Having a website that makes a lasting impression on those who visit is a hugely important factor in its success – particularly in e-commerce. The best websites are the ones that are visually appealing, interactive, easy to browse and perhaps most significantly are uniquely-designed.

This combination of features is what sticks with users and makes them want to return and recommend the site to others; we’ve put together a list of five websites that not only tick these boxes, but are what we consider to be some of the most inspiring websites of all time:

#5 ASOS

http://www.asos.com/

We love: Navigation and usability.

What separates this online clothes shopping website from the rest is the ease and clarity of the navigation considering it is such a big site. The simplistic yet effective drop down menus make finding different brands and styles a breeze, plus there are lots of useful features including an ‘ASOS stylists’ section featuring blog content, images and videos from each designer about their chosen styles and looks.

#4 Airbnb

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/

We love: Use of high-resolution imagery in design.

The most inspiring aspect of this website is the beautiful and effective visuals that change each time you visit, to give you a bespoke experience. The ‘less-is-more’ style regarding the amount of text on the website works really well too, as the stunning images of different worldwide travel destinations speak for themselves. The clean-cut grid arrangement of these interactive images makes navigation clear and easy, and in terms of usability the menu bar offers you an uncomplicated way to search for your chosen destination.

#3 Threadless

https://www.threadless.com/

We love: The community feel and integration with forums and blogs.

It’s the community experience you get from the Threadless website that makes it so inspirational. While it may not have the complex visuals of bigger clothing sites, the simplistic layout effectively showcases a selection the different design entries from the hundreds of unique contributions they have, while at the same time matching the ‘indie’ style that has served them so well over the years. The website’s blog is another inspirational community experience, which serves as a popular forum for designers and artists to promote, share and discuss their creations.

#2 Costa

https://www.costa.co.uk/

We love: The interactivity and animation.

The beauty of this website is how well it establishes the Costa brand, the colours and fonts match the energetic Costa style, the product images are well-chosen and appealing, and the simple to use layout and scrolling features make navigation easy – leaving a very positive impression on the user. The crowning glory of this website though is the fully interactive animated ‘Costa Experience’ which charts the production of their coffee, what their stores can offer you and their company ambitions, all through a clickable mini-adventure.

 #1 Guy Cotten - Sortie en Mer

http://sortieenmer.com/

We love: A true “experience” site; this simple website has made us feel completely desperate.

The interactive cinematic experience of this website is a visual masterpiece which emotively demonstrates the importance of taking proper safety precautions at sea or on water. The short film is from the point of view of a character that falls from a yacht without a lifejacket; you will frantically scroll to keep your character afloat, only to feel physically exhausted and distressed as your character fails to stay above the surface and the yacht disappears out of sight. The simple yet persuasive message that appears afterwards points you towards buying the required safety gear from Guy Cotten.

And after such a harrowing filmic experience you’ll more than appreciate why you should.