Let’s start with some
fresh juice and bagels,
courtesy of Denver’s
Xylem CCI (www.xylemcci.com
agency with offices in
Denver and London.
More specifically, let’s
begin with the agency’s www.jambajuice.com
The Jamba Juice site draws you into the home page as a
piece of white chalk magically outlines the base of a blender.
The site manages to entertain even while you’re waiting for
a page to load, thanks to the animated Newton’s cradle that
appears. (If you don’t know what a Newton’s cradle is, go to
the site to find out.) And if you want to try your hand at creativity,
just grab the piece of chalk that awaits you.
Like the Jamba Juice site, the Einstein Bros. Bagels site
cleverly combines animation and sound—without overdoing
either. The cursor transforms into a bagel for a truly reinforced
John Gilbert, creative director of Xylem CCI, says the
sites are similar in many ways. For Jamba Juice, “The business
really started to grow and boom. The brand had to
catch up.” For Einstein, “The brand kept growing and growing,
but the experience online had to catch up.” He says the
idea was to bring the in-store experience online.
Gilbert says both sites use everything from Flash to
video to a huge backend system for dynamic updates. And
both sites were fun to work on, he adds. Xylem CCI was able
to “add our brand of humor and who we are to the websites.”
Both clients were “raring to do something a little different”
and gave the agency a good deal of creative freedom.
If the shoe fits
OK, we admit we have an obsession with shoes. We’re
talkin’ the kind of shoes you’d wear on a red carpet, not on
Astroturf. But with its www.3n2sports.com site, Boca Raton’s
Battle Medialab (www.battlemedialab.com) manages to
make even cleats sexy. A dramatic Flash presentation on the
home page is designed to catch the eye—and clinch the sale.
The product gallery does justice to the product, displaying
no more than 12 shoes to a page. On the product detail
page, you can change the shoe color by rolling the cursor
over a color palette. Instead of a traditional zoom feature,
the site offers a video of each shoe. Both the shopping cart
and checkout are user-friendly, two crucial components of
any e-commerce site.
Creative director Adam Arthur notes the website was
part of a complete brand overhaul for 3n2 Sports. The team
included two designers, a motion artist, Flash artist, 3D artist
and web developer. Technologies used include Cinema
4D/Bodypaint 3D renders/animation for 360-degree product
views, After FX, Flash/actionscripting/Flash video, ASP.
NET/SQL for shopping cart architecture and XHTML/CSS for
overall page design.
Web design 101
Minnesota moves to
the head of the class
with its design for
site, which sells school
furniture, was named
the Best Institutional
Services website in the Web Marketing Association’s
International 2007 WebAward Competition and also won
Best of Industry for its recently updated version.
A Flash presentation on the home page uses color and
images of people to turn what might otherwise be a ho-hum
home page into a “how-’bout-that?!” home page. The site’s
Solution Finder makes product selection easy, and renders
the site more interactive.
But it’s the LearnScape feature, described as a “new
design tool that allows you to create detailed floor plans and
3D views of sample classrooms,” that is totally cool. Powered
by an Adobe Shockwave Player plug-in, LearnScape even
lets you save a classroom configuration by providing an email
Risdall web designer Pete Fabian calls LearnScape—built
with Adobe Director software—“pretty revolutionary” and a
“robust” tool. Users can actually purchase products directly
from the application. Fabian says Smith System uses the tool
internally to create floor plans for its catalogs. LearnScape
has eliminated the need for costly additional photo shoots, he
explains, and is in essence paying for itself.
Fabian says Flash and animation elements are used
for messaging on the home page, as well as basic ASP for
Microsoft Windows. A Microsoft Sequel database is used for
the shopping cart system.
A SiiTE for sore eyes
Toyota’s “Why Not?”
site (www.toyota.com/whynot), focusing on
the company’s values,
was created by SiiTE
Interactive (www.siite.com) of New York. The
site links to 16 areas,
including the company
blog, diversity, responsible
green operations, National Public Lands Day and National
Center for Family Literacy.
As you mouse over each of the areas, the selected area
swells for a “tsunami-type navigation,” says Alan Ruthazer,
founder and creative director of SiiTE Interactive. What
really catches the eye is that each area focuses on people,
not products. Toyota (as well as SiiTE Interactive) gets it.
