8 Awful Web Design Trends from the 90’s We’ll Never Miss

by | Jan 29, 2015

Learning the basics of web design and how to “code” at such a young age in the 90’s was a fun an exciting experience for the obsessed nerdy pre-teen I used to be. For me, coding was cathartic because it was unique and different from what my friends found interesting or popular. I wasn’t phased a bit that none of my friends knew what HTML was or why 15 years later, it would still be a rewarding pastime and now, a lucrative career.

However, much has changed and evolved over the years in web design. So much so that it can seem laughable at times. Here’s to a chuckle down memory lane.

1. Table Layouts

It’s almost unthinkable how we ever got by with using tables as our primary layout structure. It’s too bad email design is still stuck in the dark ages with tables. Maybe someday, eh?

angelfire2. Angelfire and Geocities Hosting

If you weren’t part of the in-crowd you probably never heard of these popular hosting sites in the 90’s. We’ll forgive you if you haven’t. Angelfire still lives on, but Geocities is now owned by Yahoo and no longer available in the US. We will remember those good ‘ole days.

3. Guestbooks

Don’t forget to sign my guestbook! AKA my forum disguised as a contact page, with everyone’s comments broadcast for all the world to see. Certainly, no privacy here. XOXO – you’re super creepy internet stalker

animated-counter-image-00034. Counters

It beats me why counters ever went out of style. Shouldn’t everyone want to know how many visitors your website has had? Please, do remember to dress it up with some monkey flair…(?)

5. Marquees

The 90’s horror of ticker-like marquees are simply delightful in retrospect. Who wouldn’t want to distract and confuse their users at the very same time with unreadably fast moving text? Hex #F00 and Times New Roman font, NOT optional.

6. “Partners in Crime”

This terminology was perhaps a micro-trend familiar only to my little niche of the web, but should justifiably be considered the original back-linking. PIC, for short, was a dedicated spot on your site where you listed a link to your friends, associates and random web acquaintances in return for your own link on their page.

7. Themes

Themes had a slightly different meaning in the 90’s. Websites were often dubbed 2.0 and other such non-sensical jibber jabber that really had no meaning whatsoever. Theme version Britney Spears v 7.2 anyone?

8. Animated Sparkle Backgrounds

What website would be complete without a beautiful animated GIF background to add some razzle dazzle? Even though GIFs have become popular again recently in web design, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen the GIFs of the 90’s. And you’re welcome.

Did I miss one of your favorite (or not-so-favorite) web design trends of the 90’s? Leave a comment below. Is your website still stuck in the 90’s? Talk to K Design Co. for a web design overhaul.

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Kristin Pruis

Brand Strategist & Design Consultant

I specialize in helping entrepreneurs and business owners bring their passions and dreams to life through branding strategy and design. While I have vast experience working with companies, agencies and organizations of all sizes, I especially enjoy working with female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses. It’s my privilege to work alongside business owners as they launch, grow and maintain their business’ brands. I’d love to have the opportunity to help you with your needs as well whether that be branding, logo design, web design or something else. Let’s chat!

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  1. Katherine Tattersfield

    What, no AutoPlay music/video? I still have nightmares about gif backgrounds.

    • Kristin Pruis

      Great suggestion, Katherine! Very reminiscent of the “Myspace era”

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