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Stay Connected to PBS Subscribe to our Previews newsletter for a sneak peek at your favorite programs. Check Out PBS Video Watch local and national programs from anywhere at anytime. Codeword Every term I give an introduction to Interface Design studies to new students. In case the design is to be perceived on a computer, these Adobe files will be thrown into a room full of programmers who are longing to make it all interactive according to noble ideas embedded in the graphics. Most of the students will not be convinced and will choose to study graphic design. Even those who want to be web designers.
Though 17 years of the WWW show that you need quite a different skill set for that. That’s why the last 3 hours given to me to influence people who will not study the web, but will design it anyway, I spent on highlighting the real history of web design styles. Big emphasis in my talk is put on the mid 1990’s, an era when the web was build and arranged and decorated by amateurs, when very web specific genres and looks were brought to existence, making it an incredible place to experience. How did the World Wide Web look before this Internet boom, before it became a riot for star backgrounds, bouncing envelopes and under construction signs? Neither him, nor any of his colleagues made an effort to preserve this first version. It is difficult to estimate how many pages created in 1993-1994 made it into the new millennium in their primordial way. But there is a way to find pages that live for ever in 1993.
To present them to the new students I look for “Prof. Some semesters ago it was possible to make a life performance with this search. Pages of academics in style were top results. As of June 2010, the magic seems to be gone. To collect enough examples for this article I had to go till result page 110. Dr” is a codeword, a tricky search request. I am aware of the fact that there are users outside of academia as well who always designed their sites in pure markup or redesigned according to 1993 standards recently.
Still I suggest to use this name based on a scientific title as a tribute to the history, and reminder that all around the internet the very first pages were build at universities. Anything from a corporate university look to a generic corporate look can be encountered. It can even happen that Prof. URL continues to be part of the look and reminds of early computer culture, when “user” was equal to “developer”. 3 That’s why, where it is possible, I prefer to use the examples with a tilde. Primitive and All the Same Prof.
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It is important to mention, that retro is the wrong term and notion in this case. 1993 and last time updated in 1995. They are usually updated with a list of courses for the current semester or contain links to contemporary services like Google Calendar, twitter or embed Google Maps. It makes them attractive for investigation — they are actual and timeless. I mean you can open them in Mosaic 1. 0 and it will not crash.
Still, if not retro, how to describe these pages? And that makes them historically significant. Every user of the early web was a producer of web content. The simple design of HTML made it possible for the first users to create state of the art pages with only four to five principal tags. The result was an extremely fast growing web. Though, ironically, they are among the last pages generated completely by humans, not content management systems or services. This reveals the belief of the early 1990es that any visual design should be left at the discretion of the user.
Page authors wouldn’t define colors, fonts margins and line-lengths. Not a big deal, one can say, to decide if to see all the pages of the internet on a white or a gray background. But don’t think about colors, think about the concept — each user was defining the look of the whole WWW for themselves. The beauty of this approach is that it allows maximum openness and flexibility. With the first version of Mosaic one could choose link colors.
Later, NCSA Mosaic allowed to decorate links in many different ways and choose colors from an RGB palette. It was the highest moment of “preferences freedom” a user could have. It could only work for the very small4 web at connected universities. What was enough to make academic profiles and papers look good online, became too less for the rest of us.
The WWW, contrived in a Swiss Lab, became people’s web. Web Vernacular It is very interesting to watch the transition from a primitive markup style of 1993 to pure madness of 1996 staying by Prof. You can see all the small details that can make a particular Prof. It would also important to stress that Prof. It is not equal to pure markup.
None of the examples above would pass HTML1. They are making their pages by editing code of their academic peers, who are non-professionals as well. Very often headings are replaced with a combination font style tags like bold and font size. I still consider pages that misuse visual markup for structural purposes as Prof. Style, as opposed to the pages where their authors make a step to “bring life” to their online home.
You don’t have to be web design expert to see the difference in between personal the home page of Prof. The first a typical representative of Prof. Style, the second a striking example of vernacular web. There are also websites that look exactly like Prof. This visually unremarkable modification can’t be compared with decorating a page with all sorts of animations and sounds and still it is an act of users’ voluntarism that paved the way to both amateur and “professional” web. Modifying colors of links was the first, smallest thing one could do. Malik, opened the page of his mentor in Microsoft Word and made one for himself.
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The links are there, blue and underlined, but they are numb. The next step is to play around with text in general. Günther Rüdiger made for the “Current Issues” heading of his website. Blinking is the pimp among HTML tags, you should be very self confident to have it on your page. A Background image can be just a nice looking pattern, as in the pages above, or can point out the research field the Prof.
