Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Yesterday and tomorrow

I think it was Oscar Wilde who observed that "fashion is something so ugly it has to change every six months." In any case, the truth is that while fashion changes by the season, good design doesn't.

Have a look at this collection of what popular websites looked like ten years ago, five years ago and now. While there are certainly differences and indications of learning, some of the most basic principles are obviously durable.



  1. I can't help but notice that the sites listed were, for the most part, all much simpler than the average newspaper site.

    Many of the sites: Apple, Adobe and Nike only have limited product lines and as such I think have an easier time being "elegant" in their designs.

    Even the news sites shown, like CNN and ESPN, went through a period of "shove everything out there" but have since backed off.

    I'm very much a student of "simplify, simplify, simplify" -- tho I'm often vetoed -- but I think that sites that don't have massive product offerings (like newspapers do) have an edge.

  2. I'd argue that Apple's site is every bit as complex as a newspaper site -- probably more so. Hundreds of current hardware options, dozens for software, detailed support docs for thousands of current and legacy products, massive knowledge base, dozens of forums, vast developer resources.... The reason you don't think it's complex might be because it's very well designed. And that's Apple in a nutshell, no?