1996 Fast forward to 2016 ... Then and now

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The year when the Macarena dance craze swept the nation, Mission Impossible hit the silver screens, google.com was launched and more importantly the year ARM was founded.

We have recently re-designed our website, and after weeks of planning, building content, liaising with departments and tiring late nights it’s finally here; A new website we can be proud of.

But what did the website look like 20 years ago? What would a website look like when dungarees and the spice girls were fashionable?

Delving into internet archaeology, we can bring to you the ARM look of 1996! 


…A mess of pixels, bad fonts and poor colour choices (sorry Paul!).

But how bad was this site really, let’s take a look at some other sites in comparison: 

How about the BBC:


Or MSN (An internet tutorial anyone?):


To be fair to Paul, he managed to at least centralise the page and choose colours that aren't that offensive to the eye.

Web design back then was a whole different kettle of fish to how it is today. No-one really knew the scope of what CSS design (the code that makes a website look pretty) could do for your average web page and the potential it had. Flash animations had just been introduced and Javascript (Which make all those cool page transitions and fancy navigation bars today) had only just been standardised by the boffins at Netscape (and if you don’t know who Netscape are you’re clearly too young!).

Back in 1996 you were lucky if you got a few minutes of someone's time on your website. Remember this is Dial Up where it took 30 seconds to load a page, on average people spent half an hour a month on the web and using the internet meant you couldn't use the phone. 

For small businesses web pages were used, more often than not, as a digital business card; a place-holder page that gave a very brief overview of company values and contact details. It was very hard to generate traffic to your site if you didn't know what you were doing.

Paul himself admits they had no knowledge of SEO at the time: 

“To be honest we had zero SEO or knowledge of such things back then. It was simply a web page to backup what I used to say on the phone. That plus the occasional brochure. Whilst believing in the internet, it was far more effective for us to target our clients and work our magic via the phone or face to face. We always used to challenge our clients, asking to be judged by our performance on their hardest to fill roles.”

These artefacts of the past all came about in an age before social media where picking up the phone was the only real option we had to recruitment, unlike today where sites like LinkedIn are utilised for networking to other potential clients and candidates. Not to say we don’t still use the phone, but social media has opened a whole wide world to recruitment, making it easier and faster to connect to people.

Although its fun to look at the past and point with glee and horror at the basic sites of yesteryear, it also shows how much design and business has changed in a few short years with the unlimited potential that the web had, and continues, to offer.

We are very proud of our new site, but we are also very proud of our heritage, no matter how bad it may have looked.

Let us know in the comments below what you think of our new (or old) website.