Posted on Tuesday, January 1st, 2013 by Danny Davies
2012 is over… long live 2013! And to welcome in this bright new year, All My Faves – your easy guide to the Web – has once again enlisted the world’s help to hand pick the best websites of 2012. These sites may not be Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest, but they’re some of the internet’s most interesting, unique and, well, coolest websites around… and hey, you voted for them! So without further ado, here’s our definitive review of the top 10 coolest websites: best of 2012.
UberConference – First up is a website and app that could revolutionise the way business is conducted. UberConference reinvents the good old conference call for our super-connected age, where business is conducted across multiple devices and platforms.
Not only does UberConference let you set up and host conference calls right from your smartphone, but it’s packed with clever, visual features that eradicate almost everything that is annoying about old fashioned conference calling. From eliminating that awkward process of finding and typing in dial-in numbers and PIN codes; to introducing a visual dashboard that shows both who is on the call and who is speaking at any one time; to even making it easy for a conference organiser to identify and mute any person whose line is interrupting the call with annoying background noise, UberConference is certainly a great tool, and our users agree, voting it one of the best websites of 2012. Click here to get see the future of conference calling.
Picmonkey – We’ve let you pick the best website 2012 winners, but seeing as there were so many cool websites in each category, we’ve decided to let you in on our staff faves too. Our pick for 2012’s most useful internet tool is Picmonkey, a brilliant, free photo editing website that lets you turn any average image into an Instagram-ass-kicking masterpiece.
Serendip - Serendipity is one of those words in the English language that makes you smile. It means to discover something new and exciting by accident.
And this is exactly wha the creators of Serendip had in mind when creating their new concept for a free Internet music / video player: a website totally focused on social music discovery. It enables you to stumble upon new music you’ll love by listening to playlists by amateur online “DJs” who like the same kind of music as you – and thus may become your ‘music soul mate’.
Because you’re discovering music through friends and music soul mates – in particular via Twitter – you’re more likely to find music suited just to you and your tastes. And it appears to be working, because our users have voted in their droves to crown this Internet music player our best entertainment website of 2012! Click here to discover some music you’ll love on Serendip.
Frequency – There’s so much video content floating around the Internet that it’s really easy to miss a heck of a lot of good stuff! The solution? Frequency, a real-time social platform that brings you the best video content from a variety of your favorite channels from across the web. So take a look at Frequency, our pick for the category of best music & video website 2012!
Small Demons – Not quite educational in the ‘school’ sense, more in the ‘life-enriching’ sense, Small Demons is a delightful little website for the book lover in you. It’s a growing encyclopedia of all those cool places, people and products from real life mentioned in your favorite books. The best example I’ve found is this Small Demons feature on the fascinating Steve Jobs biography. It had everything for me to explore: all the people, companies, places, music, movies, TV & radio shows, other books, food and drink, newspapers, gadgets, events, vehicles and pretty much anything else that could be mentioned in the book.
Small Demons really does bring the books it features to life, and clearly our users agree, having voted it into our best websites 2012 list as most educational site of the year! Click here to explore the world you share with your books.
DIY.org – One for your kids to enjoy and get stuck into is DIY – a fantastic, parent-friendly social network for kids, based completely around making cool stuff. You know, stuff. Stuff like a foam explosion, a fisheye lense or an electric LEGO car. We’ve picked DIY as our fave educational site of the year because there’s nothing better than getting kids into both using the Internet safely, being part of a community and learning useful new tricks at the same time!
LOL Wall – Unsurprisingly smashing its way to victory in our coolest website 2012 category of best site to browse on your coffee break is, well, quite possibly the perfect site to browse on your coffee break! LOL Wall is basically a huge, tiled page filled with funny photos uploaded by users. A simple idea, a simple site, and actually all born out of a Facebook page.
LOL Wall seems well moderated enough to be safe enough for work, so next time you feel yourself drifting off while staring at those spreadsheets, click here to spend 5 minutes “LOLing” at the LOL Wall.
Vat19 – Our pick for best coffee break -friendly website 2012 is Vat19, a shopping website with a difference: The gifts up for sale on the site range from being unique to unusual to downright genius gift ideas, and all are accompanied by near-on hilarious videos that make a great way to use up a couple of minutes. Perfect for a quick coffee break browse!
CircleMe – The standout, new social network of 2012, as voted for by our AllMyFaves users, is CircleMe. What makes CircleMe different from all the others in the deluge of new social networks that have hit our computer screens in 2012 is that it focuses on what you actually like more than any other. You add all the things you like to your own profile, and then find other people that like the same things. You connect with them, and build up networks for all the things you’re passionate about.
So you can discover stuff you’re going to like by connecting with other like-minded people (instead of simply “friends” on Facebook, who might actually not have that many ‘likes’ in common with you…). It’s called ‘circling’ and it all takes place from a hub of stunning, visual profiles. You can also find or help others discover cool places to visit around your area by “planting” items of interest, which adds a nice “social, local, mobile” touch. So as voted for by our users, click here to check out this year’s hottest new social network, CircleMe.
