Showing all posts tagged: web design

Personal websites keep the internet fun and real

20 September 2023

The internet felt like an unexplored new frontier when I launched the first iteration of disassociated in 1997. New frontier may seem ornate, trite even, but it was an apt description.

We were feeling our way in the dark, and I’d say most of us were clueless as to what the internet could one day become (although without doubt some people had one or two ideas).

Certainly though today’s internet is worlds removed from that of twenty-five years ago, and being online sometimes feels more like a case of running to stand still.

But it’s not all bad, and at least we still have our personal websites. New York City based creative professional Rachel J. Kwon has put together a collection of blog posts and articles written by publishers of personal websites, who expound the positives of their web presences.

Long may personal websites be with us.


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Does the backwards compatibility of your website extend decades?

19 September 2023

I hate to think exactly how backwards compatible disassociated is. In the past I strived to work with web standards which ensured some uniformity of visual display, regardless of the web browser, or operating platform, being used to view the website. For the most part, but not quite always, disassociated generally worked as intended.

But in my cross-browser testing I really only used a small selection of better known, and recent release, browsers. I always hoped readers were mostly using these, while also keeping them reasonably up to date. As such, I’ve never given any thought as to how disassociated might present in legacy browsers. When I say lagacy, I’m talking apps that were available close to thirty years ago.

Netscape. Internet Explorer 1. Or Lynx, a browser that rendered websites as text only. While it turns out some of these ancient browsers are still available for download, I doubt few people would use them for regular web browsing. And that’s what my limited cross-browser testing regime is based on.

However, in a fascinating experiment, Anthony, a Sydney based software engineer, recently decided to see how far back in time he could take his website, using some of these legacy browsers:

Between pruning container divs and removing collapsed margins the thought occurred to me that my site —with its spartan design and low-tech philosophy— could have remained pretty much identical since the internet’s early days. This raised an interesting question: Exactly how far back in time could my site’s design have remained the same? How far in the past could this site’s current design have originated? 5 years? 10 years? more?

This all sounds like going down a veritable rabbit hole to me. If I saw a display problem with disassociated, on a browser virtually no one was using, I’d probably be tempted to fix the issue, knowing it might take hours to effect. Therefore I’d probably not attempt the exercise in the first place. And even though Anthony ran into a few rendering issues, some of which he found fixes for, overall his website held up well.


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GeoCities, in their gloriously bold colours by Cameron Askin

9 August 2022

For those who came in late, GeoCities was a little like Instagram. Sort. Of. Members signed up for an account, chose a “city” to inhabit based on the content they wished to post, and went about designing a personal website the best way they knew how.

Usually gratuitous quantities gif animations, and sometimes eye-watering combinations of bright (read: garish) colours adorned these websites. For good measure, music, in the form of tinny sounding MIDI files was also the go. And from 1994, until GeoCities was shuttered in 2009, we used to love to hate the GeoCities webpages. They were after all the antithesis of “real” website design, but now they’re gone, we miss them. Sort of maybe.

But Melbourne based web designer Cameron Askin has bought the essence of the old personal websites back to life at Cameron’s World. GeoCities websites may not have always been easy on the eye, but they sure as hell could not be called bland, something you can’t always say of today’s web.

In an age where we interact primarily with branded and marketed web content, Cameron’s World is a tribute to the lost days of unrefined self-expression on the Internet. This project recalls the visual aesthetics from an era when it was expected that personal spaces would always be under construction.