In 1995, Microsoft released Internet Explorer, the web browser that would popularize, conquer, polarize, and ultimately hold back the progression of the World Wide Web. But a year before Microsoft released its popular web browser, the company quietly launched its first website; a website that Microsoft has now relaunched for public inspection in all its Web 1.0–or even 0.1–glory.
What makes it perfect is that this really is what the rest of the web looked like back in 1994. I was there. I remember! The low-resolution GIFs. The thoughtless use of fonts. The star map navigation grid with a seemingly random selection of pages and links. This isn’t 1994 web design: it’s what the web looked like before anyone even thought about applying design principles to it. And believe it or not, even this was a step-up from the entirely text-based web browsers we had before. Lynx, anyone?
Of course, a mere two years later–largely thanks to the dominance of Windows 95 and Internet Explorer–the web looked very different. By 1996, the Microsoft homepage, while still quaint, didn’t look anywhere near as antediluvian. Although as Warner Bros. official Space Jam website from 1996 proves–which is still, amazingly, online–the Internet wasn’t quite ready to move away from star maps just yet.
You can check out Microsoft’s original homepage by clicking here.