Vizify – Although this isn’t quite a ‘social network’, Vizify is a tool that takes all your latest updates from all the social networks and creates a genuinely stunning social media profile of you. Well worth a look, and our staff pick in the best new social network category for 2012.
RoadTrippers – This new travel website proved incredibly popular among our users, storming to victory in a strong combined category of travel and shopping websites. RoadTrippers’ popularity is likely down to the fact that its sole focus is on helping you plan and map out the perfect, good old all-American road trip. Everything is prepared for you – from the actual route to places that’ll interest you along the way to visit.
So get your [insert name of classic convertible car here] out the garage, get yourself onto RoadTrippers, and get ready to go on a very long drive across the States, because RoadTrippers is officially the AllMyFaves best travel website of 2012.
Outgrow.Me – Our pick in the joint travel / shopping category for best website 2012 is Outgrow.Me, a beautifully presented marketplace of all those awesome products the general Internet public funded on two of our favorite crowdfunding websites, Kickstarter and Indiegogo. You funded these products, now go buy them!
HealthTap – A natural winner of in the best health website 2012 category is the excellent HealthTap. If you’ve got a medical query that you would rather not spend the money and time on a doctor’s appointment to answer, your first port of call will be the Internet. And among the best of the Q&A doctor/patient forums online is HealthTap.
HealthTap’s moto is that they believe that everyone has the right to free, reliable, and independent health information. They offer a really useful service of medical Q&A that everyone benefits from: patients get answers and doctors get more clients who are exposed to them through the platform. All in all it’s a sort of a medical social media where you reveal intimate details about yourself while remaining anonymous.
Headspace – Our pick for the website most likely to improve your heath of 2012 is Headspace, a website all about meditation. This isn’t some kooky class that your mother-in-law once went to and now insists you attend every other week, with a hippie instructor leisurely guiding you along the road to ‘nirvana’. Not at all. This, friends, is meditation for the Internet generation. It’s modern, relevant, fun, and some might argue that it actually works!
Necessary Coolness – 2012’s most stylish website is Necessary Coolness: a fun, ingeniously designed website that features everything guys truly want to see on the web. It caters mostly to men tired of seeing far too many cute kittens on Pinterest; and is a great way to spend a coffee break!
Of all the picture curation sites we’ve found, Necessary Coolness really raises the bar in terms of design and user experience. It first displays pictures in an interesting, tiled approach with no text . When you click a picture you like, the entire board moves around it as that picture enlarges and gives you more info. You can then choose to go to the site where the photo came from – or if it’s a gadget, even buy the product pictured! You’ll have to try Necessary Coolness for yourself – it’s great!
TheFancy - TheFancy is a “part store, blog, magazine” website that offers a whole catalog of great pictures and products to ‘fancy’, share and in some cases purchase. A big rival to Pinterest, everything is either for sale or simply a treat for your eyes, and is our pick as the most stylish website of 2012.
Nicest Place on the Internet – This may actually be the nicest place on the internet! I don’t want to give too much away about it… All I’ll say is that first, you need the sound on (or headphones in if you’re having a break at work); and second, make sure your internet is quick enough to play short Youtube videos.
Our users have voted the Nicest Place on the Internet as their most wow-inducing website of 2012 and I am not in the least bit surprised! It’s one of the most sincerely sweet websites I’ve seen in a long, long time. It’s lovely and I GUARANTEE you’ll be sporting a nice wide smile because of it. Click here to go to the nicest place on the internet! Especially recommended if you’re feeling a bit down.
Red Bull Stratos – On 14 October 2012, Felix Baumgartner, representing the chronic thrill seekers at Red Bull, jumped out of a helium balloon in the Stratosphere and dived 24 miles to Earth, becoming the first human to travel faster than the speed of sound without any help from an engine. Red Bull Stratos is the mission’s awesome website, and well if it doesn’t make you go wow, no website will!
Magic Plan – The people’s choice for app of the year 2012 is the quietly brilliant Magic Plan. It’s a free app that – almost by magic – creates a professional-looking floor plan of your rooms, simply from a couple of photos you take of that room. Which means you can take a blueprint of your home everywhere on your iPhone, without ever having to enlist an architect or decorator!
Because the floor plans Magic Plan measures and draws from your photos are so accurate (which is amazing in itself!), it’s an app that provides solutions for a vast range of scenarios in a home. We think it’d be really useful for evaluating furniture fit, estimating a renovation, planning an intervention or even sketching a crime scene (heaven forbid…)! We may even be looking at a mini revolution in the real estate market: No need for expertise, time or money. Just a simple floor plan app. Click here to take a look.
Cinemagram – Our pick for app of the year fuses still photography with moving video to create a moving photo, or a partially still video…or whatever you want to call it. Either way, being able to animate a photo you’ve taken is really very clever, and it gives photographs posted online an extra dimension, literally.