90s Web Design: A Nostalgic Look Back
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A nostalgic look back at 90s web design, and a warning to anyone whose website is an accidental anachronism.
Remember the days when every PC was beige, every website had a little Netscape icon on the homepage, Geocities and Tripod hosted just about every single personal homepage, and "Google" was just a funny-sounding word?
The mid-late 1990s were the playful childhood of the worldwide web, a time of great expectations for the future and pretty low standards for the present. Those were the days when doing a web search meant poring through several pages of listings rather than glancing at the first three results--but at least relatively few of those websites were unabashedly profit-driven.
Hallmarks of 1990s Web Design
Of course, when someone says that a website looks like it came from 1996, it's no compliment. You start to imagine loud background images, and little "email me" mailboxes with letters going in and out in an endless loop. Amateurish, silly, unprofessional, conceited, and unusable are all adjectives that pretty well describe how most websites were made just ten years ago.
Why were websites so bad back then?
Knowledge. Few people knew how to build a good website back then, before authorities like Jakob Nielsen starting evangelizing their studies of web user behavior.
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