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So what is "so '90s" in Web design?

What are you tired of seeing?

   
9:32 pm on Mar 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've read threads on this site where people have said that's "so '90s" such as using drop-down menus ([webmasterworld.com ].

So what do people consider yesterday's news when it comes to general site design/look? Are you tired of seeing fish-eye pictures of people from above? If so, what else?

DXL

9:11 am on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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1. coding which creates a line of text to follow your mouse pointer and wave around as it moves (or a trail of sparks).

2. any designer who actually puts one of those award graphics on their site that was given out by someone who awards anyone (ex. a pic of a bee with text that reads "Jenny's BEE-autiful site award!")

3. awful MIDI songs that are totally unrelated to the site.

There's a wonderful spoof site about 90's web design:

[jgeoff.com...]

4:57 pm on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"This site is currently closed as we are re-designing it".

What is the point? Just wait until you're finished designing the new site and then replace the old one seamlessly. Very bad SEO too.

"Look! We get 1000 visitors per day! Aren't we great!"

And sites that quote the amount of 'hits' they get instead of unique sessions.

Sites designed using MS Word.

Sites that use javascript to tell you the time and date in a form text box.

Animated flags.

6:00 pm on Mar 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

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David Siegel
4:10 pm on Mar 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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* Guestbooks (not blogs, though those might be something we look down our noses at in the future.)

* Those annoying "ball bullets" -- graphics, often low-res GIFs of varying colors (signifying nothing) used instead of a bulleted list with CSS.

* Those free stats programs, while useful and serving a purpose, are most often found on sites whose stats you'd never care to look at (except perhaps for kicks, "HA! Only 1500 hits, total, last month!?)

* Things that haven't been tested (or maintained). Broken forms, broken Javascript, broken whatevers. Anything that stops or impedes my forward progress through a website.

* Sites that don't know how to resize graphics or do basic image editing. Over-saturated, poorly cropped, out of focus, etc. photos; JPEGs that should've been saved as GIFs.

4:55 pm on Mar 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Matt's Script Archive
11:23 pm on Mar 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The 'Amazon look'.
11:37 pm on Mar 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The Amazon look! Come on, you need to elaborate on that ...

Personally, I think that if more site operators understood *why* Amazon is like it is the web would be a better place.

11:45 pm on Mar 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

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"This site is currently closed as we are re-designing it".

What is the point? Just wait until you're finished designing the new site and then replace the old one seamlessly. Very bad SEO too.

There are times when this is the developer's only option. We've had clients who've requested their existing site be taken down altogether during development of a new site because either 1) it was so bad as to be embarrassing and hurting their business, and/or 2) it was filled with inaccurate and outdated information.

JPEGs that should've been saved as GIFs.

Did you mean to say "GIFs that should've been saved as JPGs"? That was a huge problem back in the day -- people saving scanned photos as GIFs when they should've been JPGs. Doesn't happen nearly as much anymore, thankfully!

1:33 am on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My less-than-two-cents-worth:

Practically the only thing that bothers me is sites that take forever (on my admittedly-and-not-going-to-change-anytime-before-I-die-slower-than-molasses-running-uphill-in-January-in-the-Arctic dial-up connection) to load, no matter what the reason for that slow load.

I don't care what a site I need something from looks like as long as it loads within a few seconds. I don't care what a site I need something from looks like as long as what I need from that site presents itself within no more than a couple of clicks.

Worrying about what's "so 90's" about a site is a fairly unproductive use of time I think....

3:50 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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* broken images linking to a windows hard drive.
4:30 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Not sure if someone metioned it but I think this one would have to be one of the worst!

People who have graphics with only text in it!

They could have easily just typed it and changed the color,font whatever in the html code. It burns me up to see this.

5:40 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Uhm... sites that just don't work without that totally 90's "www." in front of the domain
12:12 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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That's server side, not design side. Ok, if you're using a commercial host that doesn't allow for it, get a different host. But if you're using a client's web server, and they haven't set it up to handle addresses without the www, then its not good form to go "eww, that's SO 90s." Insulting the in-house techies is not a good way to win friends and influence people.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Client is king. We're just the mechanics/fabricators building what they want.

If it works, loads clean, is cross browser compatible, and delivers the message, its good design. This is marketing, not rocket science.

1:51 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Worrying about what's "so 90's" about a site is a fairly unproductive use of time I think....

Actually, no. When I was looking for a hosting company I rejected one that offered everything I wanted because of the dated look of its home page.

