Sunday, January 20, 2019

#Software10YearChallenge meet #Website20YearChallenge

#Software10YearChallenge isn't really taking off, and I'm not sure website even count, and it's not like my sites have set the world on fire, but anyway, thanks to the Wayback Machine it's pretty easy to get old views of my two most important sites  and  (I'm sure the name changes didn't help my google juice none.... )

Alien Bill was my first domain, with "Alien Bill Productions" being my fake-y company since my teen years. In the late 90s it looked like this:

Oh, man. What's best about this? The animated GIF at top? The Robotech font? The "Imperfect Web Design for an Imperfect World" slogan? The subtle titled background rockets and UFOs? Or the photorealistic icons I was briefly enamored with? Probably that.

I like the running alien bill (the repeating squares behind him are meant to emphasize motion.) And the micro-screenshots are kind of fun too. I took the animation from the old header and broke it out by frames.
Current day. I've been using the oversized hero image for a while now, and kind of love it. Recently I did a redesign to really try to bring people's attention to the stuff that I'm most proud of or that they might find the most interesting, and used the title fonts from my various works when I could, which mixes things up in a kind of fun way.

Then, my blog, coming up on 20 years. This is shortly after I started blogging, vs just having a more personal homepage-
I moved the personal homepage stuff to a sidebar... and hey, remember guestbooks? Those were kind of great. (I remember my websites guestbook served as an emergency contact pad on a day of surprise layoffs at work, useful in those pre-Social Media times.)

Hmm. Went a little nuts. The hand-doodled icons at top are kind of a throwback to the mid-90s stuff, like an even earlier version of alienbill:
But for the sidebar I had these delightful tiny minimalist things. (Also I used to be so weirdly enamored of that shade of turquoise, which I think showed up in Windows 3.1 or 95 a lot)

Also that was when I was changing gears from slightly longer form blogging to stuff I could mirror on twitter, the "...of the Moment" section. Over the years the UI I built for that became my primary way of adding stuff to the site, and eventually I blurred the visual distinction as you can see in the present day:
A few Christmases ago I embraced a kind of minimalism, and had some fun building up a visual language for the icons and the title at top. Also I added a tag system which is sometimes useful to me.

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