What became of the earliest web aesthetic

Olia Lialina's illustrated essay "Vernacular Web 2" builds on her earlier work, which is to "collect, classify and describe the most important elements of the early Web – visual as well as acoustic – and the habits of first Web users, their ideas of harmony and order." The earliest days of the web were unkind to traditional designers, many of whom took some time to come to grips with floating window sizes, user-selectable fonts, and the limited palette of design elements in early HTML. The result was a folk-aesthetic, where untrained eyes and sensibilities dominated the look of the net. Much of that original look is gone now, but Lialina's work brings it back and starts to delve into what it all means — and how its progeny still can be found online today.

And today, in the end of June 2007, when we hear of amateur culture more often than ever before, the cultural influence of "Welcome to My Home Page" web pages looks especially interesting. People who created them and their ideas of what the Web is, how it can be used and how the pages should look, these people's likes and mistakes gave the today's Web its current shape.

To me, what defines the history of Web is not just the launch dates of new browsers or services, not just the dot-com bubbles appearing or bursting, but also the appearance of a blinking yellow button that said "New!" or the sudden mass extinction of starry wallpapers.


(via Beyond the Beyond)