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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?

9:54 pm on Mar 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hit counters.

We actually had someone ask about having a hit counter recently. It's been YEARS since anyone's asked about that. Felt like I was in a time warp.

10:53 pm on Mar 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Under construction road signs with the animated workmen.

Or huge Flash animations that blink "Loading". (It's Flash, you could've done something some much cooler than make it blink.)

Anything with a gradient is '90s, it's like MD 20/20 for the designer. Something to fall back on when your on the skids.

pvh

10:56 pm on Mar 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Ones pertinent to this board (Site Graphics and Multimedia Design) include

- the swoosh logo and its variants (50cups.com/swoosh/ , www.thestreet.com/tech/internet/986150.html , www.splorp.com/critique/)
- splash pages
- background music
- Best Viewed With
- click here [example.net]
- This site named Joe's Site of the X!

Of course, in a few years we'll be telling stories about today: Why back in aught four, there was Verdana far as the eye could see! Couldn't hover over a soft beveled Permalink without gettin' a semitransparent grayed Verdana tooltip, yessir.

11:32 pm on Mar 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What I hate most: graphical effect with nested table borders!
12:21 am on Mar 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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- Inverted-L shaped frames
- 800px wide pages that display on the left side of the screen in higher resolutions.
- text that expands to full width making the lines too long and difficult to read.
- banners
- anything that flashes
- more banners
- a photo of the site owner
- a photo of the site owner's wife, children, friends, dog, cat, house, boat, or bicycle.
- sites that made their name selling one product and have expanded into others - badly. Who wants to buy underwear at a bookshop?
- "Golden boxes"

As to drop downs, I think I'm the guilty party who sneered at them. Not in that thread, but in:

[webmasterworld.com...]

... they have gone out of fashion. In 2004 a drop down has to be stylistically exceptional, or else (IMHO) it looks clunky.

I think I upset the guy who was asking advice on how to create them. :)

But probably in a couple of years time (or less?) someone will be sneering at my site because it has left-side navbars...

7:00 am on Mar 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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- smileys
- rotating 3D text
- clipart on every page
- cheap midi music
2:14 pm on Mar 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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javascript dropdown navigation, css is very now.

the dreamweaver netscape 4 resize layer function at the top of the markup. netscape 4 is dead thank god.

gratuitous use of iframes and IE scrollbar css

tiny text in tight pixel pushed fixed width layouts (2advanced springs to mind)

nested tables

flash intros with lots of thin lines moving all over the place

-------

i think in 5 years time people will look back at the last couple of years and say "another site with multiple stylesheets, seen it, boring"

2:20 pm on Mar 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Swap images.

TJ

5:32 pm on Mar 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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annoying animated banners and so forth.
6:00 pm on Mar 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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..:: M Y S I T E N A M E H E R E ::..

&

IE.

7:10 pm on Mar 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

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- smileys

I love smileys! :)

9:14 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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All excellent responses!

Seems like you can break all these down into a few categories like...

Cheesy/small/(hopefully early '90s) sites

  • Hit counters
  • Under construction road signs with the animated workmen
  • a photo of the site owner
  • a photo of the site owner's wife, children, friends, dog, cat, house, boat, or bicycle
  • clipart on every page
  • Best Viewed With
  • click here [webmasterworld.com]
  • This site named Joe's Site of the X
  • Inverted-L shaped frames
  • cheap midi music
  • anything that flashes

    Those who have the technology and think they might as well use it - badly

  • huge Flash animations that blink "Loading"
  • splash pages
  • rotating 3D text
  • flash intros with lots of thin lines moving all over the place
  • background music
  • annoying animated banners

    Just bad design

  • the swoosh logo and its variants
  • graphical effect with nested table borders
  • nested tables
  • 800px wide pages that display on the left side of the screen in higher resolutions
  • text that expands to full width making the lines too long and difficult to read
  • the dreamweaver netscape 4 resize layer function
  • tiny text in tight pixel pushed fixed width layouts
  • gratuitous use of iframes
  • gratuitous use of IE scrollbar css
  • Swap images
  • Anything with a gradient
  • smileys

    Miscellaneous

  • banners
  • "Golden boxes"
  • sites that made their name selling one product and have expanded into others - badly. Who wants to buy underwear at a bookshop?

    Choster: I loved the swoosh logo links - now I am seeing them everywhere (okay, I resisted using a smiley here this time).

    Seems like it's tough to say "less is more" as in less annoying flashy stuff = more professional appearance, without appearing to be trying to do less through lack of knowledge.

  • 9:17 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Water effects - you know, the plethora of different Java applets that were running around that gave the effect of reflections in a pond and such.

    WBF

    9:21 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    So, how did the change came around? What triggered it?
    9:22 pm on Mar 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    a photo of the site owner

    Meant to ask this earlier when it was first mentioned... what's the problem with a photo of the site owner?

    For most businesses, step #1 to success is gaining the customer's trust -- that's especially true in the service industry. A photo of the business owner can be an invaluable element in gaining trust. Is the person professional? Does the business owner look responsible and trustworthy? I'm thinking lawyers, real estate agents, etc. -- these are people who stand to benefit from having their photo included in the web site. Doesn't seem very "90s" to me.....

