looking back to the early days of website design| A warning to anyone whose website is an internet relic.
The mid-late 1990s were the childhood sandbox of the internet, a time of great expectations for the future and arguable low standards for the present website design. It has been a long time since every PC was beige; came in 2 pieces and weighed the same as a small child.
Characteristics of the Ancient Website Design
When your friend says that your website looks like it came from 1997, do not take it as a compliment. Amateurish, meaningless, unprofessional, conceited, and unusable are all adjectives that describe how most websites were made almost 30 years ago.
The “Splash Page”
Splash just sounds gross|
Flash animated opening splash pages featuring a company’s animated logo, hardly ever communicated any useful information let alone provide any entertainment. These animations also took a long time to load and added little if any value to users. Ultimately these flash animated splash pages where more of a testimony to a business’s ego. While a noble attempt to promote a brand; this particular trait of older websites probably did more damage to a brand than it helped.
Today’s answer to the splash page is the landing page, Would you rather your prospects “land” or “Splash” onto your website. Content rich and focused pages that serve a purpose and are useful to its visitors. Simply telling users what the site or the page is all about.
Dialog, contrast and general website design issues
With no frame of reference for user interaction web designers had to rely on interactions they were familiar with. The verbiage used when visiting a website was tantamount to visiting someone’s home. It seemed like every single website began with the phrase “Welcome to our site”. Much of the dialog used seemed bossy as designers attempted to guide users on what to do and where to click, with little explanation. Text was poorly formatted and often inconsistent throughout the page. Combine this with high contrast colors; picture neon pink on black background, or dark blue on brick red. Need we say more?
Overly energetic pages:
“Someone get this kid some Ritalin”
Animated .gifs of something sliding, dancing, spinning or exploding, scrolling text that would move as fast as light or painfully slow; All this was an attempt to imitate the “T.V.” experience, in the days before streaming video. With the ability to embed videos or even host native videos, it is much easier to provide a positive and relevant experience for users. Animated CSS can still take advantage of using movement to get attention; but in a way that weaves into a sites design without looking cheesy.
Why were these early websites so bad?
Lack of Experience and Knowledge.
Few people knew how to build a good website back then. Before authorities started publishing their studies of web user behavior; there was no direction or reference for what made for a positive user experience. And there was little or no way track how users engaged with content.
Complexity and Time Commitment.
In those days, there wasn’t an abundance of software and templates that could produce a visually pleasing, easy-to-use website in a relatively short amount of time. Instead, you either hand-coded your site in a text-based program like Notepad or used FrontPage for website design.
Frivolousness Or “Shiny Object Syndrome”
If you have had the same look for your website since it was implemented, it is probably time to redesign it. Times change, and customer behavior and expectation do too. Do the work to implement changes to the areas of your website that need attention, so your users will have a better experience and be more likely to become customers. If you are not able to address the needs of your website on your own, we will be happy to work with you. This investment will be instrumental to the success of your business.