My top 5 best looking, usable, inspiring applications

Usability and Design being what Reconfigure strives to achieve, I thought I’d share my opinions as to what applications out there inspire and lead my area of expertise. Let’s face it, there’s allot of mediocrity out there but every now and then you try something, and you get that sense of, “Wow, this is awesome”. And everytime you use it, or see it, that feeling doesn’t fade. Well, here’s a few apps that gives me that vibe every time I see it or use it.

5. OSX Leopard’s Finder – browsing your computer the cool way

Apple has finally fixed what I always thought was missing in Mac or PC. A decent way to browse files and directories. With Leopard’s new finder, I think they’ve nailed it. The coverflow view and quick previews of documents, videos and pictures are simply incredible. Have a look here:

4. Shopify – the easy way to get your store online

There’s not enough good things I could say about Shopify and the team of geniuses that have created this golden application. Their approach to create something simple for small businesses to quickly get a store online and make it look great has made them successful and is surely an inspiration to many other startups out there. Working on Shopify stores is always a great pleasure and every-time I do work on it, there’s always some cool new feature added on to it.

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3. Panic Inc.’s Coda Website and html editor

If you take a look at Coda’s website and their app, you’ll quickly see why I find this to be great work. What they’ve done on their website with the carousel type pages at the bottom is so smooth, not to mention obliterating the need to load up a new page is magnificent. All the buttons and animation effects are well used and not bloated like some of the websites out there. If you’re a web designer, you’ll find their their actual html editor CODA is also quite amazing. The way they’ve meshed the functionality of their website to brand seamlessly with their app is magnificently done. The sites preview looks great as well, with the scotch tape/paper look. Check it out to see what I mean.

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2. Basecamp – all things 37 signals

Big fan of 37 signals’ work and motto, who isn’t though? Masters in simplicity, not necessarily visually appealing but not ugly either. Their low cost, very lightweight and usable approach to software design is what makes them rock. Basecamp, a project collaboration application is their application I’ve had the most experience with is very often the source of inspiration some clients look to the most. Adding to-do’s, milestones and collaborating on projects is a snap and by far the greatest to work with compared to the slew of alternatives I’ve tried over the years. Their book “Getting Real” can be read online for free and is a fantastic read if you’re in the web app biz.

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1. OSX Leopard – The whole operating system

Yes, it’s that awesome. I’ve owned an operated almost every operating system since Win 3.1. I have a 2 windows xp desktop machines, 1 windows vista desktop for the family room and a Leopard Macbook. I spend most of my working day on the Macbook and must say, I love it. Why? Because it’s fun to use, never crashes and everything just looks and feels great. The new mail app’s features are incredible and intertwined with Ical makes organizing my days a pleasure. I must say, Vista had a valiant effort to make the OS more sexy, but unfortunately, even on my Athlon 4600 Dual core, 2 Gigs of Dual Channel Ram, 2 x SLI 256meg Gforce 7900gt and 500 Gigs of SATA space, Vista is slow, unstable and feels bloated and difficult to use. It’s a shame I can’t install it on my other development box and need to keep using XP which feels outdated and bland compared to the Mac.

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