Sites listed here are either useful, beautiful, or entertaining. A few meet all three criteria. This is in no way a comprehensive listing of the world’s best sites. Like we could come up with that if we tried.

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Remarkably designed sites. Many with content, even.

0sil8.com ... the always charming whimsy of Jason Kottke.

3e Oeil ... dazzling full–screen motion graphics, Flash 4 minimum (5 recommended). You really have to see this. No, really. You have to look at this. It is gorgeous and remarkable. Unless you are visually disabled, in which case there is absolutely nothing here.

24-7cool.com ... Kitty Mead’s collaborative visual playground.

5hirin.com ... remarkable collages, animations, postcards and drawings from Kouladjie (aka. S.M.Moalie), creator of Photomontage (see below). More of her remarkable work may be found at n3xt.com, and you can read our 1999 interview with her in 15 Minutes.

altsense.net ... a community site, but that's not why we love it. We love it because of the elegant, understated, crisp, refined simplicity of its design.

amon tobin - supermodified ... extraordinary music site created in Flash. A cold, high tech look with a warmly interactive embrace. And the music is phenomenal. Will reward your patience.

Angel-Devil.com ... relaunch coming soon.

Archinect ... extraordinary visual exploration.

Assembler ... UPDATED URL (attention, TYTTTW readers). Brent Gustaffson’s masterpiece of cross–browser DHTML programming has a lovely, understated design sensibility.

Born Magazine ... one of the first and best original content sites, marrying design and the word in interesting ways. A must–see.

Bubblesoap ... cute yet extremely stylish animation and games; you can get lost here.

Chopping Block ... inimitable NYC-based design humorists.

Desktop Imperium ... fine and funky.

Destroy Rock City ... fascinating visual narratives by Lee Misenheimer.

Digital Realm 6 ... beautiful personal portfolio.

Dominey Design ... beautiful, distinctive, elegant Flash site; see also whatdoiknow.org, Dominey’s XHTML/CSS daily site.

e-llumination.net ... a beautifully understated corporate site. Pity about the “e” thing.

Egomedia ... unusual approach to the porfolio of a design company, using filmed motion graphics that are then converted to vector graphics. Much more fun than that description implies. Requires Flash.

Fontomas ... the artist formerly known as Eyesaw Fonts.

Futurefarmers ... Amy Franceschini’s multimedia design company. Amy is one of the original exponents of fine design on the web, with work permanently housed in SF MOMA.

i2design ... fine fonts and design.

Interiors ... disturbing dynamic slideshow by the artist Steve Giovinco.

Jerkbox & Punk’nhead! ... underappreciated, and somewhat dazzling, continuously updated and redesigned site of New Jersey comic artists.

Kaleidoscopies ... Albie Wong’s schemes for Mac; beauty for its own sake.

Liftingfaces.com ... Ryan Holsten’s interface games.

Mozco !Garash! ... amazing icons from Japan.

Nike Enjoy the Weather ... remarkable Flash presentation, so beautiful you can almost forget the third world sweatshops where the products are made. (URL is that of the developers. Nike took the site down for reasons known only to Nike.)

ndroid.com ... Vicki Wong is a fine web designer and a true original. She doesn’t copy other folks’ styles. Instead she is inventing her own visual language. Very nice work.

one9ine ... web design company created by designers, not marketers. Incredibly beautiful, yet highly functional. Like the two shouldn’t always go together. Requires Flash.

Photomontage.com ... transcendant multimedia artistry. Now featuring funky digital postcards you can send to your friends.

Pixel Imp ... sophisticated portfolio/services site with superb details. Lovely and understated. Requires Flash 5.

Pixel Industries ... Marc Klein’s web design company. Incredibly precise graphic design work. Requires Flash and patience.

Pixelflo ... wonderfully entertaining ideas plus gorgeous design. Rebooted May 2001.

Praystation ... insanely great Flash programming by Josh Davis. He gives away the source in downloadable zip files. Now in its third incarnation. Extremely influential site responsible for ideas that win awards for other people.

