No matter how you cut it, everyone should agree that a lot can change in 20 years. As for the internet, it feels like nothing is exactly as it was. Despite this feeling being more true than we want it to be, let’s explore some of the echoes from the past that brought us to where we are now.
In 2001, the website with the most traffic was yahoo.com. I’m not here to talk trash at 2001 graphic design but this is really all it took to be #1?
Today the site with most traffic is YouTube, which was not around until late 2005. Google scooped them up less than a year after their founding.
In 2001, Google had not yet become its current, behemoth self. At the time, Google was just below the top 20 most trafficked sites. We were greeted with a homepage that’s very similar to what we know today. Their consistency is the exception to the rule but it’s certainly led them to great success.
Speaking of now behemoths, Amazon was also still relatively up and coming compared to where it is today. They were a top 10 site in 2001 but were still smaller than Ebay and its digital auction house.
Let’s get to some of the stuff you really wanted — who was getting a bit more playful, almost childish with their web design in 2001?
Ebay’s 2001 homepage was a personal favorite. Overlooking the content dripping in nostalgia, you’ve got mentions of Tiger Woods, Halle Berry, Kobe, Shaq, and all your 2001 baseball favorites — all great SEO/SEM plays for the time.
AOL may not be a website you’ve been to in a while but in 2001 they were #2 behind Yahoo. Not gonna lie, missing those colors a bit and they did a great job of helping to organize the content and make it more digestible.
Here’s another cool relic of the past. Can you hear the sound? Too young?
One platform that surprised me with their sustained relevancy was MSN. In 2001, they were a top 3 site and they’ve maintained a spot in the top 15 into 2022 with their popularity overseas.
No matter your thoughts on the Mac vs PC (remember those ads?), the early 2000s Apple UI will be iconic for years to come. It was sleek and simple in a time oversaturated with loud, busy colors.
The early 2000s Microsoft aesthetic may not be as iconic but it did everything it needed to for its time. Sounds about right.
I’m not exactly sure when people discovered that you were allowed to have white space and greeting the user to a wall of text was not a good look, but we’ve come a long way.
Today, MINDSCAPE continues to demonstrate how far web design has come in the past 20 years. As the internet matures, its designs become more sophisticated, clean, and calming. We believe the work we’ve done with Fetch! Pet Care does a great job showcasing the advancements made in web design. If you’re searching for web designers with expert-level control of spacing and imagery, come check out MINDSCAPE.