iArk is a company based in Norway specializing in interior architecture and design. While I'm sure their interior design work is beautiful, it was their website that caught my eye! The most breathtaking page of the site is the projects page; some serious creativity went into its navigation design.
The names of each of iArk's projects are listed in the center of the page. When a particular project's name is vertically centered within the browser, the background image of the page provides a preview of that project. As you scroll through the list to the next project, the background transitions to the corresponding preview photo. The effect is beautiful, unexpected, and eye-catching. It also helps that the background images are all spectacular.
Once you are thoroughly intrigued by a project's preview image, you can click the name of the project to find out more. This will take you to a details page filled with more photos and details about the project. These pages are minimally designed with ample white space to ensure the focus is placed on content.
This is a site that's using the full potential of the web and this is a glorious thing! As a web designer, it's often difficult to convince clients that it's okay to stray from the typical website layout and functionality and go for something that's a little extraordinary. This is mostly because extraordinary web design is different and different things can be frightening.
In some cases a typical web design is all a client really needs. Maybe they have a miniscule budget, maybe their site's content would simply work better in a more traditional layout, or maybe their user base is made up of older individuals who are not accustomed to the web and require the most straightforward approach to design and functionality.
But, sometimes — many times — a more unexpected design is the way to go! While this approach offers all the benefits of a typical site, it also provides clients with an exciting and memorable website experience. Users will remember the beautiful sites, the unusual sites, the crazy-amazing sites. They'll tell their friends about these sites and the companies to which they belong. They'll call these companies up when they need their services.
In fact, when two companies offer similar products at similar price points, the one with the memorable, inspiring, and exciting website will always have the advantage. So, when clients are afraid to go for that awesome and unexpected design, reassure them! Convince them that they have nothing to fear and that, in fact, that epically different site design may actually be in their best interest.