Your Old Crap Website | 90s Web Design

Dredging the internet archives 1996-2001 – Websites then and now

Archive for April, 2010

Radio 1

Posted by monkeon on April 26, 2010

This newsreader is called Rajesh Mirchandani…

Wikipedia’s entry for Rajesh says “Rajesh Mirchandani is a British television journalist. He was previously a Washington, DC correspondent for BBC News  but in early 2008 relocated to Los Angeles.”

It doesn’t mention that in the 90s, Rajesh was the presenter on Radio 1’s Newsbeat, reporting on such world important stories as Robbie leaving Take That and Queen Latifah’s carjacking.  Let’s see what journalistic tone this man brought to my youth…

Oh Rajesh, you silly old alchie.

Surprisingly for a station with a Logan’s Run employment policy (Radio 2 having a Wogan’s Run one of not employing anyone below the age of 60*), some of the presenters from the 90s still work at Radio 1.

In general, the presenter profile pages are more or less the same, though I’ve noticed a tendency to remove certain information.

For example, Sara Cox before:

and after:

“Let’s drop that bit about sought-after shall we?”.

And what about Jo Whiley? Then:

And now:

“Let’s lose the age, guys”

In fact, the only profile that hasn’t changed is the one for Fabio and Grooverider who, despite being on air for over ten years, I have never actually listened to:


Technically, if they were 2 steps ahead in 1999 and not done anything since, then they are actually now 9 steps behind.

*Joke may no longer be true

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Bacardi

Posted by monkeon on April 20, 2010

Bacardi’s concept in 1999 was not to just have a website, but instead have a virtual cyber club…

There are 3 versions of the club.  Think of it as a dress code where only PCs wearing the latest modems get in. Let’s go straight to the “very high-bandwidth (28.8 modem or higher; graphics that will blow your mind, games and all the other good stuff!)” VIP version as the others are a bit Wetherspoons.

“Graphics that will blow your mind”.  Are you ready?

SHEBAM! (I haven’t seen anyone dance like that since Ian Curtis)

POW! (Is it The Exorcist where a door goes a-slamming like that VIP door?)

PLOPP! (No toilets in this club, I notice)

WIZZZ!  (Do you remember in the 90s when we all had pictures of cutlery on the wall – what were we thinking!)

Viewing the source code shows the work of a chancer who has put “sex” in the keywords in the hope that it would have a chance to appear in Google (erm 1999 – Altavista)  for that term…

Frequently Asked Questions

My question would be “Is this question really frequently asked; or is it a case that the person who built the website was also responsible for the ad campaign?”

Build a Sandcastle

The game they were referring to on the homepage was this “build a sandcastle” game.  If it was a real club, not a cyberclub, then a sandpit would be an ideal place to bury your vomit.

I have built one below which is how I imagine 90% of the probably around 3 total entries looked…

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Poundland

Posted by monkeon on April 15, 2010

Instead of someone unreliable like Kerry Katatonia, Poundland have taken the safer bet of employing the services of HAL from 2001 to endorse their shop today.

However, in 2000, they used to rely on their customers to give them testimonials.  They didn’t just make them up. Oh, no – look:

Good old Ms Handley who lives in the Meadowhall shopping centre.  It’s nice of Poundland to take a professional portrait of her to the high standards of a stock photography site.  Although, I guess, a pound was worth more then.

They also took a professional photo of all of their surprisingly healthy looking customers…

The odd thing about this is that they obviously couldn’t get the same studio photographer for their team photo and so had to take it themselves…

I’m not saying they made the testimonials up or anything (read this sarcastically or not sarcastically as you wish).

Sadly, the old Poundland site never listed what you used to be able to get for a pound to contrast with what you get nowadays, as I’d be interested to see if every year the concept becomes less viable or if the quality of products for sale has to be lowered to make up for inflation.

Web Design Leeds

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Cher

Posted by monkeon on April 14, 2010

Cher’s new site has the amazing feature of a loader screen which counts up in roman numerals, and is followed by a “Quick, turn down the speaker before the neighbours hear” medley of her hits.

It says “(c) 2002-2010 Cher.com”, and yet the site was started in 1998.  What was there between 1998 and 2001 which she is trying to deny ever existed?

In 1998, in order to enter, you had to click on a sword. It’s not any old sword, it was a rotating sword with a glans:

Even in 1990s. Cher hadn’t quite caught up with the modern world:

The site was still under construction, and she was keen to let her fans have their say…

Hmm.  What would I like in an online Cher store?  A plastic false bottom with a pen to draw on some tattoos? A mouse mat in the shape of her head?  Cher sweatpants? A Cher stress ball for the next time “If I could turn back time” comes on the radio? Incence?

