As Cazarin Interactive celebrates our 16 years on the web, we’ve decided to take a fond look back at 1998 and revel in the beauty that was pre-2k internet culture. So get out your pukka shells and your Sugar Ray cassettes because we’re winding back the web.
1. The Flash Intro Page
It was never enough to just have a site of valuable content. Web design is about showmanship! What better way to prep someone for the earth-shattering experience that is your site than a three minute flash introduction to encapsulate everything you’re about.
2. Cursor Trails
Nothing was more mystifying than suddenly being in command of Haley’s comet as its splendor streaked across your CRT monitor. We might see this trend come back again in another 76 years.
3. Dial Up Woes
The first public internet service pitted generations against one another and risked tearing families apart at the seams. The joyous and wistful browsing of youth, cut short by an urgent phone call to Aunt Edna in Tallahassee.
4. Logging on
At this very moment there are schools full of children that have never heard the infamous sound of a dialing modem. They’ll never understand the rush of sitting with baited breath as a small yellow man dashes across their screen and into the world wide wonderland.
5. 800 x 600 Resolution
Let’s be honest, when’s the last time you even saw a pixel? Whole websites from ’98 are pretty much the size of a retina app icon. Bet Oregon Trail would look great on 4k tv though.
6. Mobile Computing
Prior to the miracles of 4G LTE mobile broadband, the only web in people’s pockets was The Amazing Spider Man for Game Boy Color, and the vastly forward-thinking device that was the Nokia 9000.
7. Chat Rooms
The ubiquitous venue for correspondence in the nascent web. These fertile breeding grounds birthed the vocabulary at the very heart of the internet. Otherwise known as the acronym renaissance. LOL.
8. Framed Sites
The evolution of html wasn’t a perfect progression. There were more than a few awkward moments along the way. Case in point, framing. If you wanted design elements to be fixed in place like logos and headers, this was how it was done.
9. The Trial Disc
Thanks to the aggressive marketers at America Online, nobody with a valid mailing address needed to buy a coaster or frisbee for an entire decade.
10. The JPEG Site
There was a time when the highest aspirations of web design could be achieved with a few hyperlinks thrown in for good measure.
11. Gel Buttons
Sometime in late 2002, the world came together and decided the web needed to be more squishy. We all grew tired of right angles and solid colors. Seemingly overnight, every corner was rounded, and every button was an advil gel capsule. Enter Web 2.0, a jagged little pill for all designers to swallow.
The first great land grab in the colonization of the web, Geocities was the real estate populated by our digital frontiersmen and women. At their peak, Geocities had 29 neighborhoods for all their homesteaders to congregate. Cheers for taking the concept of the web address super literally and running with it all the way. Too bad they were all foreclosed on in 2009.
13. Blue Links
Not long ago the blue underline was the road sign on the information superhighway. Without those beautiful indicators pointing the way for us all, there would be a lot of annoyed wives telling their husbands to pull over and Ask Jeeves for directions.
14. Embedded Midi Tracks
Nothing let the world know they were dealing with a true digital maverick than their site loading with Dave Matthews blasting in full 8-bit glory.
15. Hit Counters
Before Google Analytics gave everyone the hyper-neurotic satisfaction of tracking a user’s every movement, the hit counter was the greatest tool for digital self-validation.
16. The Skeptics
Its easy to forget this web of ours wasn’t always so embraced. There were plenty of haters out there. Robert Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, in InfoWorld magazine, December 1995, claimed that the whole internet would grow too fast and totally implode by ’96. Still waiting on that one.