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12 brilliant examples of web design to inspire you in 2023

Great website design helps users achieve their goals and keeps them coming back. But, unless you have the nine muses of Greece at your beck and call, getting inspiration and ideas can be tricky.

Last updated

16 Dec 2022

We’ve created a handy list of the 13 best examples of web design so you can get inspired and emulate great design practices on your own website to delight your users. Let’s begin! 

Prioritize brilliantly in your website design process

Hotjar’s Observe and Ask products give you direct insight into user behavior to guide your design decisions

12 examples of effective website design

Stellar website design starts and ends with user needs. The best designs prioritize solving user pain points above all else. When you’re drawing inspiration from these examples, remember to adapt them to your unique users and product, and validate ideas with key customer groups. 

We’ll talk you through the best examples of: 

  • Homepage design

  • Responsive web design 

  • Checkout page design 

  • Award-winning design 

The best website homepage designs

A well-designed home page builds trust, communicates value, and steers users toward their next steps by showcasing your product’s unique ability to solve their problems. 

Let’s explore a few excellent examples of website homepage design.

1. Airbnb 

Airbnb is a popular short-term vacation rental company with hosts and properties all over the world. 

#Screenshot of Airbnb’s homepage, Source: Airbnb
Screenshot of Airbnb’s homepage, Source: Airbnb

Airbnb’s homepage immediately greets users with the destination and date search form they came to find, guiding them to their logical next step in their customer journey. The navigation bar has eye-catching icons that segment their listings into various easy-to-use categories. 

The design also includes a smart search form, which auto-fills the user’s last search to minimize friction when they use the site. 

Their homepage displays stunning graphics of rentals all over the world to create urgency and inspire users to book their Airbnbs and start traveling. Media elements—like a video right above the navigation bar—engage users to convert. 

Airbnb’s user-centric web design has helped them connect with more customers, bring in more bookings, and increase brand awareness.

Pro tip: Airbnb is a good example to emulate for websites with a diverse product offering, that want to give users a fast and reliable way to perform searches. Start by adding an intuitive and findable search bar function with filter options to your website so users can quickly find what they’re looking for. 

2. Dropbox 

Dropbox is a file hosting service that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, and client software. 

#Screenshot of Dropbox’s homepage, Source: Dropbox
Screenshot of Dropbox’s homepage, Source: Dropbox

Dropbox’s homepage design features eye-catching geometrical shapes filled with slideshow examples of what users can accomplish with their product. The simple, catchy subheading, 'Do more with your files,' clearly states what Dropbox helps users achieve. Dropbox also lists its best features in a bar below the subheading to quickly summarize their value in a visually appealing and easily digestible way

As well as helping users understand the unique selling proposition of the product, the Dropbox homepage clearly guides users on what to do next. The navigation bar stands out in white against the darker shapes below to highlight their ‘Get started’ and ‘Find the plan for you’ call-to-action (CTA) buttons—helping users complete their desired actions and contributing to conversion rate optimization.

These techniques are especially useful for feature-heavy websites like interactive video conferencing web apps. Start by using segmenting techniques to ‘chunk’ information in ways that are aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand. This helps you guide users through key features, letting them dynamically interact with the information presented. 

3. Freshbooks 

Freshbooks is a cloud-based accounting software company. 

#Screenshot of Freshbooks’ homepage, Source: Freshbooks
Screenshot of Freshbooks’ homepage, Source: Freshbooks

Freshbooks’ homepage design is clear and straightforward with minimal copy, a simple beige background, and strategic use of white space. 

They’ve used color contrast to their advantage with blue and green CTA buttons that stand out against the background, so it’s clear what actions they want users to take when they arrive.

Freshbooks’ sub-navigation section is well-categorized, with labels like ‘Tools to support your type of business,’ that easily help visitors find solutions for a variety of use cases and shows empathy for their particular pain points. 

This design is especially useful for websites offering a simple solution to complex user problems—such as SaaS companies. Start by defining clear navigation categories, using labels that highlight key use cases, so users will be more likely to explore your site and convert into paying customers.

Pro tip: use Hotjar Heatmaps to observe where users click, scroll, and move through your homepage, and see which parts of your design compel them to convert. Use the insights you collect to guide your homepage design decisions and delight users.

#Hotjar Heatmaps make it easy to visualize complex data and understand it at a glance

#Hotjar Heatmaps tools

Source: Hotjar 

The best responsive website designs 

Responsive websites give users a streamlined, consistent, and adaptable experience across various devices and screens—whether it be on a mobile phone, desktop, or tablet.

Let’s check out some great examples of companies who put web design trends and techniques to good use in creating responsive sites.

4. Shopify

Shopify is a global ecommerce platform that helps users easily set up online stores.

#Screenshot of Shopify’s website, Source: Shopify
Screenshot of Shopify’s website, Source: Shopify

Shopify offers a consistent user experience (UX) across all devices by adapting its CTAs and illustrations for users browsing from desktop vs mobile devices. 

