This year the Internet turns 20. And since its clunky, visually messy and very slow beginnings, web pages have changed beyond all recognition and are rapidly evolving to offer new online experiences year on year.
But unlike other design platforms, web design does not lend itself easily to archiving. With successive web pages, the previous incarnation of a site disappears into the ether when a page is updated and is most often stored on hard drives and servers belonging to the designers and never see the light of day again.
Jim Boulton of digital content agency Story Worldwide was concerned about the wealth of design and content effectively disappearing and decided to curate a ’dig’ of archived web pages, called Digital Archaeology, which was held in London’s Shoreditch last night.
Boulton says, ‘In five years time or so, I doubt websites will exist and I expect the vast majority of sites from the first twenty years of the web to be gone forever.
“The web has become an integral part of our lives, and to not start historically archiving the defining sites of the first 20 years of its existence is simply neglectful. If we don’t act, many of the websites that inspired a generation of interactive designers will disappear forever.’
The exhibition, which is part of Internet Week Europe, features websites chosen by the exhibition panel including MTV2’s site from 2000 by Digit, Bang & Olufsen’s 1999 site by Large Design and Ikea’s Dream Kitchen by Forsman & Bodenfors from 2005.
Boulton is keen to stress that this list is not definitive and is appealing to digital designers to add to the ‘dig’.
He says, ‘These sites, created by some of the greatest digital artisans on the planet, inspired a generation of digital designers who fundamentally changed online experiences. There are undoubtedly many other sites out there that people will think deserve a place in the Hall of Fame. We’d like to hear from them.’
To suggest iconic websites that should be added to the dig visit www.storyworldwide.com/digital-archaeology.