If you run a digital agency, especially one that designs and builds websites, then what better way of showing off your talents than to build a wonderful website for your own company?

In the past couple of years many agencies have rebuilt and relaunched their websites using HTML5 and CSS3. The results can be eye-opening, highly engaging, and built to work on all kinds of devices.

It's not all good news though. Sometimes the use of HTML5 can be downright annoying: just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Does it matter that some of these websites take half a minute to load? Personally I think fast loading times really matter, but I've heard arguments that people are prepared to wait for certain types of website. You can decide for yourself. 

At any rate, there is plenty to admire here, and perhaps there is an acceptable trade off between optimal usability and the overall user / brand experience. Certainly it's always interesting to watch web design evolve, and agencies are naturally inclined to push the boundaries.

The following examples show what can be achieved, and mercifully not all of them are addicted to loading icons. Tuck in and see what you think.


Makes good use of responsive design - try narrowing your browser window. 

Si Digital

Includes unobtrusive animation and some lovely fade-in effects for text.


This currently has a gorgeous, innovative 'out of office' skin on it, as well as some great touches on its website.


Avoids scrolling for the sake of it, and focuses on usability.

8 Bis

What's not to like about the way the label changes colour as you hover from image to image?


This one is a scrollfest, with lots of excellent micro UX effects (try hovering over the red logo, or the social icons).


A focus on strong typography and speed makes for a lovely user experience.  

KathArt Interactive

The tour is certainly novel, but it takes an age to load, and the navigation goes AWOL.


Some slick slide transitions, but I'm not convinced that the image-heavy team page works.

The Twelve

I like the attention to detail on those thumbnail hover states, and there is some smooth animation if you're prepared to wait for it.


A site that seems to have been created with the swipe in mind. 

Teehan & Lax

I'm such a fan of this site, especially its wonderful 'story' page.


Another admirably clean HTML5 experience. Check out its Project Planner form.


A content-focused site, rather than the bells and whistles approach adopted by many agencies, though infinite scroll means that you end up chasing the footer down the page.

Seen any other notable HTML5 sites recently? By all means share them in the comments area below.

Chris Lake

Published 28 August, 2013 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (6)

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may phat dien 3 pha

I like the KathArt Interactive
Simple but special :)

almost 5 years ago


Brett Opace

Some great designs here. Design agencies need to balance the need to 'show off' with a need to remain navigable and easy to use for potential customers. It LOOKS as if these designs stay on the right side of 'inspired but accessible'

almost 5 years ago



Responsive design will continue to grow and agencies and clients will need to adapt. As smartphones continue to dominate and become the primary mode of Internet searches, the user experience is lost if tour site isn't optimized.

almost 5 years ago


Charles Arthur, Creative Agencies Manchester at Creative Spark

Some best design here. Design agencies have to be compelled to balance the requirement to 'show off' with a desire to remain passable and straightforward to use for potential customers. It's look as if these designs stay the correct aspect of 'inspired however accessible'


almost 5 years ago


Luke Grimes, Web Developer at Tigatech

After all presentation is key but I think it' about getting the right balance.

over 4 years ago


Luke Grimes, Web Developer at Tigatech

Oh and my favourite has to be teehan!


over 4 years ago

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