Presstube ... continually inventive illustration site by James.

Quiet Foxes ... file under “zen.” Classic site hasn't been updated in years. Hasn't needed to be.

Redoctober.com ... Eastern Europe signs in.

The Remedi Project ... breathtaking work, updated four times a year.

Suffocate.org ... collaborative space for web designers.

Superlooper ... illustrator and font designer’s portfolio and personal site. Screensavers, desktops, illustrations, free typefaces, and more.

TwoPiece ... Sarah Ancalmo’s lovely, funky, funny site. Not much meat on it, but what’s there is choice.

{ use.it.or.lose.it } ... a clearinghouse for Jakob Nielsen parodies.

Volumeone.com ... Matt Owens’s masterpiece, updated quarterly since 1997 or so. Extremely influential (and beautiful) site.

What is a Print? ... this Flash site for the Museum of Modern Art is one of the best we’ve ever seen: fresh, fun, and immensely usable. It was created by NYC’s The Chopping Block, who continually prove that designers can have a great time while creating wonderful user experiences.

XL5design.com ... Brian “Rustboy” Taylor’s cool, clean, pixelicious portfolio.

Yellow Lane ... art and award winning icons.

TOP ... lose your way, stranger?

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Design & Build the Web

A List Apart (ALA) is a weekly online magazine “for people who make websites.” In addition to providing a steady stream of well-written tutorials and opinion pieces, ALA is a strong voice for web standards. (For more about ALA, see the Projects section at Happy Cog.)

“Founded in 1998, The Web Standards Project (WaSP) fights for standards that reduce the cost and complexity of development while increasing the accessibility and long-term viability of any site published on the web. The WaSP works with browser companies, authoring tool makers, and the community to deliver the true power of standards to this medium.”

A Mailto With a Subject ... because people never stop asking about this; Webmonkey’s tutorial tells all.

Apple Internet Developer Site ... useful tutorials and info; launched in late 2000.

Babble List ... Christopher Schmitt’s excellent mailing list for designers and developers.

B2B: Median Prices for Database Projects ... industry ballpark figures.

Banner Sizes ... ugly stuff you probably need to know about; from iab.net. Then again, if the commercial web continues to fail, you may never have to know about this stuff.

Color Reference ... useful reference material on web page colors. From Webreference.com.

CSS Mini-Section

Intro & Basics

CSS Guide ... WestCiv ’s excellent intro to the ins and outs of CSS.

CSS/XHTML Style Guide of the Branch Libraries of the New York Public Library. Beginner-friendly tutorial coauthored by Carrie Bickner and Zeldman includes conversion instructions, downloadable style sheets, Dreamweaver tips, more.


CSS–Discuss ... superfine mailing list created in January 2002 by CSS experts John Allsopp and Eric Meyer and open to designers and authors at every level. It’s a ridiculously busy list, so you may wish to choose the Digest version when you subscribe.

WebNouveau CSS Forums ... just like it says. An online forum for the discussion of CSS and other web standards, launched May 2002 by Donimo. (Relaunched with new URL 30 May 2002.)

Steal These CSS Layouts!

BlueRobot’s CSS Layout Reservoir ... elegant css layouts, yours for the taking.

Glish’s CSS Layout Techniques ... look, ma, no tables! Grab and run, or linger and learn.

Glish’s CSS Layouts: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly ... problems (and workarounds) in CSS browsers.

Owen Briggs’s Little Boxes visual layouts page ... click a layout, view the CSS that built it. HIGHLY recommended.


CSS Browser Support ... from House of Style tells which browsers support which CSS elements.

Tutorials, Techniques, & Tricks of the Trade

@ALA: Alternative Style: Working with Alternate Style Sheets: Build a standards-compliant style sheet switcher with a few lines of JavaScript.

@ALA: Backward Compatible Style Sheet Switcher: Skin your site without abandoning Netscape 4 users.

