6 Websites We Put Through the Wayback Machine

In the days of Microsoft Clip Art, the dial-up modem and the Spice Girls, website design was fairly basic compared to today’s long-scroll screens, high res imagery and abundance of hamburger menus.
We’ve taken a look at what some of the world’s biggest websites looked like in the early 2,000’s and even *gasp* the 90’s. Web design has certainly come a long way since then. But, of course, it will progress even more in the next ten years. Maybe we’ll write another blog called ‘Wow! Look how old these websites looked in 2016!’ along with comments on how hardly anybody uses Facebook any more…
Google (1999 vs 2016)
Starting with the most visited website in the world – Google have always kept it simple and colourful. They stayed true to their colours – even if the tones are more vivid after their 2015 major revamp. They’ve gotten rid of the outdated drop shadows and flattened the letters. The layout of the page is essentially the same – except the tiny microphone voice recognition search feature (a sign of the Siri age!). Google even kept the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button but it’s more of a direct link to the Google Doodles page now rather than a randomly generated search term.
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YouTube (2005 vs 2016)
In 2016, YouTube is actually more popular than broadcast TV with viewers aged 13 to 24, with an average of 11.3 hours spent watching online video outlets compared to just 8.3 hours of traditional TV. This is probably due to the huge success of YouTube celebs such as Dan & Phil, PewDiePie, Miranda Sings, Zoella and many more. According to Digital Trends, this is because “they find it more enjoyable and relevant to their lives.” Over the years the website has ditched the overuse of blue text and the layout has become a lot more user-friendly with an accessible side bar, appealing visuals and clean design.
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Facebook (2004 vs 2016)
Originally used as an exclusive social network for Harvard University students in 2004, ‘The Facebook’ was available two years later to anyone in the world with an email address. Relying on advertising as its main source of revenue, we use Facebook for everything from telling friends and family we’re engaged, to promoting a new eco-friendly toilet cleaner. For privacy reasons, we just included the sign-in page – but even from this you can see the web design has improved significantly. There was no messaging, no poking (maybe a good thing?), only one photo per user allowed, no news feed and, strangely, a cameo from Al Pacino on the homepage. Fast forward to now and the design is crisp, smooth and contemporary (although the people holding up that thumb look suspiciously like Microsoft Clip Art characters…)
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BBC News (1998 vs 2016)
“Updated every minute of every day!” proudly claims the banner on BBC News circa 1998. Eighteen years later that’s still true – although it’s more like every few seconds 24/7. For a late 90s website the BBC did pretty well – you had everything you needed at the click of mouse, even video and audio news. Want to ask Ken Livingstone what his fave flavour of crisps is? You could. Want to know if we can trust weather forecasters any more? You could. Want to view the site in ‘low graphics’ mode because the modem is acting up? You could. In 2016, the layout of the website is standard for a news outlet. The black-on-white scheme with high quality imagery still works very effectively, as it represents a print newspaper. The only really big difference is the massive increase of focus on audience interaction and engagement with features such as ‘Trending stories,’ sharing buttons for social channels and even a Euro 2016 score predictor.
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McDonalds (2002 vs 2016)
With heavy focus on top quality imagery, video content and graphics – the McDonald’s website of 2016 looks a million miles away from the McDonald’s website of 2002. The little icons on the top bar of the older website are very reminiscent of Habbo Hotel – which was considered trendy in its time. Even though some of the images wouldn’t load in the 2002 website, we can see that there’s a lot more focus on promoting to children and teens with the Pop Rivals competition to win CDs. With the increase in childhood obesity, McDonalds seems to have placed a lot more emphasis on the quality of its ingredients. Further exploration demonstrated that the 2016 website included way more information on all products – with a separate video all about each ingredient.
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Clicky (2011 vs 2016)
Since we’ve had a laugh at other business’s old website, it’s only fair that we take a look at the Clicky website too. We can’t believe this is the difference five years makes! No photos of the team, no video content – just a fairly corporate website. Well, it must have done the trick, as it helped us gain more clients and grow our service to include ProSupport, content & outreach, social media management and more. Just so you know – in the next five years our website will be a fully-immersive 4D experience so watch this space
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We’re always ready to discuss your digital marketing needs – just get in touch with us today. 

Written by Shannon May