web's eye view web's eye view
06.28.96  [current] and [back] issues and a bag of urls!

alan levine ~~ Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction ~~ http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/eye/

 The WWW Fashion Show Revue

Just what is the latest fashion craze for web pages? Before we check out the sleek models strolling down the virtual runway, let's take a look at the fashion of season's past.

* Web Fashion: Spring 1994
Oh those primitive carefree days when there was just NCSA Mosaic. We clicked and waited through those languid moments watching the globe spin...and we rebooted alot. If it was a decade in time, this was the 1950s, simple, yet full of hope and promise. It was those grey X-Windows pages, HTML 2.0 compliant, full of long scrolling text, lots of text, lots of text, interspersed with <Hx>...</Hx> tags, bulleted lists.

 The more daring experimented with nested <blockquote>...</blockquote> and multimayered <dl> lists for marginal variety. The SparcStation-endowed posted big bold inline GIFs with those provacative image maps. Inline GIFs were used extensively by the bandwidth insenstive, bringing critical reviews from the lynx crowd crowing over the meaning of [IMAGE].

* Web Fashion: Spring 1995
Like the 60's, a bold flowerchild called NetScape burst colorful onto the web scene, forever changing the fashions of web pages past. Gone were the plain grey pages, replaced with garish, glaring, and often unreadable tiled backgrounds. And these pages moved fast down the gangway! Gone was the globe and in was Mozilla. We were freed from the confines of the left margin via the <center> tag yet greeted with the annoyance of the dreadfully tacky <blink>. Bolder designs pushed title bar animations with multiple <title> tags that grew tiresome after the second view. And we could email and spam newsgroups without leaving the confines of the browser.

 It was not soon for the next wave bringing grids of 3D margin tables, and tables in tables, and tables in tables in tables. The most promising designs opted for align options for inline images so text could fill around the pictures, as well as inline JPEG images, plus options for sizing text without resorting to the white space needs of <H2> tags.

* Web Fashion: Fall 1995
Get out of the paisely psychedelia of tiled backgrounds and into the no-nonsense 90s of solid, fast loading color backgrounds, either solid x-gen black or high sheen white. Designers have gone for big simple low bandwidth GIFs, Gone also are those ugly square lines around table cells-- it was time for borderless tables for creative, multicolumnar layout, closer to the magazine layout.

 And color galore! Garish Colored text, colored links-- with no regard for our senses.

 The ingenuitive are animating via arcane push-pull. Pages hemlines have risen yet those of 800 pixel width screens are forcing others to excessively horizontally scroll.

* Web Fashion: 1996
The stylist market has blown wide open to who knows where. We've got plug-ins giving animation, background music, and in page display of all kinds of media. The most brazen Las Vegas Strip pages flaunt multiple frames with scrolling icons, meaningless eye candy animated GIF89 doodads, and the dreaded JavaScript messages flying across the bottom of the browser, obscuring link information. (this year's equivalent of <blink>).

 The newest designers on the scene, the house of Microsoft, is weighing in with a whole new bevy of HTML "enhancements" that promise to make the next wave of designs extremeley competetive and confusing for the public. Audiencess swoon and chant "Java... Java" for the arrival of the Emperors New Applets.

 The fashion standards have finally gotten around to stamping their approval onto the styles of 2 years ago.