I struggled to answer the question “What is the best-designed site on the web?” because there are so many great websites I visit and so many more I’ve never seen. I decided on NPR.org because although the design isn’t necessarily visually stunning, its simplicity helps the user focus on the best part of NPR: the amazing content they produce.
One feature I love about the site is that it recommends a local NPR affiliate station based on the location of the user. In my case it chose KBIA, the Mid-Missouri station I actually used to work at. As you can see this feature automatically chooses one local station to recommend but has a dropdown menu where you can choose a different station.
The dropdown menu along the top of the screen is also filled with just about every option you could want for navigating through the website. In most cases, this many options might be overwhelming, but the categories and subcategories are all so straightforward that in this case, it works. If I was only interested in listening to a specific show or type of content, my options are all laid out for me in this one place.
Another feature that is really strong on the homepage is the sidebar that shows the top news stories, trending topics, and the link to the current newscast. This sidebar is prominently displayed on the homepage and allows the user to either pick and choose which stories they want to listen to or just listen to the full newscast.
NPR’s real strong suit is story telling. What I love most about their design is that is intentional about promoting that strength. Good design is something you often don’t notice because it is subtle and lets you focus on the content. NPR’s design does exactly that.