In a year that brought us what seemed like a new Firefox update every month, each update claiming "Thousands of improvements, faster, safer, smarter" and "More awesome than ever."

A rather advantageous claim for a browser update, sounding more like a political promise, you would think these onslaught of updates would solve the world terror crisis, global warming and our economy.

2008 was a year where the Internet redefined politics and a year where the polemic buzz words were "hope" and "change".

2008 was indeed the year of hope and change

Ad spending and budgets shifted from traditional to digital in an instant and we were suddenly thrust into a transition where Madison Ave. was forced to answer as to how they would transition into the digital renaissance a bit sooner than expected.

Digital shops everywhere started calling themselves digital agencies and traditional agencies recruited digital "gurus" and created all kinds of new titles for these web emissaries who would help guide them through this seemingly unknown digital landscape called the web.

In 2008 the race began as to whom would be king of the digital advertising hill.

Three Dimensional

Proficiency in taking 3D to the web was all the rage at the onset of 2008 and quickly became tiresome by the years end, we simply ran out of 0bjects to shove into Papervision 3D and once again realized that story telling was ultimately the reigning medium on the web regardless of technology, design and innovations in code.

One site that stood out above and beyond the other Papervision 3D clones was The Eco Zoo by the one-man wonder ROXIK out of Japan. Talk about "small shops", ROXIK made a good case for not needing a team of 50 to produce a website when one guy can design and develop a serious SOTY contender.

Agencies rocking the show

B-Reel took 2008 by the horns and showed us how its done by racking up 8 SOTD awards this year. Starting with the fun of FIFA Street 3 to scaring our pants off with Hotel 626 then on to the provocative Evolution of Smooth and the responsible Drive Every Drop. B-Reel saw the lives of 3 women through the lens of the Nokia 7610 and then took us on a fun ride with Return to Tastebuddyland and then took us home with Dido's new site.

2008 saw Firstborn, GSP and AKQA all inducted into the honorable hall of fame.

Agency sites stepped up this year with a slew of new looks for a number of traditional and digital agencies.

Publicis & Hal Riney teamed up with Clusta to knock our socks off and got us moving with their latest rendition using webcam and motion sensing.

The long, long, very long awaited Group 94 reboot finally took place after a rather hilarious and excuse laden interim site.

Diplomatic Cover seduced us with their new site and Nitro showed us what the new model for a new world looks like.

Korean agency Innocean scribbled their way onto our screens and BBH zigged and zagged their way into our hearts with their surprisingly simple yet demure new site.

Barcinski & Jeanjean blew our minds with a real 3D experience, while Bigman took a big step with their very literal new website.

My personal favorite was the very clean and simple typographic expression National Television used for their new site.

All followed up by some very innovative new sites for Firstborn, WHITEvoid, VaryWell, MCBD, MUTABOR, Scratch Design Studio, Change Connections, BIRDMAN and +good.

In 2008 Tha Ltd. graced us with their elastic minds and threw us for a loop with Uniqlo, and who will soon forget the absolutely addictive and unique Hello World for Softbank, clap clap!

Data visualization

Data visualization was in no shortage this year with Herman Miller giving us a place to pile up our thoughts and win one of their sweet new seats with ThoughtPile and SS+K & Fluid changed the way we interact with news and current events with MSNBC's news visualization tool called SPECTRA.

Animation took center stage this year with some very entertaining sites featuring amazing illustrations and spellbinding stories.

We got Happy in Greenville and took a Journey in Innovation. We rebuilt kindness with Save Your Sensible and fell in love with Harajuku. Pull and Bear showed us how to save our forests and XM took us on a Wild Ride. We joined Crappy Cat in his interactive theater and Sour Sally took home SOTM honors with her wonderful escapade.

There was no shortage of amazing work in 2008.

2008 was definitely a year of expansion. Our Favourite Website Awards also became our favourite place for cutting edge video as well as a new favourite book called Guidelines for Online Success.

Will 2009 be the year that brings us our favourite mobile sites and apps?

About the Editor, Craig Elimeliah
Senior Executive Producer, Freedom + Partners

Having designed, developed and now executive producer for some of the most successful online interactive projects for over 10 years now, Craig Elimeliah represents a new breed of web professionals who is helping to mainstream the interactive realm. Now the Senior Executive Producer at Freedom + Partners, Craig is working with top agencies and high profile clients understand how to develop and integrate traditional advertising onto the web and to establish new standards for the future of online advertising.

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