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Top 10 Web Design Trends for 1993
August 10, 2010 3:01 PM   Subscribe

How did the World Wide Web look before this Internet boom,(1) before it became a riot for star backgrounds, bouncing envelopes and under construction signs?(2) Before web design, there was Prof. Dr. Style.

Notes:
(1) Here are some Web Design Trends of 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 (another), according to web design magazines.

(2) Try Drachenglut, Star Murals, Mr. Bui Quoc Quan or Accept Jesus, read A Vernacular Web 1 and A Vernacular Web 2

Olia Lialina Previously on Metafilter
posted by Potomac Avenue (43 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice. I know exactly the style.
posted by Artw at 3:06 PM on August 10, 2010


This comment requires Netscape Navigator 3.0 or higher to read properly.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:16 PM on August 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyone remember that parody site from 1997 or so, it was called buttugly or something along those lines. I wonder if it is still around.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:16 PM on August 10, 2010


Still, if not retro, how to describe these pages? Prof. Dr. pages have their distinct appearance: primitive and all the same. And that makes them historically significant.

Primitivity tells us the story of the browser being not only a browser, but also an editor. Every user of the early web was a producer of web content. Web pages were to be opened in the browser to look at them, but also to edit them, using existing pages as templates for new pages. The simple design of HTML made it possible for the first users to create state of the art pages with only four to five principal tags. The result was an extremely fast growing web. There were not many options, this is why we got many pages.


I reminded there a little of Wikipedia and other wikis. Of course, wikis are getting terribly over complicated these days.
posted by Artw at 3:18 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember going through and digesting and using most of David Siegel's recommendations in his great book (now horribly outdated, probably) Creating Killer Web Sites.

Full of great advice from the days when nearly everyone was on dial-up, so good web design focussed equally on quality final appearance AND download times.
posted by hippybear at 3:21 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love that the Accept Jesus page has a "Visit us in Second Life" link.
posted by Splunge at 3:22 PM on August 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Creating Killer Web Sites was at one point my bible for site development, and yeah, it's horribly outdated these days, and in fact probably reviled as it was a lot of peoples introduction to techniques like combining tables and spacer gifs for layout (boo! hiss!)... the Prof. Dr. sites are actually closer to the ideal for modern mark-up.
posted by Artw at 3:23 PM on August 10, 2010


Remember back when the web presented only information without any design?
posted by blue_beetle at 3:24 PM on August 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heh. The beige paper-textured backgrounds, 3D blob bulletpoints and rainbow horizontal lines further down the page give me a real nostalgia hit... that was the web when I forst encountered it.
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and then the advent of chunky bordered tables... man, this article is great.
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on August 10, 2010


We had to read too much Jakob Nielson for my first degree and now can't read pages of text only without twitching and thinking it needs more blinking pictures of naked ladies advertising discreet rendezvous. Rendezvouses. Rendevousii.
posted by shinybaum at 3:30 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


gopher
posted by HuronBob at 3:33 PM on August 10, 2010


I'm trying to remember if one of my sites was in Creating Killer Web Sites. Hm.
posted by maxwelton at 3:33 PM on August 10, 2010


For some reason after reading that the later "top web design trends" links just seemed so vacious and empty to the point where I was irrationally angry at them for a second or two.
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on August 10, 2010


/wanders off to make a CD-Rom in Hypercard...
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on August 10, 2010


All I know is I feel a twinge of nostalgia for mid-'90s "design" and yet, at the same time, say GOOD RIDDANCE. I can't wait for the day when I have the same feeling about the web of this generation. What will things look (and behave) like a decade from now?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:39 PM on August 10, 2010


I'm fascinated by the existence of a book called "The Whole Internet".

Metafilter itself nowadays would probably fill a good encyclopedia collection, I suppose. Only 20 payments of $29.99!
posted by Askiba at 3:39 PM on August 10, 2010


The spinning email images get me. I think I had one of those on my Geocities Privateer 2 page.
posted by SirOmega at 3:40 PM on August 10, 2010


This is great. Thank you.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 3:45 PM on August 10, 2010


I'd like to see a gallery of the worst late '90s/early 2000s websites, back when people were going crazy with Flash and other pointless bells and whistles. I have this random memory of Atom Egoyan's site, which included a 30-second movie you had to sit through before you even got to it and tons of distracting animation which screamed "LOOK AT HOW MUCH I PAID MY DESIGNER!!!!" Meanwhile, finding anything was next to impossible.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:47 PM on August 10, 2010


Holy shit, it's still like that!
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:50 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remember back when the web presented only information without any design?

