In South Africa, access to the Internet took place MUCH later than the rest of the northern hemisphere. With our dial-up 28.8 modems (I still remember 14.4) we withstood the screeching connection on our unstable
Telkom phone lines and waited with our breath held for the two little computer network icons to light up in the Windows 95 system tray. Then, we were in! We were CONNECTED! And at the speed of snail we could “surf the world wide web” and go wherever our hearts wanted to…within reason and the constraints of our iddy biddy modem speed and, of course, Telkom’s line offering.
If you remember any what I just spoke of in the paragraph above, you will also remember the kind of web sites we were used to accessing. They resemble nothing of the sites we are so accustomed to visiting today. Today it’s all bells and whistles, movement, video, sound, interactivity and live client-side data processing. Back then, it was…text. And maybe a grainy JPG or a very badly animated clipart GIF.
The reason the sites looked like they did, is because our infrastructure, our broadband was not capable of handling the requirements of graphic-intensive sites and media-rich content. So, text and links were the kings of the Net and the unnecessary use of images frowned upon. Although that still didn’t stop the barrage of animated gif’s for just about everything!
I found this site (linked below) and had to share it with you teachers. If you’re old enough to remember the Net in it’s early days and, more so, the sites that began, then take a look at What 12 of The World’s Biggest Websites Looked Like at the Beginning.
If you are keen on looking at what sites looked like at the very beginning of the Net… go check out the Internet Archive’s Wayback machine.