I don't mean that every site should try to look bang up to date, because some designs can be elegant and timeless. But a dated design sounds out the signal that the owner is not really on the ball. Who would hire a salesman who turned up for an interview wearing flairs?

2:08 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Er. HarryM, WHAT are "flairs"?

Regardless the answer to that, I have to say again that I obviously don't "see" sites the way others do. I noted earlier that if a site provides what I'm seeking - without taking an inordinate amount of time to load - that's really all I care about. I'm not primarily a "visual" person (hence my disdain for tv and movies), so "site design" doesn't grab me one way or the other as a bottom line.

When I "design", I work first from the standpoint of usability - incorporating standards-compliant code and trying to make it "tight" code; a decent "footprint" as regards load time; THEN "visuals". I'd be willing to bet that 90% of the surfing public who are LOOKING FOR A PARTICULAR ITEM OR SERVICE don't actually "see" a site - unless it's truly horrendous and then of course they leave posthaste!

There are a lot of people out there who spend a ton of time on the 'net just surfing. They aren't looking for anything in particular - they're just "looking" (attention-span deficit, anyone?) These are not the sort of folks I'm interested in by and large.... It's too bad that they seem to be the "stats" that others live by....

2:16 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Keeping things simply, clean and clear is important . . . of course, while keeping in mind of your target audiences-Looks matter without a doubt.
2:16 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Keeping things simply, clean and clear is important . . . of course, while keeping in mind of your target audiences-Looks matter without a doubt.
3:06 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My website in the 90's:

1995

  • Made in a text editor on Unix
  • Text on a grey background
  • Links to other sites
  • Image of the cartoon character "Speed Racer"
  • Stayed the same for 2 years

1997

  • Poorly conceived background made from photo of Slvester Stalone in Judge Dredd
  • Rubber Chicken shockwave flash file
  • wav file of Ash saying "groovy" when you open the page
  • Links to other sites

1998

  • First attempt at a unified theme for the site
  • Great honking image buttons for links
  • Frames
  • Black pages
  • Some of the content from this site is still used, but I have redesigned it.

Thanks.

12:38 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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grelmar:
> That's server side, not design side
> This is marketing, not rocket science.

I personally find that the URL and even such a thing as URL design is a very important part of overall marketing for a site and indeed a part of the disciplines of web design and web marketing.

The effect of the expression "www-dot-something-dot-com" relates to how real people speak to each other. On audible marketing channels such as TV or radio, you simply have to think about the pronounciation as well as the seconds it takes. The same goes for everyday life and promotion through word-of-mouth.

Now, if you market the brand "domain-dot-com" and that adress simply doesn't work, then how consistent is your marketing strategy? It's just like having the most wonderful POS displays and then the supermarket door is simply locked or moved to another place.

8:21 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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point taken.

Mostly, I work on stuff that's hosted on commercial servers, so its a non-issue (any commercial server worthy of charging a fee pretty much does this now).

As far as domain name-game goes, there are bigger issues than the www side of things. Getting the right name can be really tough, and explaining why its important to someone can be even tougher.

As far as this thread is concerned, I'll throw www dot jimbobcarlson dot com in as a bad 90s thing. Naming your domain after yourself is just lame. Realtors and Lawyers are big on this (kinda my client base), and I laugh inwardly whenever a grown man goes into a pout because hisname dot com is already taken.

As far as the "this is marketing, not rocket science" comment, that was more a general comment on designers who get far too into the "design" of their sites. I was in marketing for a decade before I started doing webs, and you'd be amazed at the high percentage of times that an award winning campaign was dropped and how quickly. Award winning designs are often bad marketing. If the consumer is so stunned and awed by the design, he tends to remember the design, and not what the design was supposed to sell. This is an age old truism of the marketing industry in general, and there are a huge number of violators out there on the web. As much as Zeldman is a guru of all things wonderfull on the web, I've seen some of his work, and, umm, he could do with a little less ego about his designs and a little more concern for getting the message his customers want across.

9:50 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Er. HarryM, WHAT are "flairs"?

Pants - I think - they are kind of like bell-bottoms. Think Herb Tarlek meets Saturday Night Fever.

Okay - I had a really ugly image - and it is safe to say that we are ALL lucky that the web did not exist in the 70s.

11:25 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Great thread. You've almost covered it all guys. I've got a couple more off the top of my head:

Annoying text that follows the mouse pointer

Meta Tag Refresh (it's still quite rampant and I hate it)

Using the browser to resize images (for two reasons, firstly it's a bandwidth hog and secondly IE uses 'nearest neighbour' resampling)

1:49 am on Mar 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Er. HarryM, WHAT are "flairs"?

