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"Classic" Web Design (Also Known As: Anyone Miss the Old Internet?)


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#1 TPA5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 8:55 AM

I love Archive.org.

 

Specifically, one of my favourite things is using Archive.org to reminisce about what different websites looked like back in the day. And one thing I've noticed over my time browsing it, is that I prefer the design of web pages from years gone by, as opposed to modern designs.

 

Take eBay, for example. Here's what it looked like in 1998 (screenshot from Archive, so ignore the missing images):

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.40.03 AM.png

 

And what it looks like today:

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.39.50 AM.png

 

I find the 19 year-old version to be much easier to look at and browse than the current version. The old one is basic, refined, and simple. The new one? It's overflowing with colours, animations, sliders, text, buttons, drop-downs, forms, links, logos, and pictures. You need a road-map just to try and browse the blessed site.

 

Maybe I'm grouchy, but I feel like web design was nicer back in the 90's and early 2000's. I know that it mostly had to do with internet speeds being low, so websites had to be simple. But I just can't stand this new trend of huge images cramming in your face, swoopy animations flying in from every which way, and ultra-wide webpages. I know it's never going to go back to the way it was, but I sure miss it.

 

But hey, I could be a lone idiot. Do you guys think web design was better back in the day, or are we currently enjoying web design that's as good as it's ever been?



#2 Good_Times OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 9:06 AM

I always switch to 'classic mode' whenever the option is available.  It seems like once I've become comfortably accustomed to a certain layout, they go and change things.   Ebay did this recently, with an annoying 'upgrade' (??) where they apparently wanted to squeeze my hand and lead me through their new layout, which looks nothing like their original seller's page and only served to confuse me, sigh.

 

Ebay:  Would you like to switch to classic mode?

Me:  OBVIOUSLY!



#3 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

--- Ω ---

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 9:21 AM

What I miss about the early Internet was the minimal advertising.  Now days you have to run all kinds of software to block all the freaking popups, advertising and trackers.  Now they even have web pages that detect your adblocker software and try to prevent you from reading their content. 

 

 

It's become a tiresome game of:  1403364872img_0121.jpg



#4 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 9:32 AM

I love Archive.org.
 
Specifically, one of my favourite things is using Archive.org to reminisce about what different websites looked like back in the day. And one thing I've noticed over my time browsing it, is that I prefer the design of web pages from years gone by, as opposed to modern designs.
 
Take eBay, for example. Here's what it looked like in 1998 (screenshot from Archive, so ignore the missing images):
 
attachicon.gifScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.40.03 AM.png
 
And what it looks like today:
 
attachicon.gifScreen Shot 2017-08-01 at 9.39.50 AM.png
 
I find the 19 year-old version to be much easier to look at and browse than the current version. The old one is basic, refined, and simple. The new one? It's overflowing with colours, animations, sliders, text, buttons, drop-downs, forms, links, logos, and pictures. You need a road-map just to try and browse the blessed site.
 
Maybe I'm grouchy, but I feel like web design was nicer back in the 90's and early 2000's. I know that it mostly had to do with internet speeds being low, so websites had to be simple. But I just can't stand this new trend of huge images cramming in your face, swoopy animations flying in from every which way, and ultra-wide webpages. I know it's never going to go back to the way it was, but I sure miss it.
 
But hey, I could be a lone idiot. Do you guys think web design was better back in the day, or are we currently enjoying web design that's as good as it's ever been?


Like anything else. My answer is "it depends". I remember plenty examples of terrible web design in the mid 90s that I wouldn't revisit. Late 90s, I remember some slick websites with a dark web design that suddenly around the turn of the century decided they should go white and minimalist, and I though they were the worse of for.

I don't care what era it's from, if it looks attractive and is easy to navigate, I will like it.

What I hate in web design:

- heavy designs that not only bog down your browser, but often your entire computer/phone. Often this is due to embedding tons of videoes.

- cluttered, slow, hard to navigate interfaces with excessive ads

- lists that send you to a different page for every list item.

- overly minimalist design. Today it seems like the trend is to make all interface elements white or very light gray so that its hard to tell where borders are on some monitors.

#5 jhd OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 9:38 AM

I agree. I am generally looking for specific content, either for work or recreational purposes, and the advertisements and excessive graphics are just annoying. 

 

I have maintained a personal website for about 22 years now (since Summer 1995), and while there have been some small changes to the design -- and much content added -- the underlying HTML code is essentially the same as it was when I started the site. It will probably display just fine on Netscape 1.2 (which is the browser that I was using when I initially created the site). 