There was always design, however minimal. Presentation cannot happen without design, don't you think?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:00 PM on August 10, 2010


Anyone remember that parody site from 1997 or so, it was called buttugly or something along those lines. I wonder if it is still around.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:16 PM on August 10 [+] [!]


http://budugllydesign.com/ (warning: may contain MIDI sounds)
posted by Lanark at 4:08 PM on August 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's a (warning--self-link) page with a tilde url that hasn't changed since the early 90s:
http://www.panix.com/~jsb/
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:10 PM on August 10, 2010


I loved this. And his incidental pointer to some particular Prof.Drs who appear to have minimised time spent making their web pages look beautiful over the last 18 years - so as to have time to pick up a Nobel prize in what they are actually good at.
posted by rongorongo at 4:11 PM on August 10, 2010


Thank God for Web 2.0.
posted by Splunge at 4:34 PM on August 10, 2010


HTML5 is the new Web 2.0
posted by Artw at 4:38 PM on August 10, 2010


One of the pages is by a self-identified "curator" and I thought "more like Prof. Dr. Poseur!" but then I realized the owner of the page really is a curator, so the page went back to being quaint again.
posted by mph at 4:44 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Askiba: "I'm fascinated by the existence of a book called "The Whole Internet"."

From the reviews: "'Great, but slightly out of date,' December 12, 1997"
posted by brundlefly at 5:00 PM on August 10, 2010




Askiba: "I'm fascinated by the existence of a book called "The Whole Internet"."

From the reviews: "'Great, but slightly out of date,' December 12, 1997"
posted by brundlefly at 5:00 PM on August 10 [+] [!]


Maybe by now it is ahead of its time. Stopped clock is right twice a day.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:01 PM on August 10, 2010


fascinating. great post!
posted by Kwine at 5:09 PM on August 10, 2010


I remember, it was a slightly-overcast day way back in 1997 when GaboCorp changed the world.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:34 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fascinating. I just read through the entire thing. I'm dizzy now... I don't know what that means, exactly.
posted by brenton at 5:38 PM on August 10, 2010


buttugly or something along those lines

Biff's Awesome Web Page no longer seems to be around, but it was a showcase of What Not to Do in its time. Leopard print background, blinking text, text that ran off the edge of the largest screen, non sequitur pictures, it had everything.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 5:53 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Remember that time xkcd imitated Geocities?
posted by schmod at 6:03 PM on August 10, 2010


There's still a bunch of mid-1990s style message boards out there. Do a Google search for wwwboard, and you'll find plenty of them.
posted by elmwood at 11:25 PM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The original goal of the World Wide Web was to be able to distribute information as easily as possible. Just like a magazine with a dreadful layout, when a website has too much gingerbread surrounding and invading the content, it's distracting and mostly absent of any of the WWW's original intentions.

I've had a blog since 2003, and in that time, despite all of the options for dancing baloney that exist, I rarely link to video, and maybe once or twice a month, I'll post an image. Otherwise there's very few images on my main template.

So far I've never had anybody ask me to jazz things up.

(Although there was this one April Fool's Day I did go ahead and make a crawly teal and red header on a yellow and black checked background... people were typing in all caps in the comments section within the hour the alteration was posted...)
posted by Bindyree at 1:56 AM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm... I thought this post was going to be about some rouge web designer calling himself "Professor doctor style". Which, frankly, is a baddas name.
posted by delmoi at 4:29 AM on August 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Askiba: I'm fascinated by the existence of a book called "The Whole Internet".

I own an early edition of that book, purchased in about 1994. If I remember correctly, it was bought at a mall computer shop, where the guy tried to convince me to spend $250 on their 'on sale' CDROM drives. I said I'll wait until they get down under $100, and he scoffed at the thought they'd ever drop in price that much.

There was also a book around that time which was, essentially, a 'phone book' of email addresses scraped from Usenet. I believe, since they were largely university users, it was intended as an educational resource -- and I was very amused to find myself in there. Imagine that: a book which had the email addresses of everybody on the internet. At the time it was a specious claim, but now it'd be downright laughable.
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:40 AM on August 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


How fresh are these guys?
posted by snofoam at 6:04 AM on August 11, 2010


Wow, I'm all nostalgic now. I remember making my first "homepage", under a tilde URL, and being proud that my added .gif image was viewable in Mosaic. Sniff.

Although I still refer to #FFFFEE as Netscape yellow. (Shudder)
posted by travertina at 8:15 AM on August 11, 2010


Oh man this is making me tear up a little.

First web project: a procedures manual in November-December of 1993. And I was so so conscientious about never imposing any kind of presentation on anythingr.

Finally right after New Year's 1994 I thought maybe it was time to check out Mosaic and that graphical stuff people were talking about.
posted by tangerine at 10:44 AM on August 11, 2010


Askiba, I keep my "The Whole Internet" book on the top of my bookshelf. It has my notes of when (FTP, mostly) sites would finally stop working.

Heck, I remember SLIP from world.std.com when I lived in Boston in like 1995, when I'd gotten so far beyond grey web pages. (They were now white!)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:56 PM on August 11, 2010


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