Happy 25th Birthday WWW!

In December of 1990, Tim Berners-Lee had everything he needed to get the World Wide Web off the ground: a browser/editor, a web server, and a couple of web pages (it would be another 3 years before most of us were introduced to our first web browser).

I first started working on web sites in 1994 when the web as most of us know it was only a year old. Back then, I was mainly fixing and maintaining existing sites (including writing and fixing vbscript, perl and javascript — though the latter was a dirty word then and the former is a dirty word now). It wasn’t until 1996 that I first built a site from scratch.

Since 1996 I have built over 190 websites. Many have been of my own design; sometimes I’ve had the good fortune to work with very talented  graphic designers; sometimes I’ve had to adhere to the adage, “the customer is always right” and create a ghastly concoction that only a technophobe could love. I’ve had perfectly lovely sites get shredded by their owners’ demands for blinking text, just one more ad, 65 calls to action on one page, and long-stemmed roses repeated infinitely throughout the background. The things we do for money.

I have withheld work from my portfolio. There, I said it. I have been so ashamed of designs that I have not wanted to associate them with my name. Sadly, I never even kept screenshots of the worst of them (for real).

In honor of the 25th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s web tool-kit (okay, so it wasn’t that momentous as most of us couldn’t use the web yet), I am going to share all the dead designs I still have: the good, the bad and the offensive.

For the most part, the sites that follow were actual live sites at one time — a few still exist, though happily redesigned (some by me; some by someone else). A few of them never made it to a live web server.

Many of the businesses represented below no longer exist. Some have evolved into other businesses, some flopped despite their owners’ best efforts, some were dreams interrupted by reality, some owners are no longer on this plane, there’s even a felon in the mix (but we’re not going to play “Spot the Felon”)! I could tell stories, but I’m not one to code and tell.

Please sit back and enjoy, and don’t judge too harshly — remember, this a trip down memory lane!

The Ancient WWW

MentalFloss found 17 ancient websites that are still live. Check them out.

But wait, there’s more