Flickr announced not long ago that they are limiting free accounts to 1,000 photos. I don’t particularly mind that (because it seems like sound business sense), although it is a bit sad that a ton of photos will be nuked from the internet. I imagine the Internet Archive will swoop in and get most of it. And oh hey, the Twitter account @FlickrJubilee is showcasing Flickr users that could really use a gifted pro account so their amazing photos are not lost, if you’re feeling generous and want to contribute.
This change doesn’t affect pro accounts. I’ve been pro forever on Flickr, so my photos were never at risk, but the big change has me thinking it’s about time to spin down Flickr for myself. I’ve been keeping all my photos on iCloud/Photos for years now anyway so it seems kind redundant to keep Flickr around.
I went into the Flickr settings and exported all my photos, got a bunch of gigabytes of exported photos, and loaded them into Photos. Sadly, the exported photos have zero metadata, so there will forever be this obnoxious chunk of thousands upon thousands of photos in my Photos collection that all look like they were taken on the same day and with no location.
Anyway, that was way too long of an intro to say: I found a bunch of old website screenshots! Not a ton, but it looks like I used Flickr to store a handful of web designs I found interesting in some way a number of years back. What’s interesting today is how dated they look when they were created not that long ago. Shows how fast things change.
Here they are.
It’s not terribly surprising to me to hear people push back on the same-ness of web design these days, and to blame things like frameworks, component-driven architecture, and design systems for it. It wasn’t long ago when it seemed like we were trying harder to be fancy and unique with our designs — things like shadow treatments, reflective images and skeuomorphic enhancements. I don’t mean to make sweeping generalizations here… merely a difference between what we considered to be boring and fancy work back than compared to now, of course.
2009 IS ancient history when it comes to the internet.
“Bobulate” seems fine. Less clutter wins in the long term?
I have to say, 2009 actually is absolutely ancient. It’s one third of the web’s lifetime ago, that’s pretty ridiculous.
Ever since I started following Tycho50/iso50 I always thought of his design to be pretty modern and fresh
With flexbox, css grid, and decent naming conventions all of these old designs can be easily made responsive. A new generation of lazy devs with an irrational fear of css and dozens of copy cat ego based frameworks, and hundreds of thousands of copycat themes all using bootstrap are why the web is so sterile these days.
The Playboy magazine one and the Katie Kirk one would still work today. I don’t perceive their design as dated at all .
I cannot help but agree with your closing paragraph. To me it seems like something has been lost during the journey to make sites responsive.
It looks like you can download the original files and metadata: https://ruk.ca/content/how-download-all-your-flickr-photos-and-metadata
Quite refreshing looking back at these, having worked in the industry to see the change. Makes a change to the overly bootstrapped/framework clinical look people/clients seem to want these days.
Some of these sites are still around, and a few haven’t updated in the past 10 years!
http://www.eighthourday.com/ (Katie Kirk)
It’s really surprising that of the ones I could find +50% are similar to the screenshots you took in ’09.
Another way to take this kind of time travelling journey is to go to the web design section of deviantart. I don’t think anyone has posted a real web design there since 2012. Scroll past all the anime wallpapers of recent years and you’ll find a ton of classic stuff. https://www.deviantart.com/designs/web/popular-all-time/?offset=2064
I remember how i used to go over this html templates and try to figure out what works best for me and each had a different style.css written customly and u cocou never know whatsw goin on, nowadays it’s more practical that everypnehas the same language of writing code, but its kinda disappointing that the creativity is gone. I miss the good old days, and i wish i see an article with 10 best retro websites. Love to see if any website has kept they’re day one style but like with new technology. Thanks for a great article, brought back good memories
I really like these pics, those were from that age where every gee whiz gimmick was being uploaded all over the place, they didn’t have to worry about mobile or any other screen besides the brain frying electron gun CRT…lol
I have always thought that one day I’d go back and look at some of the designs and retrofit them, lots of the home pages were just so extravagant, tweaked to account for DSL and dial up speeds lol
I really like the Flourish site…
Well, clearly I’m an old fogey with no design sense, because none of these screenshots look dated to me.
Now, if I could peek at the code used to create them… well, that would probably be a different matter!
This was around the time I was getting started. There were some really fun sites being made back then. I remember the Cheese & Burger site — had killer photography and those voiceovers by Patrick Warburton.
I know that modern tooling and workflows have made us more productive, but I seeing these screens makes me want to figure out how to add some more soul into the work again.
Ah the good old days – personally i think the designs were far more interesting – much more fun to make for sure – the web these days is pretty sterile and safe – IMHO – but hey on-wards and upwards
Hey Chris, great read! You article proves why it “old is gold.” These are great examples, if one is looking to create attractive and engaging web design. However, it is important that you keep your website simple and informational. And, sometimes small elements make your website unique and remarkable. Above all, make sure that the site is optimized for the most popular search engines, so that your target audience can easily find you online.