By the time HTML5 was widely adopted in browsers years later, Flash had had its day. And so it walked off into the sunset, its work complete, with the ending theme from the 1970’s Incredible Hulk TV show playing harmoniously in the background.
16) Home pages
Typically, the term “homepage” usually refers to the first page of a website. It’s where users first land when visiting and it’s where they return to reorient themselves if they get lost.
On the old internet, the term “homepage” was more often seen as a literal home away from home. As when the new world was discovered, many flocked to these new digital lands to carve out a piece of it for themselves. “Welcome, this is my corner of the internet” was often seen on home pages, and the content within would stay true to that notion.
Today, it’s possible that the same human need which lead to homepages is being fulfilled by social media. You could say we’ve gone from building our own corner of the web, to squatting on somebody else’s.
Following on from the homepage concept explored in the previous relic, the guestbook was for kindly visitors who journeyed to your corner of the internet, and wanted to leave a nice (or not so nice) message for you — their digital host.
No one respected a webmaster with an empty guestbook, and I can now freely admit, many years later, that I may have faked some entries in my own guestbook to remain popular with my peers. Times were tough.
This is one example of a relic which has no obvious modern day equivalent. Sure, you can comment on news posts and say “Love your website, very nice colour choices!”, but that would feel a bit off topic, no?
18) Message boards
Message boards aren’t a true relic of the old internet. They’re still around, albeit in an endangered species kind of way. You used to find that every fan site had a message board, and many of those had active communities with hundreds of posts per day. Today, only the strong have survived.
Like with so many other relics, it’s possible that people’s need for these types of communities is now being fulfilled by social media. Though let’s be honest, Twitter and Facebook can’t hold a candle to the Ezboards, Proboards, Invision boards, and the vBulletin boards of the day.
19) Hit counters
One regular element of early websites was the hit counter — essentially a way of sharing (or bragging) how many “hits” your website had received. Most were page view oriented. In theory, that made them very easy to “game” by refreshing the page over and over. Not that I’m sure that ever happened. Not ever.
These generally disappeared over time with the decline of the homepage era. Websites became more and more the realm of businesses, rather than about individuals and their corners of the web.
Today, the number of people visiting a website isn’t typically broadcast on the website itself. It’s a secret kept between you, Google Analytics, Google Adwords, any other miscellaneous Google services, the 3rd party services you’ve connected with Google Analytics, and then the shady hidden services which connect with Google Analytics that you know nothing about (maybe).
20) Early Internet Explorer
Many years ago, when the internet was starting to become increasingly mainstream, there was a browser called Netscape Navigator. This browser reigned supreme and was the most widely used web browser of them all, until Microsoft released its own web browser called Internet Explorer, which it eventually integrated into Windows. This was the beginning of the end for Netscape, and soon Internet Explorer claimed the majority of browser share and that was that.
From here on out, with most people using Internet Explorer, developers didn’t have to worry about how their websites looked in competing browsers. That sounds great in theory, but because Internet Explorer was left unchallenged for so long, the advancement of browser technology stagnated. It wasn’t until Firefox and Chrome gained significant market share years later that the advancement picked up again, which we can all be thankful for.
Have an early web design relic of your own? Share it in the guestbo… comments below.
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