@ALA: CSS Beyond the Browser: Going to Print: Say no to “printer-friendly” versions and yes to printer-specific style sheets. CSS expert Eric Meyer shows how to conceive and design print style sheets that automatically format web content for off-screen delivery.

@ALA: A List Apart's Fear of Style Sheets, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4. Dated but still useful. Pretty much everything you need to know to start using CSS to control your online typography in old as well as new browsers. Fear of Style Sheets 4: Give Me Pixels or Give Me Death is particularly recommended.

@ALA: Mo’ Betta Rollovers: Build better rollovers with CSS and the DOM.

@ALA: Practical CSS Layout Tips, Tricks & Techniques: Crafting complex layouts with easy-to-understand CSS.

@ALA: Size Matters: Working around broken CSS font size keywords to create more accessible pages.

@ALA: A Web Designer's Journey ... making the transition from HTML table–based layouts to clean CSS design.

agitprop ... Todd Fahrner’s seminal writings on css and text styling on the web. Anyone who even pretends to design websites should read this stuff several times over.

Owen Briggs’s Box Lesson Problem & Workaround Set ... documents browser bugs and offers possible workarounds.

Bugs in IE5/Mac ... compiled by CodeBitch et al.


Favelets Tantek Çelik’s essential bookmarklets for people who work with CSS.

SelectORacle ... turns CSS-2 selectors into English. Confused about what div>h1+*#text a[title~="W3C"][class="external"]:visited:hover means? Wonder no more.

Tests & Workarounds

Box model hack ... Tantek Çelik's workaround for the broken CSS box model in IE5/5.5/Windows.

CSS2 tests ... What the new CSS declarations mean, how they’re supposed to work, which browsers support them, and which don’t.

CSS Samurai Top 10 ... the classic “top 10 css problems” report from the web standards project’s css samurai, 1998-1999. Quite outdated, but still online for historical compleatists.

Much more to come.

DOM mailing list ... like it says.

DHTML GUIs ... for the geek in you. Steven Champeon’s attempt to get fancy stuff working on the web, in spite of browser incompatibilities. Outdated, but there it is.

Dynamic Drive DHTML Scripts: Conveyor Belt Slide Show ... just a cool thing to be able to build, and it seems to work in most current browsers. Outdated but still works.

Evolt.org ... design/development zine by the community, for the community. Constantly updated with interesting tutorials and opinions. Don’t miss the archive of old browsers you can download to test the backward compatibility of your web projects.

Getting Started with HTML ... by Dave Raggett of W3C. ’Nuff said.

How to Determine When a Work is Public Domain ... like it says; useful stuff to know.

JavaScript tips from PPK.

StatMarket ... who’s using what browser? On what operating system? Useful stuff to know. Some day we won’t have to worry about these issues, because all browsers will support the same standards.

Sizing Up Text on the Next Browsers ... Razorfish’s Mulder explains cross–platform font problems, and how new browsers address these issues.

Validator ... keeps code kosher.
Voice Browser support: Voice Browser Activity ... from the W3C.

Voice Browser support: Dave Raggett ... W3C staffer’s page; voice browser Style Sheets, notes on TalkML.

W3.org ... World Wide Web Consortium. Where most of the stuff we call “web standards” comes from.

Web Developer's Virtual Library ... much info.

Webdesign-L ... Steven Champeon’s superfine mailing list.

Webmonkey ... HotWired’s big–ass site, chock full of tutorials, some of them current.

Webmutant: Web Design Paper ... help for developers; CGI scripts, thoughts on design, etc.

Web Wonk ... Siegel’s original (1995) treatise on beating HTML into a language of graphic design. For historical purposes only.

Why Gecko Matters ... your host on the standards–compliant engine behind Netscape 6, and what it could mean to the web; in ALA.

Why IE5/Mac Matters ... your humble host again on the first browser to fully support HTML 4 and CSS-1.

XPLANE | xblog (The visual thinking weblog) ... for designers and architects. HIGHLY recommended. Cross–listed under “Daily” and “Build the Web.”

