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What The First-Ever Website Teaches Us About Usability

Created: 30 Jun 2011 • Updated: 03 Jun 2014 • 2 comments
Reshma Kumar's picture
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The below is the earliest known screenshot captured of what the first-ever website looked like.

This early creation still represents the basic tenets of good design and usability. For instance, it is highly readable and provides great contrast with a very basic white background and black text. There is no gratuitous imagery. It utilizes the times roman font-face at a legible font-size. There are blue, underlined links clearly defined which we have all come to recognize as clickable. The page is written concisely with information-carrying words hyperlinked - notice there are no "click here's". And, I bet it scales to any resolution, is cross-browser compatible, and is mobile-browser friendly :).

Twenty years later from when this web page first went live, it is still a winner in terms of ease of use and usability.

First-Ever Website

(Image sources: and BusinessInsider)

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nicky's picture

This is a very nice post.I appreciate the information and i will be checking back frequently for more post like these.

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Graeme Speak's picture

This is rubbish! The WWW first started with text-only screens (green characters on black background) limited to 80 characters/line. There was no graphic, no white, no scaling to fit the screen as we only had dumb monitors.

First time I used it was early 1990's with a 2400 baud modem. It was pretty cool - click on a bolded word and you'd be sucked through a portal instantly onto a server on the other side of the planet.

Design in those days was only text layout.


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