Let’s see what things were sold when we check out the site two years later in 2000…

Oh, how boring.

But wait!

I knew she wouldn’t let us down!

How much does a website cost

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Loaded

Posted by monkeon on April 10, 2010

The Loaded of old was far more honest about its’ target market. Whereas nowadays, it hardly ever uses the word “perv”, it used to be full of features such as the following, which contains such English as “Good work sexual pervert fella!” to describe 90s rapper Mark Morrisson:

Here is another feature, which has been given a sexual title despite just being a place where you can download an early copy of Quake:

They also used to use graphics such as this:

and, I am horrified to reveal, this (which had the filename “wank.gif”):

One other thing about the loaded site of 1998.

Whereas now, the topless photo galleries contain around 15 selected pictures, they used to just upload the photographer’s whole bloody film and be done with it:

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Arsenal

Posted by monkeon on April 8, 2010

This evening I’ve been scouring football websites in the internet archive, desperately trying to find something of interest to say. However, my lack of knowledge in anything sport related means that the only mildly amusing thing I’ve found is if you imagine the finger in the following animation is a surprise tiny phallus:

Thankfully, I was delighted to find that, before the year 2000, Arsenal.com was owned by a domain squatter who, for no obvious reason, used the address for their video company and so I can now examine that site rather than have to mention anything more about football in this post…

Here’s what used to be on arsenal.com:

Knight Productions Inc. had the most amazing Netscape logo I have ever seen. It’s of a vomiting dragon…

They could have made a film about that and I would have been delighted.
But what did Knight Productions actually make films about?

My favourite thing about Noir is the fact that the supernatural force is not bothered about anything more serious than annoying them. Perhaps it’s the ghost of Jeremy Beadle (who, thinking on it, would have had to have travelled back in time to before he died in order to bother them).

Sadly, I can find no references to this film on the web nowadays.  If you were in it, PLEASE upload it to YouTube.

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Liberal Democrats

Posted by monkeon on April 7, 2010

The Lib Dem’s hadn’t quite got a handle on image compression in 1996…

Example 1:
Can’t quite read that…

Example 2:
I think this is a bird, but it might be an ink-blot test which by saying that I think is a bird would tell a psychiatrist what sort of mental illness I have.

Their page of MP profiles uses the trick that many hell-to-work-for companies do when they try to make themselves more fun by giving their employees chance to express their personality by telling visitors about any of their blander interests.

So far, so dull… but then I found this one about Archy Kirkwood…

“Formerly a keen bee-keeper”.  That isn’t enough information. What happened?  Why is he now not keep on bees? Was he involved in a bee related accident? Was it like in Deliverance when they can’t mention pigs when they get home? “Buzz like a bee, boy!” Tell us, Archy!

The slogan

Finally, we come to this slogan.
If they ran it now,  as a hopeless nostalgic, I would definitely vote for them:

How much does a website cost

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Weight Watchers

Posted by monkeon on April 4, 2010

I’m sure the Weight Watchers site of old was using Derren Brown tricks to subconsciously make it’s users feel overweight.

I mean, look how fat they’ve drawn the UK:

They should have used it as a testimonial picture…

And is there really any need to go on about cookies to this extent to people who probably fancy picking at a packet or two?

That all said, the Weight Watchers UK site isn’t too awful. So, luckily, there are all these other Weight Watchers sites to explore for awful design:

I’ve gone through all of the sites in order to bring you the award for International Worst Weight Watchers Website 2000 which goes to… Italy!

Congratulations Italy! And congratulations to the work experience kid who built this and didn’t know how to change image text, so just whacked in the unedited American version of the navigation.

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Purves and Purves

Posted by monkeon on April 3, 2010

First up, it’s really nice to be able to show a site where all the graphics exist in the archived version, and the broken image is in the new site.

What is most striking about the Purves and Purves site of  1996 is the sheer minimalism.

The entirity of the homepage’s text is “Mini. Catalogue. Welcome.” It seems fitting that their first steps into web design has such caveman speak.  And just look at the product pages…

The retina burning bright colours and lack of words suggest that their site was marketed at 3 year olds.

That said, today I was reading a (boring as hell) book about internationalising shopping sites with translation modules.  Well, perhaps Purves & Purves discovered a much simpler method: just don’t use any words so that no translation is needed.

(Readers interested in Purves may like to know we have already featured the website of Peter Stringfellow somewhere in the archive.)

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Toshiba

Posted by monkeon on April 2, 2010

How did one used to navigate around the old Toshiba site?  Just click on the text links? NO.

You see?  You must click the remote control icon to make it pop up and then click a button.  What could be simpler?

Now why didn’t that catch on?

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