In 2015 we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of our web presence. Time for a look back:
The 1995 homepage
Our first webpage in 1995 was green and very long. There were some pictures and even some blinking text. SOS was the first and for a while the only Australian printing company to come up in a yahoo search (this was PG, pre-Google).
The website was (supposed to be) very informational, describing services and offering tips and tricks on how to best deal with the complicated art of printing.
We hosted our own web server and our own mail services. We encouraged customers to send us files via email, until one customer sent us a 700 page training manual as a postscript file with a size of over 50 MB. Our service provider Magnadata was down for half a day and we bought a Jaz Drive for that customer.
Our next page was much more refined, it had icons that grew on rollover, thanks to Java Script. The page looked fairly dynamic, yet organised. It got us our first web design contract, a web site for a computer training company, which we produced within two months including training them in setting up and updating their course schedules in html.
In 1996 Netscape Navigator had the lion’s share of the browser market (90%) and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was in version 2.
In 1997 we used 3D look bevelled buttons, at that time only achievable with a complex, multi-step Photoshop action, the very latest in high class information design. Obviously we totally overdid it.
Our logo also did not really benefit from the white halo around it, but the black background was v-cool and survived a few variations.
The fast page
One of these variations was the word page, extremely fast loading as the front page was just made up of text in bright colours.
The cryptic page
We thought our Morse page was fun and simplistic, but it was neither recognised nor appreciated by anyone, so its online days were numbered. The LED news line was also not popular and hardly anybody made it past the front page.
Back to Standard Menus
In 1998 we went back to a standard menu on the left, which seemed to be where everybody was expecting it.
File Transfers was the most important section, our in house FTP server got busier the more companies acquired high speed internet (high speed at that time was ISDN, 128 k).
Our pre-millenium end of the world page showed our versatility, central to the image was a floppy disk, symbolising digital data transfer. A Floppy Disk was a flexible, magnetic plastic disk that could hold up to 1.44 megabytes of data. We also had Syquest disks, ZIP and Jaz disks and a DAT tape recorder.
We also had four different versions of Microsoft’s Word on our computers, as they all formatted, displayed and printed documents differently.
A Custom Built CMS
From 2000 on we spent most of our web development time on client sites, with ordering and job tracking systems, reporting, and other database driven functionality that linked in to our internal systems. Our own website was less important and updates were rare.
Our 2003 site was based on a fully in house written content management system, completely database driven and very flexible. The design was fresh, linked to the new logo and this site stayed online for many years.
Functionality was extended, forms, calculators and other useful things added. This front page was our longest lasting.
A Joomla Site
In 2009 we used Joomla, an open source content management system to build our site. Using a popular CMS like that provided flexibility and ease of use, we updated content more often, and included live twitter feeds, newsletters, statistics and multi media content.
now powers more than 33% of all web pages, an incredible market share.
We have tested and evaluated a lot of digital asset and content management systems, Contenido, Typo3, Drupal, Al Fresco, Magento, Concrete5 to name a few.
WordPress is easy to set up and use, help and advice are easy to get as there are millions of people using it and thousands developing for it. From a brochure site to a full e-commerce shop front, you can build almost anything with wordpress.