On personal computers and tablets, Shopify’s main CTA button is to the right of the form field. On smaller mobile displays, it’s underneath, so it displays clearly and provides an intuitive experience for users scrolling downwards on touchscreen devices.

The mobile version also collapses the email signup field into a small icon that expands when clicked to drive users to convert without crowding the screen. 

#Screenshot of Shopify’s mobile site
Source: Shopify
Screenshot of Shopify’s mobile site Source: Shopify

Pro tip: Shopify’s design is great for ecommerce sites looking to inspire users with ideas to get started. Start by adapting CTA placements for device-specific use and streamlining menus and images to remove unnecessary steps and offer a responsive, consistent experience. 

5. Slack

Slack is a workplace-based messaging platform. 

#Screenshot of Slack’s website, Source: Slack
Screenshot of Slack’s website, Source: Slack

Slack integrates its playful, empathetic brand values into its quirky and responsive design. For example, their navigation menu shrinks to a ‘hamburger icon’ on mobile,  with the search icon highlighted to facilitate intuitive user browsing. 

Slack’s flexible, responsive grid layout also quickly adapts to various device sizes. They use a three-column layout on desktop and a single-column layout on mobile for elements like customer logos.

It highlights and personalizes CTAs depending on where the user is accessing the site from: on desktop, it’s 'Try for free', and on mobile, it’s 'Get Slack for iOS'. This customized experience encourages users to take action. 

#Screenshot of Slack’s mobile site
Source: Slack
Screenshot of Slack’s mobile site Source: Slack

Pro tip: take inspiration from Slack if you want a responsive, user-friendly design that stays true to your brand’s core values. Emulate their responsive design by focusing on key navigation elements, like adaptable menus, CTAs, and grid layouts.

6. WIRED

WIRED is an American magazine focused on the impact of emerging technology. 

#Screenshot of WIRED’S website, Source: WIRED
Screenshot of WIRED’S website, Source: WIRED

WIRED’s website has a dynamic layout featuring several columns and a sidebar on desktop devices, which changes to a single column on mobile devices for easy user navigation. 

Image ratios are also adapted to the device—rectangular sizing on desktop becomes a 16:9 ratio on mobile. 

For added simplicity on mobile, they’ve collapsed icons for search and newsfeed filter functionality into a single expandable button. Their navigation menu is streamlined, with only their logo, a menu icon, and a link to subscribe visible. 

#Screenshot of WIRED’s website on mobile, Source: WIRED
Screenshot of WIRED’s website on mobile, Source: WIRED

Pro tip: if you plan to include a lot of content on your website, look to WIRED for inspiration. Their site is a great reminder of the importance of responsive, flexible design. Start by making sure you adjust all media elements—images, videos, text boxes, and headlines—for different screen sizes. 

The best checkout page designs

A well-designed checkout page helps users complete their order, enter their information, and select options like 'shipping method' without any friction. Poorly designed checkout pages can deter customers from completing their purchases, increasing cart abandonment rates and churn.

Let’s explore some great examples of checkout page design to inspire you to create your own seamless checkout experience for users.

7. Walmart 

Walmart is a multinational retailer that operates a chain of hypermarkets. 

#Screenshot of Walmart’s checkout page, Source: Walmart
Screenshot of Walmart’s checkout page, Source: Walmart

Walmart’s checkout page design prioritizes clarity: they limit distractions, only displaying the checkout form and the item(s) in your cart, making it easier for customers to move smoothly through the checkout process.

Its streamlined three-step checkout journey doesn’t lead the user to a new page for every step, where they might click away. Instead, Walmart uses an on-page checkout sidebar to simplify the process, letting users complete their purchases without signing up for an account, which makes for a frictionless user experience. 

They also include a 'cart storage' option: users are told that their information is stored for up to 72 hours so they can complete their checkout later. Cart storage gives customers the option to return when it’s convenient for them without having to start over—and potentially add more items to their cart. 

Pro tip: Walmart’s a great example of a retail giant with a frictionless checkout design. Build an easy, intuitive checkout process by minimizing steps, including cart storage, and using on-page sidebars so users don’t have to load a new page at every stage of the process. 

8. Nike

Nike is a world-renowned sportswear company, with an ecommerce website that showcases several different products.

#Screenshot of Nike’s checkout page, Source: Nike
Screenshot of Nike’s checkout page, Source: Nike

Nike uses minimalist design and copy on their checkout page, letting users complete their purchases in three simple steps and without logging in. 

The checkout interface is reactive to user input: a green checkmark appears when users have correctly entered their information, so they know what’s been registered and what to do next.

Nike’s checkout page also auto-fills addresses so the user doesn’t have to input their details multiple times, lessening the likelihood of abandoned carts. 

Nike’s checkout page is a great example of a minimal design with optimal efficiency. Start by simplifying the checkout process by auto-completing time-consuming steps, and make sure every element reacts to user input, so users can see their information’s been logged.

9. ASOS

ASOS is an online fashion and cosmetics retailer. 

