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I accomplished something this week: finally got to a new years resolution to make my spacefem.com homepage mobile-friendly. It was a struggle, friends. I wanted to keep it simple but the world seemed... not simple. I wondered if I should go to wordpress or install some other huge CMS. I found all these templates with "installation instructions".

Finally I found this tutorial by Mat Helme: Create an Absolute Basic Mobile CSS Responsive Navigation Menu

It involved abandoning my very long held menu > submenu navigation. but a very high percentage of my visitors now come directly to sub pages through links and searches - it's rare to start out at the homepage. and if there's any confusion there's a search box on top of the page. so I made it work, and here it is today:

2015.png

but just for fun I stepped back in time a bit, with the help of archive.org, to simpler times. When there was only HTML. Yes that time existed for me, because I started this page on geocities in 1999. There's not much of the old geocities stuff... it was in the wellesley neighborhood, I had a starry background and was making lots of my own images but I was against themes because, well, geocities!

1999.jpg

then in 2001 I got my own domain name... sadly it was not spacefem.com, someone had taken it, but a year later they did nothing with it and let me buy it back which when I think of it was a very odd and lucky turn of events:

2001.png

by 2002 I was at my own domain, and a cool "every other row" background:

2002.jpg

and then I redesigned every few years. I have to say I totally love this 2004 kinda retro line art thing. And it's the first year that the forum with all its members started being the driving force of the website instead of just me. And do you love the dedicated space for 88x31 buttons?

2003.jpg

I had this 2007 design for a pretty long time. I liked the semitransparent boxes:

2007.jpg

but it wasn't shiny enough, so 2008 I had more fun:

2008.jpg

then in 2012 there were these columns, and started adding more social media links out:

2012.jpg

I redesigned in the middle of 2014 to get more of a stripped down look with the "card" layout that's trending, and added a manifesto at the top that's an ode to homepages:

2014.jpg

Looking at these I actually worry that the internet is all trending to boring... neutral backgrounds, no color.

There's this scene in the movie "Night At The Museum", made in 2006, where the main character goes to do "internet research" and all these pages look totally unique, charming and different. The page about the grand canyon is rocky brown and rustic looking, a page about a castle has buttons and a header that look like stone. People started from scratch and designed whatever they wanted. Sometimes it was awkward or ugly but it was diverse and definitely unbranded... like an old protest march where everyone's signs were hand painted.

I miss that internet. I think 2005 or so was our peak, it's all downhill from here.

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
pineapple_sour
Aug. 7th, 2015 01:30 pm (UTC)
Nice walk through the internet past! 2004/2007 are my favs, I think.
astrogeek01
Aug. 7th, 2015 02:29 pm (UTC)
I kind of miss the 2012 planet, to be honest. And more color.

It's fun to see the stuff that existed before I arrived on the forum. :D 2001 fonts!
kbuggle
Aug. 8th, 2015 07:32 am (UTC)
Haha, one of my post is on one of those screenshots! Crazy!
jume
Aug. 8th, 2015 06:25 pm (UTC)
I could never understand how 88x31 came to be chosen. It boggles the mind.

internet communities seem to be best when they're driven by a cult of personality. That personality attracts the new life, usually due to something that they do outside of the community/forum/etc, and then inevitably, they no longer have time, or interest, and it turns into a semi-democratic type of situation with its own lifeforce. But it's different after that point.

I don't think I ever used the spacefem boards back then, so I'm not saying this specifically about your site and you backing off from it, but I've seen it happen in so many communities I've been a part of. It truly seems inevitable.

Edited at 2015-08-08 06:25 pm (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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