For those that don’t know, Adobe Flash is a multimedia platform used to add animation, video and interactivity to websites. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that these sites are among the most amazing on the net and by far the most fun to use.
Flash does have its downsides – it can be tediously slow to load and choppy if you’re internet connection’s not up to scratch, but when employed correctly in a website, the results can be spectacular. For proof, check out the 30 sites below. Each one is highly original and creative, but some are so ahead of the game that you’ll find yourself drooling over the incredible visuals on show.
This Flash site from Getty Images has to be seen to be believed. It streams you a selection of images and music from its vast archives depending on the settings you choose in the Moodstream selector.
Mono is an advertising agency from Minneapolis and Monoface is its means of drawing visitors to its site. Start up Monoface and you’ll be presented with a rather skewed looking human head. Click on its different parts to change the features until you’ve created a face you like. There are 759,375 possibilities.
AgencyNet is a New York based design firm with a website that’s truly stunning. The homepage is a cross-section of the company’s office. Click on different sections of the building’s interior to be presented with different kinds of company info. There’s even a helicopter you can fly with your mobile phone… if you can find it!
Check out the website of California-based interactive design firm, 2Advanced Studios and your jaw will literally hit the floor. The sumptuous backgrounds are a sight to behold, the music sets the atmosphere perfectly and the navigation bar drop-downs are a pleasure to use. The whole site makes you feel like you’re plying a video game.
Section Seven is a small, creative design and development office with a mighty website. Wait for its page to load and it looks simple enough at first, but scratch beneath the surface and you’ll be presented with a beautiful means of navigating through past projects.
Welcome to Comcast Town – you certainly won’t be disappointed. This Sims-like world is a huge, interactive online environment where you can live, buy a house (decorating it as you see fit) and interact with your surroundings. You’ll almost forget that the place is designed and run by the US cable and internet giant.
This site takes a while to load, but even the countdown, written in the sand, makes it worth the wait. Once loaded, you’ll find yourself “chillaxing” on a wooden deck chair on a deserted beach with nothing more than a bottle of cool Corona in front of you. Look around (by clicking and dragging) and you’ll soon find there’s plenty to discover.
Like the Corona site, Oasis’s online home will whisk you away to a sunny paradise, albeit it one inhabited by a selection of French fruit (yes… you read that correctly!) There’s lots to see and do and various different levels to explore, from a jungle to a volcano and a pirate inhabited island.
Zign is a digital marketing agency with an impressive client list and an even more impressive website. Centred on an island (not an entirely novel idea given the last two examples), you’ll fly over its surface to different hidden enclaves where information is stored. It’s a very relaxing experience thanks to the background music.
Creative agency, Underdog, has a website that’s a joy to use. Large, grainy moving images make up the background and the menus are really easy to navigate.
Coraline is a wildly imaginative 3D film and its corresponding website is every bit as creative. Besides the normal trailers and movie information, visitors can snoop around Coraline’s eerie house, packed full of spooky treats.
Wonderwall is an interior design firm with a website that can really spin you out. Its wonky wall swells and bulges in the most incredible, not to mention slightly nauseating of ways, making looking through examples of past work really fun.
Silenzio makes movie posters, which is instantly apparent from this Flash website which presents you with 376 posters on a single wall. They can all be explored by a flick of the mouse. The posters can also be explored alphabetically. Click on one and you’ll set the whole lot flying into the air until your chosen example is thrust into view.
It’s the incredible backgrounds and atmospheric sounds which set this site, for master planning service, Flacon’s Treehouse, apart from the rest. As you move your mouse over the bird’s eye view backgrounds, which change on each page, they morph into night time versions or come into sharper focus.
The first thing you’re presented with when visiting this Saab site is a number of childlike letters, printed onto tiles, which you can slide around before they rearrange themselves to spell out “Change Perspective”. This sets the tone for the rest of the experience, which involves sitting at a minimal, Scandinavian desk that you can interact with to uncover more Saab info.
16. JPEG Interactive
This site serves as a portfolio for JPEG Interactive’s many apps. It looks rather simple at first, but it’s more high-tech than meets the eye. As the entire page starts to tilt, perspectives change and things begin to move when you hover over them
Shinkansen & Love is a Japanese fashion magazine with a spectacular Flash site. Once loaded, hundreds of pink dots fly across the screen, eventually converging to form the magazine’s name. This then explodes into a selection of images, which float around in time to bizarre, urban sounds.
Polish web design and e-marketing agency, Sointeractive, has a website which perfectly suits its brand name. You can interact with it on a number of levels, clicking on hand-drawn characters to explore videos and animations and play games. You’ll be impressed by how the site reacts to every button you click.
19. Ocean Recon
If this website can’t persuade you to join the Australian navy then nothing will. If you can wait for a lifetime or two for it to load, you’ll be awarded with a super-realistic submarine to explore and various exciting missions to be a part of. It’s all done incredibly well.
20. Toyota iQ
If you can’t be bothered to try the real thing or you haven’t got a license, why not take a Toyota iQ for a virtual test drive. You can choose your track, using the arrow keys to steer, picking up people, animals and other objects en route. It looks amazing and is a great way to kill half an hour.
21. Adidas Outdoor
Adidas’s websites are always expertly designed and the one for their Outdoor range is no different. Outdoor clothing is turned into the landscape with separate items making up different geomorphic rock formations. Keep clicking “weiter” to be taken further.
History of Flight is Nike’s story of Michael Jordan and the iconic sneakers he has brought out over the years, from 1985 to 2009. Select the year on the timeline at the bottom of the screen and click on the different images to get information. There’s a lot to see and do, but it loads quickly.
23. VW GTI Project
Enter the work room of the GTI Project, where a group of young engineers started modifying a VW Golf in 1974 to develop a new type of performance racer… which we now know as the GTI. The site’s full of cool twists. For example, you can’t even enter the site without first putting on a virtual lab coat.
This is a nice and simple design with some very rich colours.
Use your arrow keys to fly a little skeleton cameraman through a strange world of volcanoes, which spew out videos of Rolando’s previous work, and giant fish with cameras in their mouths, which politely offer up Rolando’s contact information.
GE is the home of the Smart Grid, a thoroughly modern means of supplying electricity, and this is the website which breaks down the rather confusing concept into something we can all understand. You’ll find superb 3D animation throughout.
Element energy drink comes in four elemental flavours: water, earth, air and fire. This site, full of dazzling Flash elements, guides you through each one. The overall look of the site and the sound effects help to underline the company’s brand identity.
28. Sensi Soft
The website of global software company, Sensi Soft, is centred on a monument in a historic re-imagining of London. Click the arrows and you’ll travel to modern day Tokyo, Paris of the 1960s and numerous other historical worlds.
A beautiful website that’s really relaxing to use thanks to the soothing piano music in the background. It displays the past projects of design and development company, Chuyue. Each project is given its own tile, which floats around the screen in a different way depending on which of the four buttons you click at the bottom.
TBC is a Baltimore-based advertising agency that has opted for a tiled wall layout to exhibit its work. TBC has done it really well – even better than Chuyue, whose constantly moving tiles can become slightly irritating after a while. I love the way TBC’s tiles spiral while loading and how the middle of the wall spins 180 degrees to expose the projects you select on the reverse.