A chef can make a great meal with a few basic ingredients. But when offered a massive pantry full of options, the result can be a work of art.
The same principle applies when it comes to website CMS software. A basic template-style CMS can result in something that hits the spot. But Drupal’s staggering degree of flexibility and modular options has allowed the developers of some of the world’s most prominent websites to create gorgeous and highly functional sites that inspire, inform, and elevate.
Here are our top 10 picks for Drupal websites that we think have raised the bar:
- University of Texas at Austin
- Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
- National Baseball Hall of Fame
- The Australian Government
- Rethinking Picasso’s Guernica
- The Emmy Awards
Let’s examine these in more detail:
A rare day passes by without Tesla making headlines. The brand and its founder, Elon Musk, are renowned for big, audacious ideas that have potential to change the world. The beautiful photography and design make every section look like a high-end editorial page in a magazine, while the simple, intuitive navigation and call-to-action features are clean and unobtrusive. It all combines to create a website that’s aspirational yet attainable.
PGAL is an international design firm focusing on interiors, architecture, planning, and engineering. Their challenge is to show and tell, so that potential clients are dazzled by the site’s visuals while still being able to find enough solid information to want to take the next step. The site, which uses imagery as the gateway to project stories, is a delightful rabbit-hole that we could spend hours exploring. Make sure to check out their Projects page, as it is an excellent example of how to show off a portfolio in a clean but comprehensive way.
University websites can often be an overstuffed nightmare to navigate, but the team behind UT Austin’s website got it right: Their menu navigation is clean, well-organized, and enticing. Add to it a home page that evokes the fresh excitement of starting the post-secondary journey, while peppering in well-organized data that invites the reader to learn more, and you have a website that gets students and their families off to the perfect start.
160,000 visitors go to CHLA.org every month, making it vital for the site to present clear, accurate, easily navigated information in a way that builds and maintains trust. It’s a tall order, but CHLA.org delivers. The design is clean but far from cold, while the most frequentlysearched information is put front and center instead of being hidden in the navigation bars, making it easy for frazzled parents to find out what they need to know. The sheer volume of information on the “Patients and Families” page could easily be overwhelming but is organized beautifully and intuitively.
Mint’s value statement: “We help you effortlessly manage your finances in one place.” They offer clean and simple financial management, using a clean and simple sentence to describe what they do. A cluttered or complicated website would completely undermine their brand. Fortunately, Mint.com is anything but cluttered or complicated. The simple and soothing colors and minimalist text are reassuring to visitors who want straightforward information, while the navigation and iconography make navigation a breeze.
For any website to be successful, it has to give the end-users what they’re looking for, and the BHoF delivers. After extensive user research, the site was designed to showcase the incredible stories and artifacts in BHoF’s collection, bringing it all to life for the site’s visitors. Fortunately, it also does so in a way that’s easy to navigate, inviting visitors to spend plenty of time exploring.
As with universities and colleges, government websites can often be an impenetrable labyrinth to navigate. Australia.gov.au does things differently, living up to their header, “Helping you find government information and services.” The site is incredibly well-organized, with virtually no clutter. And even though it has not one photo to speak of, it still manages to be attractive, through a judicious use of color and minimalistic icons.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía created an ambitious project around one of Picasso’s most famous works of art, and the results were groundbreaking: The project has been recognized with a Webby as the best 2018 Cultural Institutions Website. The storytelling and imagery on this site are captivating, while the user experience is smooth and unobtrusive.
The Emmy Awards are splashy and glamorous on the outside, while requiring meticulous planning and organization behind the scenes. Their website is no different. With a plethora of content, rich color choices, and high-quality images, the site is as immersive an experience as the awards show is. But thoughtful, intuitive navigation, exciting features, and well-curated content demonstrate expertise.
NASA.gov is a massive resource on space, astronomy, and the universe, offering detailed information on present and past missions, gorgeous photography, educational resources, and information about the organization in general, to name but a few features. Organizing such a wealth of information in a coherent and clear way shows what is possible with Drupal.
Full disclosure: We’re the team behind NASA.gov, so it’s understandable that we might have a soft spot for this site. However, we’re far from alone in loving the finished product. Our friends at Vardot.com call it “a shining example of Drupal CMS used to present stunning information, and elevate the user’s experience,” and NASA.gov has made the top of more than one “Best Drupal Websites” list.
Want to see the possibilities that Drupal can hold for your organization’s website? Contact us today!
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