“The mass culture of childhood right now is astonishingly technical. Little kids know their Unix path punctuation so they can get around the Web, and they know their HTML and stuff. It’s pretty shocking to me.”
– Jaron Lanier
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HTML5 is the future, ladies and gentlemen. As you probably already know, the World Wide Web Consortium’s proposed plan, as of 2012, is to release a HTML5 Recommendation by the end of this very year, and a HTML 5.1 spec Recommendation by 2016.
This means we are witnessing the first major change in HTML since 1997, when HTML 4 was first published as a W3C Recommendation.
HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, is the brain child of Tim Berners-Lee, the computer scientist widely known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. In late 1990, he wrote the server and browser software, and requested funding from CERN, together with data systems engineer Robert Cailliau.
The project was not formally adopted, but Berners-Lee released the first publicly available description of HTML in 1991, in a document titled “HTML Tags”. The document described 18 elements the initial design of HTML. Aside from the hyperlink tag, these elements were strongly influenced by CERN’s own in-house documentation format, called SGMLguid.
1993 saw the publication of the first proposal for an HTML specification, called HyperText Markup Language (HTML) Internet-Draft. This proposal defined HTML as a SGML application, and it included a SGML Document Type Definition to define grammar.
In 1994, the Internet Engineering Task Force (because we do actually live in a cyberpunk novel), or IETF, created a HTML Working Group that released HTML 2.0 in 1995. This version was the first specification intended as a standard on which future implementation would be based.
However, due to competing interests, development kept getting stalled, and it was not until 2000, and the release of HTML 4.01, that HTML finally became the international standard.
Development for HTML5 began in 2004 in the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG is the acronym, but we like thinking of it as the WHAT Working Group). It became a joint venture with the World Wide Web Consortium, after they gave up on focusing on the development of XHTML 2.0.
The First Public Working Draft of the specification was published in 2008, and parts of HTML5 had already been implemented into browsers, even if it has not yet reached final Recommendation status, which neatly brings us to today’s article.
Like we said, elements of HTML5 have already been implemented, and as a result, HTML5 websites are becoming quite common. Today, we will be showing you a list of such sites, we deemed to be some of the best out there, and say a thing or two about the ones that really impressed us. Hopefully, this will give you a bit of design inspiration, and get those creative juices flowing.
1. Frank Chimero
Frank Chimero is a designer, illustrator and writer that lives in Brooklyn, New York. In his own words, “this site is an attempt to produce a contemporary personal website”, so it appears rather cluttered and disorganized. Yet somehow, he manages to pull it off.
The site itself is not at all difficult to navigate, and from a design point of view, it really looks cool. The apparently random mix of text and images make the site mysterious, and you kind of want to keep on browsing to see what the site is all about.
ala is an illustration, interface design and interaction studio from Zurich, Switzerland, and their website is like a trip into a designer’s mind. It is packed with presentations of the works they did for various clients, including Liip and DjagoCon Europe, as well as personal projects, making it a fantastic mix of pixel and vector illustration, and web design. The site runs real smoothly, and you will definitely want to be checking out their projects.
Calm is such a fantastic website! The website is basically a relaxation app (you can also download a iOS version), that lets you select what kind of relaxation you want.
You can either choose a guided calm, where you choose between a 2 to 20 minute session, in which you have a soothing voice, guiding you through what is your basic hypnotherapy relaxation exercise (don’t worry, no one’s going to make you deposit all your savings into someone else’s bank account), or you can just select a timer between the same amounts of time, and zone out all on your own by enjoying the ambiental tracks and gifs on the site.
4. Granthams Print Discount
5. The Wilderness Downtown
Another cool experiment on our list, The Wilderness Downtown is, as it says on the website, an interactive movie, done with the help of “some friends from Google”. The first thing the website does is ask you for the address where you grew up. Not the exact address, mind you, just the name of the street. After that, it creates a personalized music video for Arcade Fire’s “We Used to Wait”, using Google and HTML5, that has greater meaning to you.
6. Ba Ba Dum
We have mentioned before how we think that interaction and gamification are pivotal to a better learning experience, so we knew the moment we laid our eyes on this website, that it had to have a place on this list.
8. Bright Media
Bright Media sure know how to design. They boast being able to make anything from HTLM5 websites to iOS apps, and everything in between, and as far as the HTML5 statement, they have really proven themselves with their own gorgeous website.
9. Heart of the Arctic
Heart of the Arctic uses design and narrative to raise awareness about global warming, and educate the user as to what steps are required to restore the fragile climate balance of the arctic region. Not only is this a well designed website, but it also a marvelous initiative.
12. Nicola Zanon
Nicola’s online portfolio has a fantastic minimalistic feel to it. It goes for subtle design decisions like color-coordination and typography, rather than flashy effects, creating an elegant and simple website, where you can find out all the essential things you need to know about Zanon as a professional.
13. Kev Adamson
Yet another online portfolio, this time belonging to freelance web designer, graphic designer, illustrator and animator Kev Adamson. The site packed with comic-like illustrations, showcasing Kev’s sensibilities and style, so you know from the get-go with what (or rather, who) you are dealing with.
14. Soul Reaper
Since we’ve just mentioned comics, the next item on our list is a great little experiment in online comics. Soul Reaper is at its first episode, and it quickly gets you acquainted with the premise, and the main character of the story, Alex. It does by making semi-animated panels, coupled with voice-overs and dynamic scrolling.
15. M.Power Yoga Studio
17. Opel 2014
18. The Wired Mind
They felt the need to have a lovely dropdown animation that states that the site is optimized for Internet Explorer 9. Awww!
That wraps up our list of awesome HTML5 websites. We hope you enjoyed the list, and that we’ve given you a few ideas for your own designs. Don’t forget to leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.