From what I have already mentioned, I want to make a website in the style and taste of the 1990s. However…
…I missed the mark.
This is not “Brutalist.”
This is not “historically accurate.”
This is embarrassing.
Looking at this, I think the reason why I ended up that way is because I did not exactly know why websites in the 1998‒2001 “sweet spot” had that style. At the time I was designing this website, I looked into old versions of websites that I knew.
Actually, there is a worthwhile example from this search.
There is plenty that I like here. The top menu is classy yet useful. The banner gives the message immediately and clearly. Also, the website’s use of color theory with the purple and yellow Pokémon is clever. The Type symbols fit the theme yet are appealing and attract attention to the menu items. I also like the drop shadows that the icons and banner have; they give that “sweet-spot Internet” look. The news items have those icons that, if not relevant to the news item, fit the theme at least. The “NEW” news icons actually have the “NEW” text cycle around the PokéBall, making an attention-grabbing, pleasing sight without being obtrusive.
I actually found other traits that I liked, but, once I found again and took a good look at the Web Design Museum, everything “clicked”. Even the other traits I liked were more clearly visible in the museum exhibits!
The color scheme takes that of the Road Runner character but is not afraid of expanding on the color palette when necessary. There are 2 menus here, each of which serve different purposes. The way that the two menus are connected with a curve gives a dynamic feel that, in the end, fits the “speedy” motif. The “go” button next to the zipcode textbox is also sweet. However, every link of importance (even the dial-up and DSL buttons) is accessible.
Plus, implementing a character known because of his ridiculous speed both suits the service and is in good taste.
Honestly, there is some clutter here, which makes the webpage confusing. What I do like is the middle image that has a color that stands out from the other sections and is inviting in both expression and content. The shop@kodak logo and “Shop Worldwide” menu item are also in good taste.
There are actually more examples (from both the previous search and the museum) of good taste, but, after seeing all of the examples, I found that these are the examples that had the most impact to me.
In light of this knowledge, I drew up this prototype:
This is just an exploratory design.
One thing that I did not want to change is the color scheme because my website has a “story” in which you are traveling to the beach. (The pink is a prototype-exclusive that represents a border.) A cute logo with the website name and tagline grace the sky. Riding the water are the menu items. There are 3 menus: one orients the new browser, another lists the games (complete with their icons), and another list other links of interest. At the top-left corner of the water is the search bar, making a more organic transition between the two menus. Below that are the language flags. The sand has the content. After a banner (that actually only “advertises” my games*), there is a big image that gives big news. After that image is a list of news items that have a relevant icons. A “New!” image animates itself to news items that are up to 3-weeks-old. After the news are some small link-buttons.
There are actually a few changes from the concept image that I would change, but this design is far better.
- = Though the inspiration of putting a banner was in reference to the old Nickelodeon website, the idea of self-advertising banners came from Earthbound Central.
…though, now that I think about that, Nickelodeon’s banners were usually self-advertising… the banners at the old Cartoon Network website were also normally self-advertising, too.