    2:05 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    a photo of the site owner

    I think I raised that. Perhaps I should have said a gratuitous photo of the owner. The sort of site I had in mind is an information site which doubles as a personal page, where logically they should be seperate. I had one specifically in mind which contains a great deal of very useful specialized information, and I have bookmarked it for future use. But it also contains photos of the owner's wedding, friends, relatives, latest trip abroad, etc. I expect the first baby soon.

    Hopefully the urge to plaster your mug all over the internet is a dying trend. But obviously there is nothing wrong with a photo in the right place, such as an academic cv.

    2:59 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    colorful tiled background images with the text almost matching the bg
    3:55 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Okay, I've been on the web since 1994 but I have no idea what "golden boxes" refers to. Can anyone enlighten me?
    8:51 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Another couple that should be mentioned:

    The BLINK and MARQUEE tags, say no more.

    Also excessive use of Kai's Power Tools to create textured bevelled shapes to be used as buttons, bullets etc. I've seen this referred to as "High on Kai" on another site about bad design.

    9:05 am on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Oh i forgot, also:

    The IE transition effects

    Black backgrounds with primary colored text

    Centered Text - like all of it on everypage, no layout just lots and lots of CENTER tags.

    3:00 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Having a place for the awards your site has won and all the guilds and complience logos. 1 maybe OK, but when there are 10 or more, ughh. Also the sentence that has every character a different color to make a rainbow. I have seen these lately cropping up at small mom and pop sites.
    3:49 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    I like this thread. With the dot-com bust of '01 (or was it "double ought?"), I think a lot of people have a mental connection with a "90's" looking site and the undelivered hyperbole of that time.

    Here are some 90's artifacts I still run into (I don't think they've been mentioned yet):

    - Over use of drop-shadows.

    - Entry pages. The ones that say click to enter. Often these have some type of flash intro, but not always. I already "entered" by clicking a link to visit your website.

    - "Optimized for [my favorite browser]."

    - Text as an image when normal text would do.

    - Any excessive use of bandwidth that does not contribute to the marketing purpose of the website. Branding is an important function of a website, so I don't mean there's no room for impressive images and layout. I just mean flash, audio, and large images that aren't needed.

    - Really bad color arrangements. Like they were done with a gray-scale monitor by a color-blind rabbit.

    - Animated email icons.

    When people look for products or information, they want to get it from sites that are up to date. Sites that look like they haven't been updated for years are going to put people on alert. If they think there is a good chance of finding a more up-to-date site, they'll likely start looking for it.

    That's not to say that a site needs to flaunt the latest technology. (As I said above, over-use of technology is to be avoided.) But staying away from some of the things listed in this thread will definitely help. Also, I don't think there's any thing wrong with amateurish or "mom-and-pop" looking websites. If you have a family run business, and that is part of your marketing appeal, then it fits. But an "amateur" site should not look like you just got your first copy of PhotoShop and a free copy of HotMetalPro (do they still sell that?). And of course, hiring a pro to make it look like a really well done amateur job would probably work best!

    As for banner ads, yeah, they came from the '90s, but so did the rest of the web. When a different means arrives to pay enthusiasts and experts for the time it takes to publish their knowledge on their own time, then banner ads (and others) can be dismissed.

    9:01 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Don't forget that god-awful
    <blink>
    tag
    9:16 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    I'm surprised the advocates of "ugly sells" haven't chimed in on this thread yet! I'm awful with names unfortunately, so I don't remember the nicknames, but there are a few advocates of "ugly" websites on this forum - so I guess that would mean 90s websites. And if they really do sell...
    9:20 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Netscape.

    BWHAHAHAHAHA!

    9:23 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    This is fun!

    What about the use of images to create a text style

    Makes for a massive download time and the user waiting for the stupid images to load so they can figure out where to click.

    9:23 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    Since we're talking design...Am I the only one who would like to see webmasterworld a little, uh, less drab? I don't mind having few images, but all this grey is just depressing...
    9:25 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    pssst - check your control panel, you can change the color scheme here very easily
    9:58 pm on Mar 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

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    keyword keyword keyword

    10,000 pages of blah blah text I'm important because I have 10,000 pages of blah blah text .
    blah blah blah
    I am the authority blah blah blah text (keyword)

    Really I am just feeding the search spiders nothing but text blah blah blah text because (keyword) se spiders are ignorant and I am dumbing down my website (keyword) which could be very very cool but I cant because search spiders are ignorant and get lost if you feed them anything but blah blah text .(insert travel keyword here)

    H1 Text /H1 blah blah blah B TEXT TEXT B/ blah blah I am important blah blah blah blah . all 10,000 pages are really drivel but the SE's sure do like it ..blah blah blah blah

    The internet(keyword) (keyword) is a very cool place everyone can read my blah blah blah

    I am important but will not place my photo or my wifes or pets Photo's (keyword link) because I know these 10,000 pages are really just drivel and dont care (keyword link)to have my face associated with them .. .here spider spider (keyword ) (Keyword )..blah blah balh blah into infinity

    keyword keyword keyword

    This 164 message thread spans 6 pages: 164