Disgusted of Webshire

Dear Internet.

I’m disgusted!

A client has just found a really old website I designed for my own business somewhere and said they’d love a website just like that. In fact, they wanted to know if I could use that website and “amend a few bits and pieces and put it live” for them.

It was the first website I did for myself. It was replaced years and years ago. The name of the company back then didn’t even mention most of what I did. I must have left a link to it in some bright crevice of the web.

I’m not disgusted at them of course. I’m flattered that they liked something I did over 15 years ago so much they want to use it for themselves.

But the code behind the website is so out of date. I’m disgusted at myself for writing such terrible code back then. Things have moved on so much.

The menu buttons are made of little individual images. We don’t do that kind of thing anymore.

There’s an annoying animated gif that goes on for ever.

The site isn’t mobile friendly. That won’t do these days.

All the wording is in lowercase, apart from the logo. That was a fashion in design once upon a time.

And that @ sign. Overused on the site I think. But at least it’s still a symbol that’s in common usage on the internet. It’s been around since the Renaissance too.

The site looks tiny on today’s huge 20 plus inch monitors.

There’s a map on the contact page. I spent hours drawing it in Illustrator. Now you’d just drop in a bit of Google Map code and off you go in real time interactive glory. Mobile internet connection permitting that is.

I could go on.

How can I get over this feeling, Internet?

Internet responds:

You’ve come a long way, Webshire.

Rather than looking at your work from years ago in what is an industry that has always moved at the speed of light, you should be proud of how far you’ve come.

Look at what you know now. And this website is proof of that.

Never get rid of this website, it tells the story of where you started from. Not only does it show the skills and services you were offering back then, but it’s also reveals how you did stuff back then.

And don’t be so hard on yourself. That chrome-looking, glowing @ sign looks pretty cool to me still. Someone seeing that for the first time would probably say the same. You know it’s a decade and a half old so to you it’s not yet retro and definitely not vintage — so you’ll say it’s naff.

And content wise it’s not so shoddy either. That “a to z of print” page is quite informative you know. I didn’t know that “SRA” meant: a paper size in the series of ISO international paper sizes slightly larger than the A series allowing the printer extra space to print and allow for bleeds.

And the site still works. It’s probably always work.

But you’ve learned not to keep using exclamation marks like they’re ten for a penny, haven’t you?

Carry on as you are. Don’t be disgusted. It’s all about processes. Nothing stays the same for long.

Thank your customer and tell them you’re flattered. But politely tell them that this website wouldn’t quite be suitable these days in a smartphone dominated, interactive web that also requires lean, fast loading websites, where all lowercase words are no longer cool and animated gifs should be reserved for the occasional social media status update.

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These words were inspired by a post on a web design and development forum where someone mentioned that a client had asked them to update a website that they’d designed for them years ago. They said how disgusted they were at how “bad” their code was from back then and asked what they should do.

I design website for businesses over at areoff.com. Go pay me a visit over there. You won’t be disgusted.

This post was originally published over on my LinkedIn page in November 2015.