#Screenshot of ASOS’ checkout page, Source: Asos
Screenshot of ASOS’ checkout page, Source: Asos

ASOS proves that the best checkout pages aren’t necessarily the flashiest: they use a simple design with streamlined copy, including clear, specific information boxes for the user to fill out.

Their simplified form reminds users of what’s in their cart while clearly displaying the price, any additional costs, and all shipping options available, so all of the information is in one place for users. The trust badges on their checkout page also reassure users that their financial information is secure.

If you want to create an intuitive checkout process like ASOS, limit on-page distractions and display all of the key checkout information in one place, so users can scroll through and see exactly what data they’ve provided at every stage. 

Pro tip: use Hotjar Session Recordings to watch users as they interact with your checkout page. Track where they get stuck, where they drop off, or where they’re making u-turns to quickly fix any bugs or issues and streamline your checkout process.

#Hotjar Session Recordings allow you to watch your users as they experience your website to help you evaluate if you're meeting their needs

An example of a Hotjar Session Recording

Award-winning website designs 

Learn from the best of the best. Take a look at these award-winning website design examples and consider how you could repurpose them to fit your users’ specific needs and reach your product goals.  

10. IBM

IBM is a multinational technology company that won Awwwards’ ‘Site of the Month’ prize in July 2021.  

#Screenshot of IBM’s ‘The Harmonic State’ web design, Source: IBM
Screenshot of IBM’s ‘The Harmonic State’ web design, Source: IBM

IBM’s engaging design offers visitors an immersive visual and auditory experience. Users are first prompted to put on headphones to get the full website experience—but even if they skip this step, they’ll be engaged by the responsive background that moves as they navigate through the page. 

They also use visual storytelling to explain how their tools work in the real world—turning complex tools (AI) and their product vision into an easily understandable experience for users. Site visitors can also explore three user stories through video game-like functions to learn more about IBM’s Watson tool.

Finally, IBM’s website layout is well balanced, with a large title that grabs users’ attention and a bold blue CTA.

IBM’s website is a great example of a streamlined site focused on a complex concept. To emulate their design, get creative: think of your site as an immersive experience and look for ways to create user delight through images, audio, and moving graphics.

11. Hyer

Hyer is a private jet rental company that was awarded ‘Website of the Month (2022)’ by the CSS Design Awards

#Screenshot of Hyer’s winning web design, Source: Hyer
Screenshot of Hyer’s winning web design, Source: Hyer

Hyer makes a strong impression on website visitors with a striking illustration that slowly moves across the screen as you scroll. 

This central image tells a story, but thanks to strategic use of white space, it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Hyer compels users to learn more about their brand without being too vague, which prompts customers to look around and initiate their journeys. 

The site features a simple, but effective tagline, two clear CTAs, and an easily accessible navigation bar, helping users intuitively find their way around the site. 

Hyer is a good example of web design based around a central image or focal point. Put their design ideas into practice by adopting a 'less is more' approach: look to spark users’ interest on your homepage, but don’t necessarily tell users everything right away. Use engaging, minimal design to let site visitors discover your brand in their own flow. 

12. Superlist 

Superlist is a task and project management app that changes the way teams work and collaborate. They won Awwwards’  ‘Site of the Month’ in April 2021. 

#Screenshot of Superlist’s winning web design, Source: Awwwards
Screenshot of Superlist’s winning web design, Source: Awwwards

Superlist’s interactive homepage displays various workplace items that dynamically move and shift as users scroll, enticing them to keep exploring the site while delivering a unique product experience

To help with navigation, Superlist includes a small button with an arrow icon to indicate that there’s more to see on the page. Once you scroll, unique animations, bright colors, and changing shapes engage users as they get to know the product. Superlist also includes playful, dynamic icons that communicate their brand identity—their loading icon is a thunderbolt filling up with a charge.

Superlist’s design is a good option for SaaS companies looking for a contemporary design that guides users through interactive elements. Focus on creating a seamless scrolling experience, and add dynamic, interactive elements with clear labels and icons.

More website design inspiration 

Here are some other places you can look to get inspired with web designs that will create an engaging experience for your users: 

  1. Behance: search for web design examples or check out their interaction design category

  2. Dribbble: search for web design examples or interaction design

  3. Awwwards: look at winners to find sites and elements you like and want to emulate 

  4. Your competitors: check out your competitors’ sites for website and element ideas or to see what you could do better. 

  5. Your users: your users should be your most important source of inspiration. Talk to users to find out what design elements they’d like to see more of on your website and gauge how well your design is currently meeting their needs. 

Pro tip: use Hotjar's Ask products like Surveys and Feedback widgets to get direct insights from customers while they’re browsing your site. 

Inspired web design inspires users

User-centered web design lets you connect deeply with your audience, inspire brand awareness, and give users a consistent experience they can look forward to. 

Adapt great examples of web design to your users’ needs to create a dynamic website and a powerful UX.

Prioritize brilliantly in your website design process

Hotjar’s Observe and Ask products give you direct insight into user behavior to guide your design decisions.

FAQs about web design inspiration