The FWA Review is an ongoing series of articles providing a snapshot of each year at FWA and occasional specials focusing on certain styles and categories. These articles will be highlighting the main focus of the FWA project… websites who use cutting edge technology, together with inspirational ideas, that lead the way for future generations.

The FWA Review will act as a history of cutting edge web design and a reminder of those future-thinking sites, companies and individuals who have paved the way so far.

This twelfth article in the series takes a look back at the eighth year of FWA, the year 2007…

2007 was definitely a year of renewed innovation. As budgets and bandwidth have grown again this year, so has the quality and creativity witnessed on the web.

A year that spells another nail in the coffin of print and TV yet they remain two areas everyone would still love to break in to.

It always amazes me how people are often too "slammed" to do an interview or write an article for the FWA website when we have a monthly count of 300,000+ unique users yet they still find time to write something for a print magazine that can have anywhere up to 15k readership.

That statement is not a dig at people who have flaked out on FWA content but a way of illustrating the desire to see one's name in print. Print and TV will always have that particular edge on the web and maybe it's that exclusive thing, as anyone can have a web presence.

Anyway, less of my ramblings and on to the top fifty sites of 2007.

The following list is in chronological order, with the first in the list being the earliest release of the year.

monoface (http://www.mono-1.com/monoface)

A simple idea executed perfectly made monoface a site you'd never forget.

I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK (http://www.d-o-e-s.com/collection/cyborg/)

First of a long stream of pop-up style book websites in 2007 and possibly the best. Shame about the slow loading times which I can only put down to network distances.

I Spy with my little eye (http://www.kinderenindekou.nl/index_en.asp)

A very creative campaign for an extremely worthy project which drew attention to the plight of children in The Netherlands.

I want to see a ghost (http://www.iwanttoseeaghost.com/post_1f76379.html)

A great viral campaign which was also rather unnerving. Your chance to send your friends and foes some terror, Spanish stylee.

CDX (http://cdx-thegame.com/)

Originally released in 2006 but finally open to the world in 2007, this top-drawer point and click adventure games raised the bar.

Air Jordan XX2 (http://www.jumpman23.com/xx2/)

First of the wave of Papervision3D sites to show us why fullscreen is best for maximum impact.

Nokia – The Passenger (http://www.the-passenger.com/)

A pioneering example of a first person driving game using actual video footage.

Amon Tobin – Field Recording Excursion (http://www.amontobin.com/field/)

Totally surreal experience with amazing motion graphics.

Center Parcs – Lac D'Ailette (http://www.centerparcs-visitesvirtuelles.com/ailette/)

A rather surprising site for Center Parcs with superb video integration.

Instinct (http://www.instinct.ru/)

Wild and wacky and delicious visuals. Drag and drop navigation giving the site an added edge.

Get the Glass! (http://www.gettheglass.com/)

As soon as I saw this site I thought "Site Of The Year". Amazing levels of production and attention to detail.

Michelin – A Better Way Forward (http://www.michelinman.com/forward/)

Slick 3D fly-bys and clever content management brought Michelin into the cool web world.

P.A.C.E. (http://www.bmw-pace.com/pace/start.html)

Super-impressive illustrations combined with excellent gameplay for BMW.

Benny the Brave (http://www.duboismeetsfugger.com/)

Simple idea and almost had a back to the old school Flash4 feel but with 2007 creativity.

Sketchbook (http://www.martin-h.com/)

For anyone who has spent time on the Dole in their life or claiming benefits, Martin Hughes of WEFAIL, created the perfect vibe for his personal site.

Makibishi Comic (http://comic.makibishi.co.jp/)

Visually beautiful game site from Japan where you try and find the Ninjas.

UPM Forest Life (http://www.upmforestlife.com)

Your chance to take as real a walk in the forest without leaving your chair.

RED Universe (http://www.ff0000.com/)

Unforgettable and courageous approach. I hope this site is permanently archived as it's a true beacon of creativity.

Life Size Blue Whale (http://www.wdcs.co.uk/media/flash/whalebanner/content_pub_en.html)

Get up close and personal with the largest animal ever to have lived on the planet.

Let the Game Continue (http://www.xn--folytasdajtkot-4gb3k.com/)

One of the first interactive fullscreen web films and what a great example to boot.

Try Drugs (http://www.trydrugs.net)

A clever and original anti-drugs campaign for the department of Health in Norway.

Samsung Summer Collection (http://www.samsung.com/se/current/campaign/summercollection/site/)

In your face motion effects helped Samsung get the word out on their latest collection.

Cicatriz Clothing (https://www.cicatriz.se/)

Taking ecommerce in a different direction by showing video pods of a clothing collection.

Hungry Suitcase (http://www.hungrysuitcase.com/)

A massive and diverse site with something for everyone, even if you are not planning a holiday.