Youngpup.net ... DOM/DHTML site and blog of Aaron Boodman, developer of the Three.OH news scroller and other fine stuff. Cross-listed under Daily.

TOP ... an anchor link reference; see, you're learning already.

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Yeah, we know it’s a tired category, but these sites do a great job of finding things many of us would miss, otherwise. It should also be noted that most of these are non–commercial personal or collaborative projects.

3.0 - inspirational kingdom ... one of the first and best portals for web designers.

Australian INfront ... a launch pad to Australian design.

Caffe Mocha ... new design zine, nicely put together.

Cool Homepages ... just like it says.

Coolstop v4.5 Portal ... learn by looking at good sites. Minimum 4.0 browser required. Joe Jennet, creator of Coolstop, does not focus on glitzy sites, trendy sites, or superbly designed commercial sites. He tends to find personal, independent, non–commercial sites — some of them incredible. We love him for it.

Creative Republic ... a gift to the web from superdesigner Marc Klein. Not updated all that often.

Cruel Site of the Day ... Rogers Cadenhead’s daily hunt for the web’s worst absurdities started as a parody of Cool Site of the Day, and became something more. Or less, depending on how you look at it. We look at it often.

Design is Kinky ... web design zine outta Australia, run by two charming gentlemen whose love for web design and web designers is obvious; a portal that’s also a zine, a floor wax that’s also a dessert topping.

Digital Web Magazine ... monthly mag helmed by Nick Finck and friends features tutorials, interviews, reviews, and opinions. Nicely (and usably) designed.

Digitalthread ... deep resource for digital artists and producers. Site gallery, typefaces, event calendar, Photoshop actions, and more.

Fierce! ... a long-running site devoted to finding the good, the bad, and the ugly. Somehow they figured out how to make money while doing this.

Holodeck73 ... supafamous design portal.

k10k ... outstanding collaborative design site; weekly issues, daily news, special features.

Moluv ... a pretty incredible design portal. Pity that all the links are chromeless JavaScript popups. This makes the linked sites look prettier, but also makes it impossible to bookmark them. Great design picks, however.

Netdiver.net ... well–designed portal to good design, rich in content and fiber; one of the first on the web. Lovingly maintained by Carole.

Perfect.co.uk ... minimalist masterpiece. If it’s still online, that is.

Pixel Surgeon ... stylish portal sportin’ spiffy teal gradient background.

Surfstation ... Euro webdesign zine. Excessively nice. Updated monthly.

visualOrgasm.de ... beautifully–crafted German–language design portal with more than 400 links, daily news, splashes, fonts, wallpaper etc.

TOP ... up ya go.

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Personal sites, the heart of the web. Includes several collaborative ventures, to which you can contribute

Featured Attraction: Lileks.com. There is no way to adequately describe this site. None. But we’ll try.
        Lileks.com is an endless sprawl of brilliant parodies, spurious product histories, and quirky observations, lightly glazed with a low–fat pop dressing, and baked at 350 degrees for the past five or six years.
        If you–re looking for cutting–edge graphic design, or trendy wannabe-cutting-edge-graphic design, don’t go here. But if you think the web can be like a fascinating coffee table book, and you’re willing to spend several months of your life paging through all the content here, don’t delay, hit Lileks today.

3-am.com ... fine observations from Rachel Cox and collaborators.

Cardigan Industries ... “the ecstasy of communication.” Witty, bitchy writing and clean, smart design.

Commercial Archive ... Ask Wappling and collaborators have collected hundreds of TV commercials for your viewing pleasure.

Croon ... collaborative recollections of particular songs. Designed by Caro von B. Not updated often.

Davezilla ... fascinating illustrations, comical anagrams, lugubrious anagram-based interviews, and assorted entertainments. A nicely–made, long-running personal site. Redesigned every six months or so, whether it needs it or not.

Disturbing Auctions ... indescribably brilliant. The author finds hideous and bizarre items for sale at Ebay, and writes texts about same. You may not like this at first, but keep going. Addictively witty.

