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Innovation By Design

The 22 Most Innovative Web Platforms Of 2016

The definition of a website was once straightforward. Today, it might mean a design service, data viz tool kit, or collaboration platform.

The 22 Most Innovative Web Platforms Of 2016

The internet is now the primary portal through which many people communicate, learn, work, and entertain themselves. Web design is only getting more sophisticated, and the finalists in this year's Website and Platform category of the Innovation by Design Awards are the ones building the tools for tomorrow's internet users.

By connecting vaccine experts to the latest in HIV research, providing online shoppers with a virtual dressing room, and finding a better way for designers to collaborate in real time, these sites and platforms are expanding what the web can do—and challenging the very definition of a website.


Firm: R/GA

The Golden State Warriors were one of the first NBA teams to start using Kinduct, a platform that tracks player performance and optimizes training programs and treatment strategies for each individual athlete. Kinduct combines data from medical records and assessment trackers, and with bold, clear visualizations and analysis, it's helping to usher in a new data-driven era of sports.


10,000ft Insights
Firm: 10,000ft

How do you keep collaborative design projects on track? With 10,000ft Insights, all the moving pieces are synced in one central place. The customizable platform visualizes the context needed for design decisions and displays feedback from team members and from the client. Say goodbye to miscommunication.

Firm: Quartz

The digital publication Quartz is all about the charts—and its native chart-building platform, Atlas, was built to give the site a place to host all of its diagrams. Today, it's a whole platform unto itself, showing savvy readers the data and sources behind them, and even giving the site's community the tools to make charts of their own.

Firm: Avametric

Online shopping can be a dangerous pastime for the checkbook, but it's also a crapshoot when it comes to the fit of anything you buy, which remains a mystery until it shows up at your front door. Avametric is trying to change that. After users get an entire body scan with 200 points of measurement from the platform, they can enter a virtual dressing room that gives them an idea of how a piece of clothing will really look on their body.

Canva for Work
Firm: Canva

Aiming to democratize graphic design, Canva provides businesses with beautifully designed, customizable templates for everything from business cards to brochures.

Firm: Clara Labs

Need to find a time for you and several colleagues from across different teams to meet? Instead of trial by suggestion, simply copy the AI assistant Clara on an email with the entire group—the bot will facilitate finding a time and meeting place that works for everyone based on their schedules.

Facebook Reactions
Firm: Facebook

Posts in your Facebook feed often require a more complex reaction than a simple "like," but for years that's been the only response available to users. This year, Facebook decided to create a series of emoji-like reactions that correspond with the more complex range of emotions a post might elicit. You can still "like" things, but now you can "love," "haha," "wow," "sad," and "angry" them as well.

Firm: Figma

It's a perennial problem among designers: The most current assets for a given project differ across team members and computers, creating a confusing and disjointed collaboration. This web-based platform for designers keeps an up-to-date file of designs online, so members of a team always have access to the latest version and can easily collaborate.

Firm: Matan Stauber, for the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design

Imagine traveling through time—all within the confines of your computer screen. Histography is an interactive time line that stretches from the Big Bang all the way up to the present day, with Wikipedia-enabled event entries that update daily. It's a big-picture look at history that lets users drill down to specifics in an instant, all within a browser window.

Make with the BBC micro:bit
Firm: Technology Will Save Us

How do you inspire the next generation of makers? By giving them the tools to actually make. In 2015, the BBC and the DIY kitmakers Technology Will Save Us teamed up to give nearly a million British schoolchildren pocket-size, codeable computers in this ambitious project, aiming to show kids the power of tinkering.

Medium for Publishers
Firm: Medium

More and more digital publications are finding a home on Medium—and the platform's new Medium for Publishers tool has accelerated the migration. With an intuitive interface for editors and writers, and an uncluttered layout for readers, the platform offers the quintessential web reading experience with an intuitive back-end, too.
Firm: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fantasy Interactive, Velir

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's new website is more than just a place to check hours or visitor guidelines. It's truly an art history resource, with half a million pages of images, video, and text available for free online.

MTV Bump
Firm: MTV International

MTV's platform, Bump, is designed to let everyone, from the web's star personalities to regular joes, be on TV. Creators can upload short videos to the website, and then the network's moderators screen for disqualifying copyrighted information before sending Bumps to air.

PAOM x Sosolimited x LIA x Processing
Firm: Print All Over Me

This interactive platform lets users create their own unique patterns to adorn T-shirts, leather jackets, and more. It draws data and images from Google search APIs, and then uses artist-designed algorithms to help users as they design their own patterns for this cool fashion line.

Performance Development (PD@GE)
Firm: GE

GE decided to revamp its entire employee review system to do away with yearly performance reviews, instead using this new website and mobile application to manage and evaluate work on the daily. It's a one-stop shop for employees to have discussions and set goals with managers and share insights across their teams.

SAP Build
Firm: SAP

How can companies that doesn't specialize in software design create great UX and UI? This cloud-based platform guides businesses through a step-by-step creative process, helping them to design software elements by customizing different templates, and then generating the code to bring their ideas to life.

SCHARP DataSpace
Firm: Artefact

SCHARP's platform DataSpace allows vaccine experts and researchers all over the world to collaborate on studies and share hypotheses about HIV. The platform goes beyond the conventional process for publishing findings, making crucial and even life-saving data available faster and in an easily searchable format.

The new
Firm: Asana

Asana helps teams track their work—and its newly redesigned platform helps newcomers navigate its services, even if they don't have a login yet.

The New
Firm: Work & Co

Going to the opera usually means shelling out for expensive tickets. But New York's Metropolitan Opera has a new website that features extensive video archives of past performances, now available on demand in a custom player that mirrors the theater-going experience. Lights down, curtain up!

The Slack Platform
Firm: Slack

This emoji-filled chat platform has taken the business world by storm, but in 2015 the company upped the ante, implementing nearly 300 new apps designed to aid teams with design, marketing, and management tools within Slack. Developers can also adapt bots, equipping them to help increase productivity among specific teams.

Watson News Explorer
Firm: IBM

It's difficult to comprehend the vast amount of news online, but this IBM-built platform organizes it into a clear graphic interface. The landing page shows hot topics being discussed around the web; enter a search term and see the internet's offerings clustered into word clouds—or view results as a geographic map or timeline.

Firm: Wevolver

This web-based, open-source platform is the place to share information about how to build and refine hardware products—a sphere of knowledge that's typically difficult for DIY makers and amateur inventors to access. The crowdsourced resource is a way to make technology's secrets accessible to any internet user with an idea.

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