 

I like my design choices, and I see no reason to add Flash or excessive graphics. The substantive content is well organized and easy to find, and that is what matters. I am not running a business, or competing with anyone for advertising revenue, so I see no need to make it more "popular". 



#6 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 9:54 AM

A little bit of visual appeal is nice. There's a lot to be said for not making a site look "old."

 

This site by AA member onmode-ky is the epitome of retro minimalism, no way you can beat it for spare elegance

 

SNIPPITY.png

 

I remember some recent chatter about Best Electronics' site, too -- that's got the classic look. Almost woodgrain in its retro aesthetic. 

 

da best.png



#7 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 9:57 AM

The thing I miss the most about classic web design?  I miss visiting fast loading web pages than don't autoplay video, don't display popups, don't require crash... I mean flash, and don't load 50 advertisements.
 



#8 doctorclu ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 1, 2017 11:32 PM

Yeh I miss the minimal websites too.  As someone said, doesn't matter the time or date, if it is easy to navigate, it is good.   I remember websites in the 90's that were cluttered with animations, frames, and of course that is when pop-ups became terrible.  And let's not forget how pop-ups could populate into 12 pop-ups and crash your computer.

 

No "good ole days" in this scenario.

 

Now for fun, if you like adult games, and have a good spam blocker, this "Up the Wazoo" game of technical support is a funny nod to early internet...

http://www.funny-gam...p-the-tech.html

 

Here is a 90's add of "The Facebook" which is a cool spoof of what Facebook would have looked like in the 90's.

 

Which was a spoof of this actual AOL commercial...

 

More classic commercials...  ok, now I'm getting nostalgic :P

 

And one more spoof about "The Facebook".   A good commentary on current Facebook culture.

 

Enjoy!



#9 jaybird3rd OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 1:27 AM

There are certain aspects of the late-90s Web that I certainly don't miss: frame- and table-based layout, text formatting with <FONT> and <COLOR> tags, and of course, the bad "design patterns" you'd see over and over again in the stereotypical bad pages of that time (blink tags, tiled background images, rainbow separator bars, centered neon text, huge BMP images, cheesy animated GIFs, loud background music, etc).

 

I do miss the minimalism and efficiency of the well-designed pages of the time.  Because those pages had to be optimized for dial-up users, designers couldn't afford to take for granted features like Javascript, Flash, and others that were later responsible for bulking up page sizes.  On the other hand, they could also safely assume that their readers would be using computers with keyboards and mice, so they could get away with implementing the type of navigation that works for a mouse (and which I still find easier to use) but does not work for touch screens.  Nowadays, almost everybody takes a "lowest common denominator" approach and just uses hamburger menu navigation for everything.  It's great on mobile devices with small screens, but I find it very constricting and clunky on desktops.



#10 SlidellMan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 10:28 PM

There was something about having a good balance between aesthetics and functionality in the early-2000s Internet that has been lost on many a website. Oh, and I preferred Macromedia's versions of Flash over Adobe's. (Much more stable.)



#11 WispFollower OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 10:42 PM

One of the worst "features" of modern websites has to be those floating menu bars which stay on the screen while you scroll. I have never understood who needs those. Is it really possible to get so lost scrolling down the page you forget where up is? Just keep the menu at the top of the page, please. Screen real estate is valuable.. it's why people want bigger phone, pc, and tv screens which go all the way to the edge of the device- to see more content, not menus and ads. One of the stupidest things about those floating menu bars is I keep seeing ones with one button, which brings up more categories or a site map. So.. they are condensing the buttons to one being visible, yet make the stupid menu bar plastered across the screen when it's just a solid color or something (essentially blank). Where do they come up with this shit?



#12 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 2, 2017 10:53 PM

One of the worst "features" of modern websites has to be those floating menu bars which stay on the screen while you scroll. I have never understood who needs those. Is it really possible to get so lost scrolling down the page you forget where up is? Just keep the menu at the top of the page, please. Screen real estate is valuable.. it's why people want bigger phone, pc, and tv screens which go all the way to the edge of the device- to see more content, not menus and ads. One of the stupidest things about those floating menu bars is I keep seeing ones with one button, which brings up more categories or a site map. So.. they are condensing the buttons to one being visible, yet make the stupid menu bar plastered across the screen when it's just a solid color or something (essentially blank). Where do they come up with this shit?

I really hate those when I'm browsing on a laptop and the developer obviously had a huge screen so it didn't look nearly as intrusive to them.



#13 Osgeld ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 7:52 AM

while there is plenty of things to fuss about on modern sites, the old sites are nothing but word vomit in no less than 5 different font styles 4 colors and 36 different sizes, even the ebay image in the very first post!

