Newsvine is probably the only unreleased site that's really piqued my interest without having seen an actual product or screenshots. Why? Because I love reading about news events and I love when that content is examined by a diverse set of writers. I am a huge fan of sites like MetaFilter, Devoter and Fark as well being a news junkie in general so the idea of a new source for quality news-related content is extremely appealing.
What's more is that Newsvine is being headed up by CEO Mike Davidson who's had his hand in little things like The Walt Disney Internet Group and sIFR. Newsvine is honestly the only site that I've kept track of with any additional effort and it's in no small part to Mike's involvement.
Not to mention the Newsvine office space: Hot.
Creating Passionate Users is one of those sites that sticks with you; the writing is as engaging as it is entertaining as it is informative. Create Passionate Users has become an important tool in examining and explaining the insides and outs of cultivating a passionate user base and for me personally the site has proved invaluable in understanding just what certain reactions mean as some of my projects have gained more attention.
CSS Beauty came back with more features, more information and more beauty in a powerful, creative redesign that really helps set CSS Beauty apart from other CSS gallery sites. Jobs, news, and a hopefully soon to be released CSS-related contest (eat your veggies Alex!) were all added this year; not to mention the recently released SkillShare forum that opens the floor to a wider variety of content and resources.
All of this is wrapped up in a clever and attractive package while maintaining strong ties to the site's original mission -- making CSS Beauty one of the web's premier CSS Gallery sites.
Subtraction is one of those disruptive sites - a site that makes you reexamine how you construct web layouts and information. The minimal use of color and the extensive use of a complex grid give this site a striking, compelling and balanced composition. In the middle of rounded everything, in the throws of pastel mania Subtraction changed the rules and created a spectacular design that really pushed the limits of standards-based grid design.
But it's not just the impressive homepage that makes Subtraction deserve this award, it's the overall attention to detail carried through on every page. Even individual threads get rock star treatment and that's just the start of how much thought and energy were put into this beautiful site.
I can't think of anyone else who is so consistently popping out great design after
great design as Mike Rundle. This year he designed
9rules (pre-skittles 9rules, I mean; I'm not convinced about the current version),
Fruitcast (whoops! Fruitcast was coded by Mike but was actually designed by Joseph Wain), GigaOm,
Turtle Trader, and an update of
Business Logs that added a fan-fucking-tastic footer.
Mike was up against a tough field of competitors as 2005 saw some amazing designs and designers like Wolfgang Bartelme and just about everything produced by Firewheel Design -- as well as many others.
And did I mention Mr. Rundle is just out of college? Sickening.
I still use a seriously ugly customized hack of shortstat but if I wasn't so hideously entrenched in my current install I'd pick up Mint in a hot second. Mint was created by the insanely talented Shaun Inman and launched this year for the tidy sum of $30. What makes Mint so special is its inventive interface, its attention to detail and the openness to user-created functionality in the form of "peppers" that allow users to extend the application to fit their needs within the existing framework.
Adobe Acrobat is slow as ever, Dreamweaver 8 was alright, PhotoShop was good, Mac Mail's buttons failed to impress -- of the applications I use daily, only one never failed, never got in the way, never grew complacent: Firefox. When I first switched from IE many years ago, it was Firefox that let me enjoy the web again.
This is a toss up because both 456 Berea Street and Particletree have had an excellent year. Each has consistently delivered quality, insightful and timely information on a variety of web design and development topics.
Read the most recent posts or pick through the archives and it's going to be a challenge to find a bad post from either site. And in the case of 456 Berea Street, you can jump right into this year's highlights to help get you started.
9rules has really made a name for itself in 2005. Going from a placeholder page to a personal blog to a content network, this year 9rules has managed to convince an ever-increasing number of amazing sites to join its network. You can't throw a stick without hitting a site with the 9rules badge and chances are you were visiting that site because of its quality content -- and those are just the sites they've added in the first 3 rounds of submissions.
With write ups or mentions in the New York Times, Salon.com and just about everywhere else 37signals is dragging the web -- kicking and screaming -- out of its collective apathetic hypnosis and into a more usable, substantive state of mind. If you started reading their popular blog Signal Vs. Noise this year you too could have joined in the revolution and watched it unfold as the web dev shop turned into an ASP that is literally setting the bar for the web and web applications. It does not matter whether or not 37signals is the inventor of an idea, what matters is that they took it, ran with it and executed it successfully; that they then take the time to write about it and to share their experience is reason enough as to why they deserve recognition.
This last year has been pretty exciting. People quit day jobs, new applications launched regularly and there's a great feeling of possibility that surrounds the web again. This is my (R. Marie Cox) attempt to capture why this year feels so different by creating a list of people, sites and things that I felt really helped to cultivate and energize that feeling.
If you're curious about what the hell this artypapers thing is, you can learn more about this site. If you're wondering what qualifies this site to give out awards -- nothing does, I just up'n did it. Heh.
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