The top 10 Christmas websites ranked by design
An average web user’s attention span lasts between 10-20 seconds, so in order to improve the quality of traffic to your website, it needs to be easy to navigate, with a clear value proposition that can hold people’s attention for much longer.
Website design, functionality and customer service are key factors to keep in mind when developing a website and marketing strategy, especially if you hope to make an excellent first impression.
With the festive season fast approaching, our digital marketing and website development teams have researched their top ten Christmas websites based on their design, functionality and customer service levels.
‘Polish Christmas Guide’ is an illustration-driven journey detailing Christmas traditions in Poland. The website allows you to play as Santa Claus, walking around a snowy mountain area to meet characters who educate you on the Polish Christmas culture.
Jacy Yates, our creative digital marketer, commented, “This website is so informative and educational whilst fun. It’s a great use of digital marketing activity to build brand awareness and encourage donations to charity.”
“They have really thought about user experience. For example, there are multiple options for controls with both mouse and arrow keys which is helpful for laptop devices with a trackpad. The animations are exciting and work well with the sound effects triggered by user interaction, adding extra complexity.
“The body copy typography can be a strain to read in some instances; we would recommend using a more standard font for large body copy to support the title font.
“The only negative is that it doesn’t work on mobile devices, but considering the nature of this interactive site, I think it makes sense. Maybe they could create a simplified version for mobile?”
This collaborative project aims to connect graphic design students, graduates, and industry professionals from around the country in a digital advent calendar format. Each day showcases a bespoke illustration or animation themed around a particular shape (Square, Triangle, Circle and Hexagon) and Christmas itself.
“This is an excellent site for designers or those interested in graphic design and animation. It’s a great place to find inspiration for projects and an opportunity for anyone to submit their work for recognition. Although, I don’t think it’s been marketed very well as our website design and creative team have never heard of it before.
“We would definitely recommend ramping up online marketing across a variety of digital channels to build traffic back to this website and strengthen keyword rankings whether it be social media marketing or content marketing,” says Jacy.
Paul Marshall, our senior front-end developer, added, “The layout and visuals on this site are excellent and complimented well by the transitions by mouse hover. I also love the slick micro transition on the navigation and the use of a soft pastel colour palette, supported by a modern flat illustration and iconography style.
“There isn’t anything I dislike about this website. As the site is based on the structure of a calendar, it would have been nice to see the use of CSS Grid, which would compliment this type of layout. They could have potentially used a landscape version of the logo in the header and condensed the social media icons in the footer, but the website is great as it is.”
Google Santa Tracker allows the users to keep up with Santa and follow the location of his sleigh around the world on Christmas Eve. With the platform also hosting interactive games and activities of different levels to learn about Christmas all year round, there’s something for children of all ages.
Jacy points out, “I love the idea of tracking Santa’s sleigh; what an exciting way to spend the last moments of Christmas Eve with your children before bedtime. With plenty of fun activities and lots of high-quality animation with some tied to user interactions, the website is a real feast for the eyes with amazing use of illustration throughout.”
“With a lot going on, the website is relatively slow to load. This could lead to a high bounce rate, with users leaving before the website even has a chance to display. The speed continues to be an issue throughout, with animations and call to actions jittering as they appear, potentially leaving users more inclined to use the dropdown menu than view the website. There’s possibly too much to look at, and it’s easy for visitors to get lost.”
Christmas HQ is a go-to site for anything and everything Christmas related! The website has everything you need to get ready for the festive season, from recipes and Christmas carols to DIY decorations and free design resources such as clip art, images and fonts available to use in creative projects.
“The Christmas HQ website is easy to navigate, informative and designed in an engaging way to increase interactions. The site features lots of useful resources for anyone to use in the lead up to Christmas.
“The snowflake effect on the banner is a nice touch among other visual infographics. However, they are all in PNG format. The website would benefit from using SVG as an alternative to eliminate the HTTP request to load an image file. If no file needs to download, this results in shorter webpage loading times.”
“The website is a fantastic concept with great illustrations and festive typography throughout that adds a real sense of class. We also commend the nice use of column layouts that differ throughout the site’s main sections— I have no negatives from a website design perspective,” says Paul.