Uniqlock (http://www.uniqlock.jp)

Possibly the most addictive website of the year. You have been warned!

Act on CO2 – Carbon Calculator (http://actonco2.direct.gov.uk)

The UK Government finally embraces the web in a creative and intelligent way.

LittleDeviant xD (http://www.littledeviant.com/)

Another pop-up book and, again, highly impressive.

Ethan Haas Was Right (http://www.ethanhaaswasright.com/ewr.php)

Mystery and intrigue left some users puzzled… exactly what this site was all about.

Nike Skateboarding (http://www.nikeskateboarding.com)

This impressive application style website did not fail to impress.

HBO Voyeur (http://www.hbovoyeur.com/)

One of the top sites of the year with outstanding production levels. The only danger is that the site could awaken the voyeur in people!

Vision Streetwear (http://www.visionstreetwear.com/)

Classic example of innovative marketing as this site used video to plug their products in an unnoticeable way.

Marc Aurel (http://www.marc-aurel.com)

Pixel perfect, polished and professional. Any site that manages the "4 Ps" is guaranteed success.

Audi A5 – Rhythm of Lines (http://www.rhythmoflines.co.uk/)

A site that shows how motion and visual effects are becoming a powerful force online.

VAIO – Remix your life (http://vaio-online.sony.com/remix/)

Not a site that instantly grabs the users attention but that that leaves a lasting impression. Cool for those who take the time to experience it.

Filippa Smedhagen Sund (http://filippasmedhagensund.com)

Unique navigation and fullscreen shots made this site an instant success.

Paper Critters (http://www.papercritters.com/)

A solo project of epic proportions. Create and print your very own desktop toy.

Education is Everywhere (http://eie.pushlabs.ca/)

Outstanding colours combined for a world class innovative educational site.

Halo 3: Believe (http://www.halo3.com/believe)

Dare I say it but another unique site. The diorama and 3D journey through it are both unforgettable.

Le Courage (http://www.lecourage-stellaartois.com/)

Another of the soon to hit new wave of interactive web movies.

ABC Land (http://makibishi.co.jp/WORKS/ABC_LAND/index.html)

The most original website for a real estate agent ever.

Nokia: Nonstop Living (http://www.nokia.com/nonstopliving)

Using a mini-world view, this site for Nokia embraces the nonstop living theme perfectly.

TurboChef: The Oven reinvented (http://theovenreinvented.com/)

If you have ever laughed at the tackiness often used on daytime shopping channels, maybe this will capture your attention for a while longer.

Launchball (http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchpad/launchball/)

Addictive personalities beware of this physics based game.

The Infinite OZ (http://www.road2oz.com)

Not an entirely original idea but the execution is out of this world.

Assassin's Creed (http://assassinscreed.uk.ubi.com/experience/)

This High Definition quality website gave a flavour of the future.

Picnik (http://www.picnik.com/)

One of the most amazing website applications I have ever seen. I'm sure we will see more of this in the future.

Good Things Should Never End (http://www.goodthingsshouldneverend.co.uk)

Loaded with gorgeous graphics, animation and content. Scroll to your heart's content.

Firstborn (http://www.firstbornmultimedia.com/)

One of the most impressive web agency sites ever. Ten years of award winning work intelligently managed in a slick environment.

Uniqlo_Grid (http://www.uniqlo.com/grid/)

Another impressive piece for the Uniqlo brand and this one allowed users to play with the Uniqlo logo live with people from around the globe.

Bjorn Borg (http://www.bjornborg.com)

Proving that personality still packs the best punch in any website.

Final Thought

So this is where I try and do my bit at predicting the future. I get asked this all the time by magazine Editors and the like. Predicting trends is impossible but watching them grow is something I have a hand on and just from the sites above you can see some emerging trends.

Video is still huge and growing fast. Interactive movies are going to be big but also expensive. The likes of Picnik are showing a new direction for websites. Not forgetting the exciting developments with Papervision3d and the inevitable growth of High Definition.

I think you should also be on the lookout for cool developments with AIR and Hydra.

What is most inspiring and reassuring is that people are still trying to be original and innovative and that is refreshing.

I am also privy to beta news on sites but also locked down with confidentiality agreements but I can say that I am very excited about some new projects scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2008 from some of the world's top agencies. I think 2008 could be an amazing year.

Final final thought

The new FWA website is in the works. Whilst it's currently in the very early stages of what will be another epic build, rest assured that everyone involved is focused on making it something very special for our loyal visitors. The new site will hopefully give our visitors the chance, at last, to communicate with eachother as we focus on making the next FWA website THE hub for the interactive industry.

About the author, Rob Ford
Founder & Principal, FWA

Robert Ford is FWA’s Principal. Born and bred in England with a background in finance, sales and project management, working for companies like Halifax PLC and American Express. He oversees the day to day running of the FWA project.

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