5 Web Design Traits That (Thankfully) Died With The 90s


by Dan Dunton

When the Internet entered most people’s homes in the mid to late 90s it was a revelation, everyone could access more information than they could ever dream of, and a million and one bedroom programmers thought they would get in on the action. As “web design” was in its infancy, nobody really know what was good and what was bad, they just went with the coolest features they could find from reading their HTML books. What they did create however, was a legacy many web designers would rather forget. The following features are a rundown of the most annoying, and remember, this was all happening in the days when a website could take MINUTES rather than milliseconds to load:

1. Flashing gifs

Who can forget the days when you would click on a website and be faced with an epileptic fit inducing red image flashing yellow every second for no apparent reason whatsoever. Some websites would have them all over, or have a big row of them. They were annoying, ridiculous and pointless….but they were everywhere!

2. Midi sounds

By far the most annoying of our rundown is the background music files that would play when you opened a web page. To start with it would slow down the loading of the page massively, and who really wants to hear a rubbish midi version of the latest top 40 single in the background of a page on football? Or a terrible version of some classical music on a pop music website?

3. Hit Counters

These were quite funny and not very offensive really, just a nice little counter or how many times the page was loaded. Easily manipulated does not begin to describe these, which went up with every refresh of the page, so someone could easily make their site look a lot more popular than they actually were.

4. Scrolling Text

Every website had some kind of scrolling ‘marquee’ text, whether it was a news story that kept repeating at the top or even just the time and date, everyone wanted a piece of this feature. Even big news sites were using scrolling text to show the latest news!

5. Background Images

One of the most distracting features of 90s web design was the background images that sat behind the main text, usually with the text just sitting over the top of it. So any text over the darker bits of the image you just couldn’t read! Also, the images would generally be unchanged, so would repeat themselves over and over throughout the page until there was only space for half the image at the sides and bottom. Very very messy!

All in all…..now is probably a very good time to be in web design, much better than the 90s!

Dan Dunton is from Seed Solution web design in Manchester.

  • This is funny but thanks these practices died already.

  • Yes , I have to agree , specially the marquee texts and BG images were annoying , I still have to mute my sound so I wont hear the darn music on some old sites.

  • I totally agree. Now is much better to be in web design, than in 90s. During the time so much was upgraded computer science, that these things remains only in the past. 

  • Mike Penque

    I think that the web design is a most popular now that other IT professions. It is common job now. I like the designers work. Used to find lots of ideas at designcontest.com