Secret Santa is a Christmas staple for anyone working in an office, but the process is not always straightforward. With people drawing themselves, losing their names or having no clue what to get others, Draw Names makes it simpler.
The site allows names to be drawn digitally, and names are sent out via email. Each participant can also create their own ‘wish list’, making it easier for their Secret Santa to choose their gifts and ask their giftee questions anonymously. The website also has a gift finder that allows you to search for gift ideas filtered towards your budget and who you are buying for.
“Secret Santa proved to be challenging last year with the pandemic and remote working, so this is the perfect hack! And, I don’t know about anyone else, but I always struggle to find the perfect gift, so a wish list would be a lifesaver.
“Draw Names is a great tool that is very easy to use and navigate. The data-driven web design allows quick user input, perfect for drawing your Secret Santa with family, friends or colleagues. It would be nice to see a little bit of animation on the infographic, that would be a nice touch, and the platform could make better use of illustration to help tell the story,” adds Paul.
My Advent is an online personal calendar creator that allows users to use images, voice clips, videos or messages to create the perfect calendar for a loved one. The website provides templates for users to personalise and then generates a link to share with others.
Paul observes, “What a great concept, especially for families that are living apart. On the other hand, the website looks quite corporate. It could be more desirable to a workplace target audience as a great way to keep staff engaged in the countdown to Christmas, although it is rather expensive for business use.
“It’s great that the platform allows you to upload different types of content to each day, such as videos or voice messages. The website design and development is nice and clean with a real focus on personalisation, and the use of illustration and icon style is consistent.”
“However, the site does lack some animation and interactive user elements. It could also add some more personality. For example, the header image could illustrate the calendar in a friendly and valuable manner as at the moment the image doesn’t represent the product it should be promoting.”
The Office Christmas Party is an easy to use party finder that allows you to search for venues, attractions and experiences by location and party size. From murder mystery to Las Vegas themed, you can find the perfect place for you and your team.
“This is definitely a handy tool. It is easy to use and highly information-driven, with clear call to actions throughout, meaning you can find exactly what you want quickly and efficiently. In regards to the layout and design, the website is clean and straight to the point; however, it is not very Christmassy and is more corporate themed.
“We would definitely recommend a filter lock once you scroll past the header slide content and look at adding more personality and festivity as it is the season to be jolly,” says Jacy.
Why Christmas is an interactive, educational site developed to teach people how Christmas traditions vary in different countries and cultures worldwide. The website provides detailed information about each country, from when they celebrate to the types of festive food they eat.
Paul comments, “The Why Christmas website has great use of infographics providing insight into each country’s Christmas traditions with lots of fun activities for children such as colouring, interactive games and jokes. There is a nice use of illustration and iconography to help navigate the user journey.”
“However, there is a bit too much written content which can make it easy to lose engagement. The visuals let this site down, but it also lacks other interactive elements such as a burger menu, animation and micro transitions throughout. There’s also a poor use of layout, typography hierarchy and overall style and tone.”
North Pole is an interactive activity site for the whole family. You can read stories from the elves, play puzzles and games, write a letter to Santa and create personalised stories. There are also plenty of resources for adults, such as recipes or craft ideas.
Jacy commented, “Who doesn’t love to get crafty at Christmas? The North Pole website features a bundle of activities, and the festive navigation animation tool with the houses looks amazing; a horizontal version of this with the link wording below would be awesome!”
“However, we do feel the website requires a complete refresh; there is a distinct lack of brand style and tone, and the user journey is quite poor. The site is very basic and outdated and has ads throughout; also, some things are downloaded before anything is clicked. ”
Email Santa has a variety of features for children (and adults!) of all ages. You can add your name to the Naughty or Nice list, send emails directly to Santa, check how many gifts have been made this year, play some festive games and have a laugh at some (cheesy) Christmas jokes. What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations? Tinsilitis!
“The Email Santa website starts promising with some great concepts, such as chat with Santa and a naughty and nice list. It has a real festive feel with some nice graphic elements and imagery in the header; however, there is just too much going on when you begin to scroll.
“The layout is very outdated, and you get lost quickly. The user interactions lack transitions, making it very clunky, and the sound effects are not the best. Google ads on the site take away from the experience and become tiring after a short time. There is also a real lack of design aspects once you hit the message board style content,” says Paul.
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