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Huybrechts researchers large-scale three-dimensional time-dependent thermomechanical continental ice-sheet models, it is easy to assume that it was chosen because it looks a bit like a glacier. Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Prof. Crutzen, has clouds on his page, because he is an atmospheric chemist. Delp is professor for Electrical and Computer Engineering. Needless to say that an astrophysic’s homepage with a star background is a great finding. Unity of form and content is a rare guest in the world of starbackgrounded sites.
Another crucial modification leading away from the academic look is replacing semantic mark up elements with graphics. Then images get animated, making pages below looking less and less serious. Less serious”, but only in the eyes of “experts”. Style is not a proper place for statements about animated GIFs, but I can’t hold it: Animated GIFs on a web page are not a sign of low quality or light content. If an icon is animated it only means that the author of the page has better things to do than reading “10 worst web design mistakes”, “Top Ten web designs of the year” and the likes.
Ismail Hakki Aydin or the holder of the Nobel Price in Chemistry 2002, Prof. His site is also an example of a page with a grid layout. Making web layouts with tables, that is arranging content in columns and cells, was a usual way to design web pages in the 1990’s. But amateur web designers preferred to show those borders, and experimented with their size, color and amount. Quan makes a home page for his mentor — Prof.
It is not really readable and doesn’t mention the professor’s name, but still it’s more meaningful than the official interactive business card Prof. Amateur style7 was once the mainstream. Ridiculed and almost erased in the very late 1990’s, it came back to the public’s attention during the “web2. Though the original amateur culture was very different from web2. 0, many of its elements survived and in today’s web carry the meaning of a close, true relationship in between users and their medium.
The Vernacular Web is a recognized phenomenon. And what message is delivered by classic Prof. Inside academic circles, a page made in Prof. Style shows off distance from the institution’s corporate identity and its Content or Knowledge Management systems, which is not an easy status to achieve. Cyber National Parks In its 17 years history the WWW was announced to die soon many many times.
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Not only it survived, it became all-embracing and is close to immortality. What is doing really bad is hypertext. Though hypertext is technically still there, it is not important any more, neither is surfing or linking. The web consists mainly of application interfaces where users activate functions.
Though the dismissal of the page metaphor is no explanation why those web pages that are still pages are made without any respect to hypertext. For example, there is hardly any page left that doesn’t contain links that lead to the same page that is already displayed. Some Internet Giants like Google or Flickr avoid Zombie Links on their facades, if you go deeper you’ll step in the mud. Most others don’t care at all, because their links are not important for navigation. Users don’t surf, they search in Google.
Users don’t protest against Zombie Links and clumsy hypertext because in the times of fast Internet connections two or three needless clicks are not a big deal. Pages reload almost seamlessly, you can’t even call it reloading, just flickering. Designers don’t care because they are mostly graphic designers, who are interested in the look of the link and gladly delegate its behavior to a CMS. Constant reload-flickering is the pitiful state of hypertext today. Even Wikipedia, a project that has hypertext at its core, is plastered with self-reloading pseudo-navigation links.
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One might think that there is actually more than enough classic hypertext around. For example, Google’s links are all blue, flash in red when clicked and change to purple after they are visited. Mosaic’s classic default link color is the only element from the Prof. The last places to experience real online hypertext, hand made links, that look and behave like links, are the pages of the early web adopters and those who still follows their spirit. Bui Quoc Quan or Accept Jesus, read A Vernacular Web 1 and A Vernacular Web 2! For more on user culture see Digital Folklore. It was small indeed, one could describe all its contents on just 20 pages of the fat compendium “The Whole Internet”.
Today it appears as if the look and behavior of all web pages is under total control of their creators. Teachers of the ID pathway of Merz Akademie. Proceed about 3 miles to the first stop sign. 474 West Lake Drive in Montauk.
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While with George, Mike passed his captains test, and eventually took over the operation of the boat on all offshore trips. George would continue to run the boat for the inshore trips, and it was from George that Mike would learn about Montauk’s tides. Other than well experienced fishermen, few people realize the complexities of the tidal system here in Montauk. You can be anchored on one spot with the outgoing tide, while a mile away others are anchored with the flood tide, and will be for another half hour or so. However, his protege, Mike Vegessi is an extremely close second. During the winters Mike would work on one of the many commercial boats fishing out of the harbor, a tough racket. The weather is rough, but the winter is when most of the money is made in commercial fishing.
Offshore there are plenty of fish, and the prices are high. One year he would fish a dragger, for porgies, whiting or fluke. The next he’d be on a longliner after tilefish or cod fish. However, nobody wants to stay a mate forever, and when Captain Bill Butler put the “CAPTAIN WILLIE” up for sale in 1985, Mike jumped on it. The boat, 50′ long and wooden was operated as a party or open boat and already had a client base. When Mike took over, he changed the rules.