Ancient Websites

As a web designer, I have seen many websites in my time and have been asked to create many different types. There is certainly an art to it – trends need to be stayed on top of, modern clean websites are always a winner, presentation is key and professional photography generally sells the completed website. But with all this in mind, there are often websites that are built with no regard for aesthetics or any sense of style. Most of the time, even a simple website can provide the basics – information, products/services, point of contact – without being too hard on the eye. But on rare occasions there are some websites where you have to question… what were they thinking?

Older websites, specifically those which were born around the time that the world wide web became mainstream and a feature in every common home, are a great example of this. There was a time where GIFs were the coolest thing ever (they moved!!) and black backgrounds were moody and mysterious. Font variety and selection was virtually non existent, and the graphics were worse than bad. We can appreciate them for their nostalgia, but also warn against anyone using any of these old web design tropes in the modern day.

Check out these old websites and look into the past for what was great then, and not so great now.

You haven’t seen anything like this before. It is clear as a company they sell different unusual vehicles, and perhaps to reflect this they were trying to be quirky. In the 90’s, this amount of collaged images would be totally acceptable, rad even. In the modern day however, this amount of images is headache inducing. The rest of their website pans out pretty much the same, with the comical addition of blue and red text clashing together. A fantastic relic from days gone by, but far too many images for anything that should be on the web by today’s standards.

You can’t imagine how wrong this website is on every level, until you have seen it in action. It’s enough to induce a seizure. I mentioned GIFs earlier, and how they seemed to be all over the popularization of the web. Here – you have a stark black background with a million tiny rotating orbs, which serve nothing more than to show off the idea of ‘maths visualisation’ – whatever this has to do with graphs beats me. There are a staggering 12 GIFs on this homepage alone. I had not bothered to go deeper into the site as I value my mental health. At least they had bothered to add a white space behind the lettering so I could read the damn words. Oh how far we have come.

This website proudly proclaims that Ling is from Dragons Den. Somehow I can’t see him ever getting any investment from them. Either they’re being incredibly clever and turning on the zaniness to get attention, or just plain over the top. I can’t make my mind up if this is genius or ridiculous. Either way, it is a mess. It has some amazing PNG GIFs featured, but far too many of them. I would find it hard to navigate to the information that I want. This website is technically cheating, as I wouldn’t call it ancient, but it certainly needed an honourble mention. Check it out for yourself, and don’t forget to wear your sunglasses.

It’s very touching to see a website left in it’s original state since 1996. This particular site was used to advertise a film from the 90’s using live action mixed with 2D animation. It’s a shame that the website couldn’t convey this at all! The black starry background and html driven clickable images would have been all the rage in the mid 90’s, and it is plain as day to see how far we have evolved in 20 years. The text on the pages has not been put against a lighter background for contrast, and instead is barely legible against the black background.