In the wake of all the news about Craigslist censoring their Adult Services section, it’s remarkable that the site has been able to maintain a user base of over 60 million users per month and continues to be ranked #8 in the U.S. despite its painfully outdated design. It just goes to show that when push comes to shove, content will win over presentation.
Craigslist was started in 1995 by Craig Newmark as an email list service of San Francisco events for his friends. It became a web service in 1996. Current CEO Jim Buckmaster joined the company as lead programmer and CTO in 2000 and is largely responsible for the site’s multi-city architecture, search engine, discussion forums, flagging system, self-posting process, homepage design, personals categories, and best-of-Craigslist feature.
There is no arguing Craigslist’s success despite their outdated design. Most of their viewers are there to get the facts and just the facts so presentation takes a backseat to content. But still, the site can probably use an update and still maintain their roots as a text based medium.
So without further delay, here is a list of sites that time forgot in no particular order. Keep in mind these are currently operating websites and not abandoned sites. Someone made a conscious decision not to update the sites’ design for better or worse. In some cases, the sites are not remnants of years gone by but are actually newly designed sites.
- Keep Earth Beautiful – Ugly in many languages. They proudly state animation/interaction was made possible by Raptivity WebExpert.
- Intercollegiate Broadcasting System – You can thank Jeff Tellis, IBS Vice President for Information Services for this gem loaded with textured background, animated gifs, and aol email contacts. They didn’t even bother getting their own domain. It’s tacked on to the web portal from their internet provider.
- Moped World – Obviously a Star Wars and Kool & The Gang fan, this site autoplays Celebration and uses what looks like 8 bit animated gifs. Feel free to navigate around the site and enjoy their vast selection of electronically synthesized tunes.
- Smith and Goldsmith Inc. – This first sign that it’s all bad is the homestead.com sub-domain in the url. This is the type of disaster that can happen when you mix an amateur web designer with a free web template from Intuit. Scrolling marquee banners and gradient page counters with drop shadows just add insult to injury.
DP Graph – There’s really no way to describe this site or show it in a static screen grab and still do it justice. You just have to go there and immerse yourself in this virtual acid trip. To make your experience complete, put on some trance music and turn off all the lights in the room.