There’s nothing the web can’t do. This year’s finalist and winner in the web category of the Innovation By Design Awards represent a range of novel design solutions, from busting internet rumors before they go viral (Emergent) to reimagining office-communication without email (Slack) to using AI to help design page layouts (The Grid). A big thanks to our keen-eyed, talented judges: Irene Au, design partner at Khosla Ventures; Joe Stewart, co-founder at Work & Co.; Cap Watkins, VP of design at Buzzfeed; and Julie Zhuo, product design director at Facebook. Finally, a sincere thank you to everyone who entered and supported Fast Company’s commitment to elevating the design profession.
If you’re looking for more inspiring work, don’t forget to check out the finalists in our other categories: Winners, 3D-Printing, City Solutions, Data Viz, Experience, Experimental, Fashion, Graphic Design, Health, Mobile Apps, Product Design, Smart Home, Social Good, Students, Web Design.
Creators: Stewart Butterfield, Brandon Velestuk, et al
Slack has had a stunningly successful year. It’s slated goal: Ending email hell. It does that with an intuitive chat system, beautiful cross-platform app integrations, and clever chat bots that teach users about the service. Slack has proven that enterprise software doesn’t have to cold, sterile, and stodgy. It can be fun.
Creators: Katie Dill, Joe Zadeh, Eric Ruth
Love it or hate it, Airbnb’s new logo, called the Bélo, has got people talking. It’s just one part of a total brand overhaul that not only replaced Airbnb’s old wordmark with a distinctive symbol, but a beautifully redesigned mobile and web experience as well.
Firm: Code and Theory
While maintaining the bold colors and spirit of irreverence of Bloomberg’s print magazine, Bloomberg Politics was the first launch in Bloomberg’s plan to build an entirely new generation of digital-first, multi-platform media properties. The goal was to create a politics site for the user of the future, centered around flexibility, beautiful advertising, and cross-media storytelling.
Coda’s design was the result of collaboration between journalists and visual designers to create currents of information that keep tabs on the news cycle. Focusing on one crisis at a time, like the recent crisis in the Ukraine, Coda uses a fusion of editorial and design to playfully and insightfully explore the interconnected currents that define the biggest social and political issues of the moment.
Creators: Darren Geraghty, Ivy Lam, Behzod Sirjani, Clay Delk, Michael Levinson, Sarah Clark Schiff, Christie Blomster, Andrey Bannikov
Clicks don’t always tell the whole story in online advertising, especially in an increasingly mobile world. Conversion Lift is a tool for advertisers to track how their ads impact consumers’ actions. It allows them to accurately measure additional business driven by Facebook ads, even if users don’t click on them.
Creators: Craig Silverman, Matt Nish-Lapidus, Andrew Hull, Adam Hooper
Part of a research project with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, this “real-time rumor tracker” aggregates Internet gossip and assesses their truth on a clean, easy-to-use interface. Think of it as an automated Snopes for an age of social (mis)information that never stands still.
Creator: Johan Prag, et al.
On mobile, Flipboard has long made keeping up with your favorite websites as easy as flipping through a digital magazine with a beautiful layout. In 2015, Flipboard finally brought this same approach to news aggregation to the web, improving their website with adaptable layouts and clusters of stories and images relevant to each user.
Creators: Dan Tocchini, Leigh Taylor, Henri Bergius.
Firm: The Grid
The Grid is a website builder that uses AI-driven software to take any piece of content and build an entire website around it. Forget hard-to-update, instantly dated templates: the Grid aims to package web content beautifully at low cost, while providing the tools for continuous updating.
Creator: The IBM Chef Watson team
IBM’s cognitive computing platform is best known for its Jeopardy winning streak. Now its put on a toque and become Chef Watson, which analyzed Bon Appétit’s archive of 10,000 recipes to understand how the best dishes are made, then uses that synthesized knowledge to create unique recipes, all without any tastebuds.
The latest iteration of the company’s award-winning website publishing platform, Squarespace 7 features an entirely redesigned interface, as well as new features such as deep integration with Getty Images, Gmail, and Google Apps for Work, as well as 15 new category-specific designs. Best of all, in Squarespace 7, users can finally make live edits to a website, essentially making the backend invisible for users.
Firm: Work & Co.
Client: Virgin America
Virgin America’s website and app redesign provides easier and more efficient trip-booking, as well as aesthetic appeal. The redesign features a color scheme inspired by Virgin’s in-cabin mood lighting, makes booking flights quicker and easier, and is full of thoughtful little touches, like new pocket-sized boarding passes customers can print at home.
Creators: Nick Ace, Rob Soucy, Brett Renfer, Lars Berg, Leland Maschmeyer, Brian Collins
This webcam-driven music video puts the viewer inside Azaelia Banks’ world using WebGL tech that tracks the movements of the user and syncs them with the singer. The song “Wallace” is about Banks standing up to a man who wronged her: in the video, she confronts the viewer, moving her head along with the viewer to keep direct eye contact at all times.