Ember.org ... personal stories of love and loss.

{fray} ... the ultimate personal storytelling site, conceived and designed by Derek Powazek. Could also have been filed under “Beauty.”

fem*mass ... the personal homepages of the female masses. A nutritious part of LMichelle Johnson’s enormous one-woman show, GrownMenCry.

Full Moon Graphics ... Ms Kitty’s vast, personal site. A classic.

Glassdog ... scurrilous wit ’n whimsy from Lance Arthur, the web’s Mark Twain.

Jezebel ... a classic. Heather Champ has been around forever, always doing beautiful work. Digital postcards, free backgrounds for your homepage. See also Heather’s lovely study in group narcissism, The Mirror Project, and of course Harrumph (in Daily, below).

Jugglezine ... not really a personal site, but a periodical content ’zine so nicely done it feels like a labor of love, and not like the usual clueless corporate gropings in this space.

Kvetch ... light–hearted interactivity, once more from Derek Powazek. Nicely redesigned in ’98, and has not needed to be redesigned since.

Lemurzone ... Alan Herrell’s weekly rants should not be missed, even when you have no idea what the hell he’s complaining about.

Mappa Mundi ... smart monthly (web-only) magazine, creative directed by WebChick. Alas, this fine site has been discontinued. Happily, it’s still online. Go back through the old issues and see what you missed.

Media.org ... from Webchick and Carl Malamud, two of Mappa Mundi’s creators. A fetchingly designed series of intelligent essays, plus the Site Rescue project. Smart yet light.

New Breed Librarian ... bimonthly non–commercial zine for librarians and anyone else concerned about content on or off the web.

No One’s Daughter ... Leigh Baker–Foley, web design goddess.

Pete’s Beats ... Pete Zeldman’s personal site. Rhythmic resources for players, programmers, and fans of the drums. Includes MP3s of Pete’s music, and free drum loops for samplers and multimedia projects.

Prehensile Tales ... penile colony.

Powazek.com ... Powazek’s personal project portal. Pretty, elegant. Blog in the back. Redesigned November 2001.

Ranger Magazine ... beautiful, content–rich, indepedent magazine. “Keep the web human.”

Redcricket ... Dan Beauchamp’s lovely personal site includes a wonderfully low–profile community section for web designers.

Shotgun Flat ... “indie creativity™.” Nice clean layout, daily photo.

Trashed.org ... Jen Honner’s lovely personal site. Photography, art, and design.

TrueDevice ... Peyo Almqvist’s personal music site. Fine music, clean design, immaculate programming.

Waferbaby ... is the hardest–working pixel wrangler in show business.

TOP ... you know what this does, now, don’t you, cowboy?

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Constantly–updated, informational sites have been around forever, but in 1999 they got labeled “weblogs” and became trendy, with tragic consequences. Here are some we like.

0format.com ... intelligent weblog, nicely authored in XHTML and CSS.

37Signals: Signal vs. Noise ... often useful log from the no-nonsense webdesign team at 37Signals.

A Jaundiced Eye: the Weblog ... too infrequently updated log of Steve Champeon, code jockey, sysadmin, and techno-book author.

Anita's LOL (List of Links) ... Anita catches stuff others miss. [UPDATED URL]

Anitra Pavka ... accessibility and usability.

Backup Brain ... Dori Smith and Tom Negrino share what’s on their minds. (Dori and Tom write for Macworld, are steering committee members of the Web Standards Project, and yada yada yada. Smart folks with something to say.)

BluishOrange ... Alison Headley’s beautiful site. Redesigned Fall 2001 to be more functional and less beautiful.

Brainstorms & Raves ... Shirley E. Kaiser’s near-daily column about web design and development, with a special focus on accessibility and web standards.

BWG ... he’s a big white guy living in Hong Kong, and you aren’t. Achieved unfortunate notoriety during the whole Kaycee Nicole hoax (he was a victim, not the perpetrator).

Camworld ... mostly about technology, particularly of the Open Source variety.