 

jeez how many different sized fonts do you need on a 4 word statement, OMG I am glad that crap is gone


Edited by Osgeld, Thu Aug 3, 2017 7:53 AM.


#14 Tanooki OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 9:02 AM

I've run Adblock for years so quite a few pages somewhat do look/act like the old days of 15-20 years ago.  Whenever I have to turn it off on rare occasion and forgot to restore it, it's a good reminder why it exists and why I have it on at all times.  I'm starting to get annoyed at websites using scripts trolling me for using it either nagging or blocking the site out entirely.  I don't need to be fed more ad space than viewable text area.  Minimalist is fine to a point, but also having something more than 20 years ago ebay is nice too as long as it doesn't fly into being bloated.  I'm fed up with the auto-play video and/or audio among other crap that drags down your load times.  Entirely unasked for and unwanted.



#15 0078265317 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 3, 2017 11:36 PM

I am sorry but the old days were plain and boaring.  Today is so much better.  Tone down a few adds and its much better.  The top pic is too basic.  19 years later is how it should of been back then.

 

Just like Atari 2600 pixels compared to todays rich graphics and 3d.  No comparison.  Today is way better.  Still love the nostalgia but today is so much better.



#16 Zap! OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:07 PM

I think nearly everything was better about the internet in the 90's, but don't go by me, I have an extreme level of nostalgia. What I really miss is MIDI files playing in the background on so many sites. And Tripod and GeoCities...:(


Edited by Zap!, Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:16 PM.


#17 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:25 AM

There's definitely something to be said for the web design ethos of the '90s. Efficient, compact, to the point. Not so bloated with content and auto-playing video and pop-up ads that it chokes out your browser.

But there's also something to be said for the cleaner, more professional modern design aesthetic. Pages and sites that don't look like high school Comp Sci projects from 2001.

In a perfect world, we'd have efficient, compact, to-the-point, clean, professional-looking sites that don't stuff bullshit down your browser's throat until it goes comatose.


Edited by BassGuitari, Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:29 AM.


#18 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:02 AM

A question is why website design is the way it is. Is content so shallow they need to force-feed it to you? Is it 1st-year interns and millennials making noise?

 

Furthermore it is annoying that most content loads after advertisements, provided the ads don't bog or stall your browser to begin with.

 

TBH: I don't miss the "campiness" of early websites, like Best Electronics.. Just don't fill my browser with 20 animations either.


Edited by Keatah, Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:06 AM.


#19 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:15 AM

A question is why website design is the way it is. Is content so shallow they need to force-feed it to you? Is it 1st-year interns and millennials making noise?

Fashion. Do you dress the same way that you did in 1987?

 

(I may be sorry I asked ...) 



#20 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:17 AM

There's definitely something to be said for the web design ethos of the '90s. Efficient, compact, to the point. Not so bloated with content and auto-playing video and pop-up ads that it chokes out your browser.

But there's also something to be said for the cleaner, more professional modern design aesthetic. Pages and sites that don't look like high school Comp Sci projects from 2001.

In a perfect world, we'd have efficient, compact, to-the-point, clean, professional-looking sites that don't stuff bullshit down your browser's throat until it goes comatose.

 

I'd say that the pop-ups were worse back then.   Maybe not on the 1995 web,  but 1999-2002 or so seemed like some sites would launch half a dozen popups.   This was before browsers started blocking pop-ups



#21 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:19 AM

Fashion. Do you dress the same way that you did in 1987?

 

(I may be sorry I asked ...) 

 

I still dress like Ducky from Pretty in Pink, doesn't everyone?  :P



#22 Osgeld ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:28 AM

 

I still dress like Ducky from Pretty in Pink, doesn't everyone?  :P

 

no mullet and mc hammer pants for me 



#23 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:35 AM

A question is why website design is the way it is.

Ad revenue.

Next question. ;)



#24 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:10 AM

 

I'd say that the pop-ups were worse back then.   Maybe not on the 1995 web,  but 1999-2002 or so seemed like some sites would launch half a dozen popups.   This was before browsers started blocking pop-ups

 

This was the reason browsers starting blocking popups. 

 

Ad revenue.

Next question. ;)

 

 

And tracking people, don't forget that. There are spy bugs everywhere. Related to ad revenue, of course. Advertising is gross, but in many ways makes the world go round. 

 

I try to support writers and venues that I enjoy, especially since I ruthlessly block advertisements wherever I can. That means subscribing to the newspaper and other sites I read, paying for "pro" versions of free utilities, paying to remove ads from mobile games and Kindle devices, and even subscribing to AtariAge. 

 

Seriously, supporting AtariAge is like a dollar a month and you get some cool perks. 



#25 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:19 PM

 

Bad link. Try this






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