People = emotion = brand building = sales. The “Why not?”
theme is present throughout the site. In the diversity area,
for example, the question appears: “Can the people we work
with mirror the diversity of the people who drive our vehicles?
Why not?” And in the hybrid technology area: “Can we
ever achieve the dream of a zero-emissions car? Why not?”
“The thinking behind the site,” Ruthazer says, “is based
on Toyota’s founding precept, kaizen—respect for people
and continuing improvement.” SiiTE Interactive completed
the “Why Not?” site for Toyota using Adobe Flash CS3
Professional and ActionScript 3.0.
Gentlemen, start your engines
Vulcanmotorclub.com was designed by MiresBall (www.miresball.com) of San Diego to rev up interest in joining
the exclusive club that loans out elite cars to its members—not to mention rev up the heartbeats of the men in its
The Vulcan Motor Club is speaking to an upscale audience,
and its dramatic color scheme exudes sophistication.
Usually lots of reverse type on a black background is
frowned upon, but here—thanks to a decent type size—the
copy is very readable.
Dylan Jones says MiresBall wanted to make sure the site
wasn’t just pretty, but was a resource as well. As he put it,
“more meat-and-potatoes with a nice wrapper.” The site was
built with a dynamic backend to make updates simple.
So while drivers with a need for speed may be drooling
over the Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche Twin Turbo,
Lamborghini, Ford GT, Dodge Viper and Shelby Cobra, we’re
going ga-ga over the no-nonsense navigation, exquisite
images and to-the-point content.
And, if you’re wondering, the MiresBall folks did not get
to drive one of the elite cars as part of the project research.
Super Bowl, super site
Super Bowl XLII may
be long over, but it
lives on in cyberspace
at www.azsuperbowl.com. Designed by Iology
(www.i-ology.com) of Arizona, the
Arizona Super Bowl
site is jam-packed with
information. But the
site manages to present
it all in an inviting
format, starting with
Spike the mascot.
A ticker with
updates scrolls across
the home page; usually
such an effect would
be irritating, but it
works here and adds to
the excitement of the
site. Sponsors rotate in
a right-hand tile, and a Flash presentation showcases videos
of Arizona. Visitors can select wallpaper for their computers
and test their knowledge via an interactive Fun Facts section.
There’s even a link for Español—muy bueno!
I-ology CEO and president Trish Bear says hiring her
company is “like hiring an architect to draw a plan for a custom
home.” I-ology’s plan, however, is to drive online growth
and profits for its clients.
For its Super Bowl client, the initial objectives were to
position Arizona as a progressive, leading-edge state and
to create a site that would provide information to visitors
and help obtain event sponsors. I-ology also handled online
marketing of the site, including e-mail campaigns, SEO and
Bear says the site uses a great deal of multimedia.
The entire website is database-driven by a custom contentmanagement
system. In addition, a complex hosting structure
was set up with multiple servers to accommodate heavy
traffic. Bear notes that in January 2007 the site had 1.7 million
visitors, three times that of any previous Super Bowl site.
“And the site never went down,” she’s quick to add.
Sears showcased its prom fashions via Prom Premiere 2008
(www.sears.com—search keyword “prom”), an interactive
site created by WhittmanHart Interactive (www.whittmanhart.com) of Chicago. Visitors receive the red carpet treatment,
complete with photographers and music. They can
choose from four styles of dresses: Short & Sassy, Glitter &
Glam, Ball Gowns and Slim & Sleek.
The site is targeted to 15- to 17-year-old girls. Not only
can girls share the dresses they like with friends and family
through e-mail, they can also upload dresses to their profile
pages on Facebook.
“This generation of high school students is already tech
savvy, but we felt that the usability and social-networking
aspects were key,” says Thomas Zanoni, group account
director, WhittmanHart Interactive.
Creative director Andrew Daniel agrees, noting that the
Facebook element is crucial. He shares his mantra: “It’s no
longer about the destination. It’s going to the destination
where the consumer is. Peer approval is very important at
Daniel says the site uses Flash 7, an XML feed to pull
in the dresses and change them as needed and the open-source
publishing tool Al Fresco.