Captain Cursor Creations ... the sometimes articulate thoughts of Taylor, the Webmonkey guy.

Caterina.net ... daily thoughts of Caterina Fake.

DesignFlea ... Matt Rhea’s skinnable weblog; interesting scripting, subtle design sensibility.

Eric Brooks: Whuzzup! ... If Don Rickles were a web author, he might come up with something like this. Otherwise impossible to describe. Addictive, in a guilt-inducing fashion.

Evhead ... daily nuggets from the founder of Pyra.

Fairvue Central ... fun little blog by Nikolai.

Glish.com ... intelligent site of standards geek Costello.

Good Experience ... thoughtfulness without punditry.

Greasy Skillet ... daily log features experiments with streaming media.

Harrumph! ... Heather Champ’s beautifully–designed daily take on the world and the web. At times it is like a diary (sometimes verbal, sometimes visual). Visiting this place always makes us feel good. Heather is one of the few designers we know who can actually make text look good on web pages—an important and underappreciated art.

Hypertext Kitchen ... “linking hypertext people.” Web design, web content, and web narrative news since the early 1990s.

I Am Generic ... Rony Tako’s lovely blog has a nice clean understated style. Or did, last time we checked.

Inflatable Sheep ... another L. Michelle Johnson effort, lately focusing on the joys of being an unemployed web designer.

Inflight Correction ... Owen Briggs on web design and web standards.

Kottke.org ... the short, odd thoughts of Mister Jason Kottke, creator of the Silkscreen bitmap font.

Little Green Footballs ... web development and personal diary in one. Since September 11th, the site has provided much news and news analysis linkage.

Metacubed ... a nutritious part of utsler.com. Makes loving fun of the phenomenon in which it participates. Updated once every few decades whether it needs it or not.

Metafilter ... a community weblog, created and produced by Matt Haughey. Anyone can contribute to it, and many contributors have surprisingly insightful things to say. Somewhat in the USENET tradition of arguing about whether the Atlantic or the Pacific is the greater ocean, and invoking Hitler when all else fails, but if you slog through that junk you’ll get to the gems, which are often rich and brilliant.

NuBlog ... Joe Clark’s “weblog about content, and everything that entails.” One of the best–written and most insightful logs on the web, when it isn’t mired in bitchiness. Of course, for some people, the bitchiness is a plus.

Prolific ... the work of always delightful Caroline von B. “She logs for Europe.” Recently re-designed, and quite nicely, too. And then redesigned again. Caroline is also the guiding light behind Croon.org (see above).

Rogue Librarian ... Carrie Bickner’s daily site, part diary, part professional blog. It’s all about libraries, document structure, and metadata.

Scoble ... content management and technology.

Scott Andrew ... great daily site focused on the technology formerly known as “DHTML.”

Scripting News ... vast, personal, and quirky, Scripting News is one of several daily logs maintained by software developer Dave Winer.

Splorp! Blog ... part of Splorp! Made by Grant. The simple, minimal 1995-2001 design was recently updated to another design, almost as simple and minimal.

TeamBilly ... from Dallas with love.

Textism ... bitchily clever writing, clean KIS design; highly recommended. From the creator of Cardigan Industries and the designer of WaSP Phase 2.

Think Dink ... Straight outta Dallas, Jessica Reynold’s log is part diary, part filter, and a pleasure to look at, though we preferred the previous colorful design to the current greyscale affair.

Speech Therapy ... reflections, interviews, commentary.

whatdoiknow.org, Todd Dominey’s elegant daily site designed with CSS. See also Dominey Design, Dominey’s superfine Flash site.

XPLANE | xblog (The visual thinking weblog) ... for designers and architects. HIGHLY recommended. Cross–listed under “Daily” and “Build the Web.”

Youngpup.net ... DOM/DHTML site and blog of Aaron Boodman, developer of the Three.OH news scroller and other fine stuff. Cross-listed under “Build the Web.”

TOP ... where you belong.

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