Pants - I think - they are kind of like bell-bottoms. Think Herb Tarlek meets Saturday Night Fever.

Okay - I had a really ugly image - and it is safe to say that we are ALL lucky that the web did not exist in the 70s.

Um. Okay. I have a vague idea about Saturday Night Fever (tv show, right?), but who or what is Herb Tarlek? (Keep FIRMLY in mind that I don't do tv, movies, or "today's culture"....)

Bell bottoms I know - I wore them myself after I graduated from high school. Best pair of pants I ever owned: a professionally tailored pair like my then-husband's summer whites - with bells of course (he was in the Navy.... I bought a pair several sizes smaller than his at the PX, took them to the non-com who doubled as the tailor.... wish I still had them, though of course they'd be a couple of sizes too small now *sigh*)

12:29 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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'Email this page to a friend'
1:06 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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'Email this page to a friend'

I have to contend this one. The bbc site has this and I use it all the time to send amusing news stories to all my friends, without having to go into my email account.

7:58 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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evil text that follow the mouse pointer. I hate that. That's the fastest way you could scare me away from any site. Must agree with andymc12- Good job in bring this up. :)
8:15 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Stuff I hate, by DigitalV

----
(1) FLASH - I uninstalled Flash over a year ago and never looked back. Haven't missed it either. Most of all I hate the ones when you go to a site and have to watch a stupid intro.

(2) SPLASH PAGES - Like above, splash pages are lame. Just show me the freakin content already.

(3) POPUPS - I HATE the fact that I had to install extra software on my system to block stupid advertisements.

(4) DIFFERENT MOUSE CURSORS - What genius thought it would be a good idea to change my mouse cursor into [insert stupid mouse cursor they use]? Those sites go to the blocked list.

(5) SELF INSTALLING FONTS - Who's idea WAS this anyway? I like my fonts the way they are. So why is it I can go to a site and all of a sudden the pages look like they're written in an ancient Sumerian language? I *KNOW* I don't have that font on my system. If I wanted to learn Cuniform, I'd have become an Archaeologist, not a programmer.

(6) REDIRECTS TO UNRELATED CONTENT - I'm curious to know what percentage of the people who are looking for information about horses on the Internet are actually searching for pornography INVOLVING horses? Call me crazy, but I would guess it's a pretty small number ... so why do so many adult webmasters think when I search for horses, that crap is what I'm "really" looking for?

(7) SPAM - I don't need to rant about this one for very long... SPAM sucks. Spammers suck. We should round them all up in the cargo hold of a space shuttle, blast off, and open it.

(8) PORN SPAM - Even worse than regular spam is the INSANE amount of adult-oriented spam I receive. I've never signed up for an adult site. Why do I receive this crap? We should do the same thing to porn spammers as we do to regular spammers, except porn spammers should have to watch the regular spammers die first.

(9) "INSTANT EVERYTHING" - Let me clarify on this, because this is the number one annoyance the internet has brought to my life. I LIKE instant messaging ... I HATE that everyone EXPECTS you to answer. I guess this kinda goes for the phone too, maybe I'm just weird. If the phone rings and I don't care to talk to anyone, I don't answer it. When people ask how come I don't answer the phone, I tell them because I didn't feel like it ... am I the only person who thinks this way? Where is the law that says you HAVE to answer the phone when it rings? I'm not a puppy, I don't answer just because you called, I answer when I freakin feel like it.

Anyway ... same goes for IM's. The whole "24 hour availability" thing is annoying. In business, everyone wants 24 hour service now ... that's all thanks to the Internet. I miss the 9 to 5 days.

8:25 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Looks like digitalv could use some "quiet time"..

I agree with most of it, and oddly it's written JUST LIKE I say it when I rant about it..spooky.

8:25 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Don't you think the phone thing is off the topic digitalv... but i hear ya :)
8:39 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I brought up the phone thing because it wasn't like that before the Internet made everything "instant". Now it's a 24 hour world, and with so many communication options everyone EXPECTS instant.

I remember seeing this commedian on either Commedy Central or HBO once, can't remember his name. He was ranting about how everything in the future was going to be instant, except renewing your license at the DMV - that would take like 8 seconds and people would be screaming "8 SECONDS! COME ON THIS IS TAKING FOREVER!"

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