Even though I make my living designing and developing Flash sites, I have to admit I usually start to cringe whenever I see a Flash loading bar. It’s not that Flash is a bad technology, it’s just that unfortunately there tends to be a lot of poorly designed sites out there with a total disregard for the user experience. When done right though, Flash sites can be both beautiful and usable.
So I scoured through my immense collection of Google Bookmarks and looked at literally hundreds of Flash sites and found my favorites. I’m only focusing on personal portfolio websites this time – I’ll leave design agency portfolio sites for another post.
My two biggest complaints about some of the sites I viewed:
- Music that starts blaring automatically (I have iTunes on with my own music, thanks)
- Sites that takeover my browser window by trying to resize it
I am happy to report that the sites I’ve collected here do neither of the above. So yeah, Flash can suck but in the rights hands it can be an unparalleled user experience which these sites show.
Andy Gugel :: www.32round.com
If I had to pick an absolute favorite site from this list, Andy Gugel’s portfolio would have to be it. There are so many small details that went into it that make viewing the work such a smooth, seamless process. The way the image detail views are setup is the best I’ve seen. Instead of being cropped to a certain size like on most sites, the images (pretty much all web design comps) are full size so you can view the entire comp. Yeah it’s not optimized for 800×600 screens, but that’s not the target audience, so who cares? All around excellent work.
Jon Ruppel :: www.oneover.com
Normally I’m not a huge fan of sites that try to get too crazy with the navigation but on Jon Ruppel’s site it works. The way you can change the way the thumbs are laid out is just flatout badass. You’d think a 3D ring of rotating thumbs would hinder usability but it doesn’t. Very awesome site.
Nat Filippini :: www.nadameconvence.com.ar
This is a fairly simple site but what it does it does very well. The focus is on the actual portfolio work like it should be.
Jonatan Hedberg :: www.formatura.org
This site has been around for a while but I’ve always liked it for some reason. Elegant typography with a clean layout always works.
Chris Delia :: www.imnotanaddict.com
Sweet design work and the gradient rollover effect on the thumbs is awesome. I also dig the right-click navigation and how the HTML page holding the site grows to fit the different sections of the site. No Flash scrollbar needed.
Pawel Nolbert :: www.hellocolor.com
One of my favorite sites and one of my favorite designers. Pawel’s design work is absolutely stunning. The colors on the site are constantly shifting and changing – I love how the thumb rollovers and logo are always different. Beautiful and creative work.
Mario Hugo :: www.loveworn.com
This has to be about as minimal you can get for a portfolio site. The focus is entirely on the design/art work. I love how the visited state of the links reveals an image.
Thom Bennett :: www.tbgd.co.uk
Beautiful typography, color and texture. Not much else to say about it.
Adhemas Batista :: www.adhemas.com
Slick site full of beautiful, colorful work. The Flash implementation is seamless and gets out of the way of the work.
Doug Alves :: www.nacionale.cc
Super smooth site with wonderful typography. I like the visited state on the thumbs.
Danny Yount :: www.dannyyount.com
Not much to say here other than his design work kicks ass and the Flash work is as smooth as can be.
Jesper Bentzen :: www.anovadesign.com
Something about this site is just so amazingly slick. I love how all the site elements are desaturated, then colorize when you rollover them.
Chris Erickson :: www.kindnessandhumility.com
Normally it’s bad to require 4 clicks before you can see any portfolio images but on Chris Erickson’s site this type of nav is what makes the site so cool. Very original and innovative and the site couldn’t be more usable in my opinion.
Greg Huntoon :: www.417north.com
I know wood paneling on site backgrounds is pretty played out these days but this is one of the first sites I remember seeing it on. Just an all around cool site even though it has been around a while. I love how the different section tabs get raised up off the page.
Gabe Kean :: www.gabekean.com
To say this site is grid based would be a huge understatement. Everything fits perfectly into the ruled notebook paper which goes perfectly with the educational/exhibit design work that Gabe Kean does.
Scott Hansen :: www.iso50.com
I know I said I despise sites where music starts automatically when the page loads. Well this is an exception. Not only is Scott Hansen probably my favorite designer around today but he makes his own music too. And surprisingly it’s actually really good. He is a true talent. Check out the print section if you want to see some stunning work. As far as the Flash work itself, there isn’t much to say other than it is done perfectly. Also the ISO50 blog is worth checking out and bookmarking too.
Jason Hickner :: www.pr0jects.com
This guy is seriously talented and he does seriously cool work. He’s the one who did the Flash development work on The FWA site. I think he builds robots in his spare time too and I’m not even joking. Hardcore stuff.
James Monaghan :: www.allaboutjames.co.uk
There are a couple cool things I really like about this site. I love how when you rollover the project names, the site background becomes a project image. The horizontal drag to view the detail images is also pretty sweet. Nice work.
Alexander Radsby :: www.aeform.net
A straight forward horizontal scrolling portfolio that is done very well. The way you can view all the projects by year is a cool feature.
Jonas Eriksson :: www.imjonas.com
A super minimal horizontal scrolling portfolio – no navigation, just a scroller and the portfolio images. Super simple but it works.
Bruno Fujii :: www.illustplosion.com
Another horizontal site that is done well. I like the large portfolio images so you can really see his artwork. The way the whole site rotates when you click the “About” button is probably my favorite thing about it.
Know of any other well-designed Flash portfolio sites you think deserve to be on this list? Let me know in the comments section below.