantly, YouTube’s global accessibility fosters international connections, making it a vital cultural and informational bridge. According to Data Reporter YouTube will have at least 2.6 billion regular users by the end of 2023.
Since its humble beginnings in shaping and reflecting the online landscape, design-wise, YouTube has changed a lot to prioritize an optimal viewing experience. Its signatures are a clean and intuitive layout and a personalized homepage recommending videos based on user preferences. The consistent use of the iconic red play button against a white background maintains brand identity while responsive design allows seamless transitions across devices, and dark mode enhances user comfort.
- Text-centric listings
- Simplistic design
- Extensive Categories
If design were synonymous with aesthetics, Craiglist could not go the distance. However, although it has never been much of a looker, it has become somewhat of a profitable anomaly, a giant notice board, and an ad megaplatform.
Long before its specialized spiritual successors that help you find a date by swiping your smartphone, or endless searching for part-time work opportunities, there was Craigslist. Although it’s considered a living fossil, the site remains a popular destination for real estate and job listings. According to SEMrush and a study from March 2022, Craigslist receives a quarter of a billion visits every month!
Its influences, however, extend beyond the confines of the World Wide Web, as many industry professionals attribute a significant part of the newspaper industry’s decline to the shift from print ads to online ones. Craiglist’s UI features a straightforward layout with text-based listings and minimal graphics. Its design, while basic, facilitates easy navigation, allowing users to swiftly access any ad. Craigslist's intentional lack of modern visual elements contributes to its timeless and universally understandable design.