Reflecting on the features of a successful website design is often helpful in capturing broad inspiration. The following websites are not from the legal industry; however offer unique solutions worth reviewing. These websites were chosen as award-winning by other judges and I have chosen a few of my favorites that seemed most relevant to law firm websites from the following website awards: The Webby Awards, American Graphic Design Awards, and Web Marketing Association’s WebAwards.

Best navigation & information design

The ChurchShield site has clear and defined navigation that is easy to find with the bright colors aligned vertically on the left that stand out from the rest of the design. This provides for ease of use and functionality.

The NASA Climate Change website provides clear information about their most important message – the measurements of changes due to global warming. The data across the top section as well as the bright colorful maps quickly communicate the clearly designed information.

The MLB website also does a great job of organizing a lot of data so that it is easily found. The site balances the info fans are looking for with headlines and ads.

The Lending Club website provides key information in clearly defined areas and defines the call to action in a different colored box that stands out and makes the user’s path clear.

Best use of imagery

The following four sites each use gigantic images to convey the feeling of being or eating at these places. They each dismiss the idea of separating content above and below the fold, and rather maintain one large background image (except for BBs Restaurant).

Best in branding a place or emotion

The Glenelg Country School site immediately taps into the emotions of the target viewer with images of kids accomplishing great feats and being successful. The image of the school in the header and the surrounding green grass is also effective in providing a sense of the environment.

The Johnson Bank website has the tagline “Like family” which is supported in their use of colors and family-focused imagery and provides a unique personality different perspective than a typical bank.

The Cleveland Street District site recognizes that the potential viewers want to connect with local images, so features them broadly in the header.

The use of watercolor images rather than traditional stock photos in the Farm Coffee website is unique and offers a warm and nostalgic approach.

The South Court Dental site does a great job of creating a warm, friendly and welcoming feeling with their site, which is usually the goal of any dentist.