Old Websites on the New Web
Have you ever sat there, read through a website and thought “my god, that’s an old/bad looking page”? But why aren’t these old sites updated to look more modern? Today’s topic is a discussion on old vs new in internet technology.
Recently, I was browsing around the internet to find some information about Stonekeep. No spoilers: I just wanted to see how far in I was – Turns out I’m a little bit over halfway through the game, which is excellent news! However, when I was looking for these guides, I realised that they were all on older websites; or on old forums. This made sense to me, as the game was released in 1995 and wasn’t a huge phenomenon, so it’s not a surprise that it’s not been kept on an updated website…
… Or is it?
Let’s face the facts here: This is a game that is on old websites, sure, but these websites are all still up today. In fact, one of them was still doing articles as late as 2008 as far as I could see. This isn’t a dig at the website, it’s more fascination that we’ve got a seemingly preserved piece of gaming history that was still active. Is this akin (but much lesser in effect) to listed buildings? It wasn’t like this was a particularly well known website; but it received some visitors back in its day.
Those of us who live in Bristol might be aware of a shop called Fabricland. The shop is pretty good and there’s a good number of highly talented staff who know exactly what you’re looking for. They’ve always been very nice to me when I shop for fabrics, so the shop as a model works really well. For me though, it’s a trip to the city centre, which on a bus is 45 minutes away and in a car, I would have to park at an NCP (Which thankfully is opposite the shop). It’s been there for a little while and the shop is pretty massive!
They had to have a website; so I looked at it and my word, it’s one of the oldest, most under-loved websites I have ever seen… And this isn’t the only Bristol-based shop that seems to be struggling with keeping up with the times. In comes Area 51, a much-loved comic and general geek hobby shop on Gloucester Road. The two shops have kept their websites up and up-to-date with their stock, but they’re both in need of some serious love. Perhaps a little community project for someone with some free time?
A lot of people and companies don’t update website designs, which can be detrimental to them and their businesses. In both of the Bristol examples, these are two shops that fill their niche very nicely. They’re focused on their shop-experience: Whilst one caters to your every need in shop, the other gives you the feel for a proper comic shop. The two businesses are vastly different; yet it’s clear to me that both of them don’t feel the need to update to a more modern website, to keep up with the vast demand of the times… And that’s quite sad. But at the same time, for someone like me who’s a little bit of an internet ‘old hat’, having been browsing happily since the 90s, it’s quite remarkable and exciting.
True, the savings these two shops made is probably astronomical, compared to having someone come in and make them a brand new website: But sometimes, just sometimes, it wouldn’t hurt these companies to reach out to the modern era. As I mentioned previously, I mean no ill-will towards either business, for they are both good at their respective niches… I just thought it’d be fun on a typical manic Monday to stop for a second and appreciate a website that just hasn’t caught up with the times.
What do you think? Are websites like these still fun to navigate, through all of their flaws? Do websites this old and outdated have a place on the modern internet? Should these companies be reaching out for brand new websites effective immediately? Let me know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. Who knows: Perhaps this article will shed some light on these sites to someone who is looking for their next project.