23 Apr 2009 2 pm eastern

Pardon My History

Although the WayBack machine did not preserve any of this website’s first year, it did capture quite a lot of our second year, 1996. Behold the splendor of the early web:

And much more. Enjoy!

Filed under: Design, development, DigitalUnderground, Publications, State of the Web, Web Design, work, Zeldman, zeldman.com

31 Responses to “Pardon My History”

  1. Daniel Granstrom said on

    Mmm. Color.

  2. Paul Roub said on

    So was the Mr. Jenkins… grand prize ever chosen? I haven’t given up hope…

  3. Ali said on

    The colors and backgrounds. Burned my eyes.

  4. josh said on

    Wowza! Remember the 90s? I like the idea that people saw those backgrounds and said “Yes. This is what my website was lacking. Now how do I save them to MY computer…”

  5. Gordon said on

    Wow! Memories indeed, had forgotten that Hitchcock image. I think I first visited in 1998 or so mind you. Glad to see the orange making a (subdued) come back!

  6. Shelley said on

    What? No BLINK?

  7. Litso said on

    This actually reminds me of my very first website. I used every single trick in the ‘annoying html’ book back then, although part of it was over the top on purpose:


    It’s horrible.

  8. Litso said on

    Oh, you do need to watch it in IE to really experience the nifty marquees I used in the menu…

  9. Shelley said on

    I could not resist, my oldest page in Wayback on a domain I had to release because of its association with an acronym popular with Japanese gamers.

    Thank goodness for the Wayback machine, and it’s snapshots of our history.

  10. Mau said on

    You are going to have to pay for my eye doctor appointment.

  11. Muhammad Habib said on

    Wow, but what is wrong with the colors?

  12. Jason Neel said on

    I’m digging the “welcome” voice on the TOC page. Sounds like it’s from AOL, gives me the willies…

  13. head.zoo.keeper said on

    Love it! Can you believe we used to write all that HTML code back in the ’90s — leftmargin, topmargin, font face; the spacer gifs; — seems almost surreal. Despite all that, I remember it was a lot of fun to build a website. It was such new territory and there was lots of room to explore and experiment.

    Thankfully, it’s now a bit easier or less verbose — the HTML anyway — and it’s still a lot of fun.

  14. Tyson said on

    ahhh…those pages bring back a lot of great memories.
    I was at my first web related design job when I discovered this site, and that is exactly what it looked like….(this is back around ’97 i believe).
    I learned a ton of really useful things by visiting your site, and have showed a lot of people the ad graveyard. After all this time, i still find some of those ads funny, which is a testament to great copy writing i think.

    I think the ‘my glamorous life’ essays were always my fav though….(although that didn’t appear on the site for sometime..)

    what a long strange trip it’s been ;)
    cheers Jeffery

  15. Cris said on

    Ask Dr. Web was a lifesaver. My ISP had a link to it on their support page, and boy did I click on it again and again.

  16. Stephanie Booth said on

    You know that Ask Dr. Web played an important part in getting me started with HTML? Yeah, it was way back when… and then from there, A List Apart, and the rest of the world as we know it.

    Thanks :-)

  17. Jason said on

    This stuff really does bring back a lot of memories.

    Back when the bulk of those pages was written, I was building animated gifs by hand (in… GifBuilder?) and just getting over imagemaps. For a while, my shop was setting up gifs (and transparent gifs) with checkerboard patterns of web-safe colors to create the illusion of intermediate colors. At that point, we used to set up a myriad of different cut-up template files from Photoshop for each site, and Save As over and over again… I remember setting up nested table inside nested table inside nested table. I loved that stuff. It appealed to my sensibilities as a problem-solver. I was thrilled when Fireworks 1.0 came out and we could generate slices all at once — but I never would have used the code, and it sucked that the layers weren’t compatible with Photoshop.

    Oh, how far we’ve come. A lot of it is thanks to you, Jeffrey (seriously!), and a bunch of other pioneers….

  18. Chrissy said on

    Awesome! Great post for my first visit to the website. I’m reading this book from 2002 called “We’ve Got Blog” and decided to see if any of these blogs were still alive. This book has suddenly gotten very depressing – most of the blogs are on life support if they are still alive at all. These people were supposedly the founders and the future of web blogging, and they aren’t even doing it any more. Great to see your blog is still alive!
    Blog On!

  19. hollyfairy said on

    Oh my – I remember my very first Geocities site I made as a kid, being something similar in design to these! I miss the 90’s and all that eye-searing colour!

  20. Steve K said on

    Great background and great hair as well!

  21. L. Jeffrey Zeldman's Amazon Blog said on

    [...] These Graphics: Disturbing Patterns The Ad Graveyard And much more. Enjoy! This is syndicated from Jeffrey Zeldman Presents The Daily Report. [...]

  22. yo yo yo said on

    Tip #1 when updating your personal blog that resides on a url bearing your name and photos etc …

    Don’t make a habit of quoting items like “My father and brother inherited the Ukrainian rapists good looks, and I inherited his thirst.”

    Google’s a M-Fer

  23. Anne said on

    I like the bold color choices and the simplicity of the layout.

  24. Andrew Mager said on

    No image replacement on the h1?

  25. Daniel Patterson said on

    So I guess its not just my family who has interesting stories. Thanks for sharing that with us.

  26. Einar said on


    really like the new design!


    — einar

  27. Tokind said on

    Bold orange – which takes us back to the early days of your personal site design. I like it. It bespeaks excitement and confidence. I do like the design of your current site – appreciated it from day one. But I like this better. This make the previous iteration look somewhat effete. Please don’t forget to put the color back in your face (footer icon, mug).

  28. chovy said on

    I thikn you need a greater distinction between the ALL CAPS orange and the ALL CAPS black.

    I’m not sure which one is the subhead ( lower precedence than the other ).

  29. Dan Benjamin said on

    I love this.

  30. timzoom said on

    I love this color ,it’s make me happy.

  31. mauricio quiroga said on

    heyy great work! I liked the gifs and the fuccia color, I enjoyed the websites

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