If you’ve been alive long enough, then you’ll probably remember:

  • Walkmans being cool
  • Pyramids being freshly painted
  • Some of the antique HTML techniques

Left Menu With Background

The idea is: you take a long background and paint the left side dark:

The technique was the second popular after Michael Jackson. Back in the day when the background-color property didn’t exist yet, it was a smart invention to combine page background with two-column table over it.

We still live with the legacy of this quick fix. That’s the reason why we look for navigation on the left side of the screen, even to this day.

Round Corners With Tables

Life is good in 2017: people enjoy Snapchat and the border-radius CSS property.
Not back in 1996. People used to hunt mammoths and make round corners with tables:

This insanely beautiful button would have cost you just 8 images and a table 3×3.

UI Kits From Hell

This is where Bootstrap came from.

Nostalgia? Give your present website a touch of beauty.

Best Viewed in…

Browsers were part of the webmaster’s personality:

Everything Under Construction

Somehow it became common to deploy things that don’t exist.


Home pages were covered with awards like the chests of small time dictators.

We must admit these awards are fake. We didn’t deserve them. They come from Paper Rad. Here’s some more.
A variation of this scam is the software awards scam. In one notorious case, the software with the description “This program does nothing at all” won 16 awards:

It’s hard to believe that the award scam still exists in the software downloads industry. After submitting our Icons8 App to Softpedia, they offered to give us the “100% clean” label.
The art of creating awards is still preserved.

Table Guys

Table guys are those who resisted CSS even into the iPhone era. They pointed out the poor browser support for CSS and kept mastering the art of speed typing.

I did it with our website once in 2009 and it looked okay. But everybody else refused to work with my code.

Did you ever write so many tables that your browser froze? Then you know something that we’ll call “table profiling”: optimization of the tables for faster rendering.


Son of thousands fathers Netscape. Usability disaster. Infant terrible of HTML. You won’t admit, but hey! You’ve tried it at least once. We know it. You know it. It’s ok.

For the nostalgic among you, you can reproduce it with CSS.

1×1.gif for Padding

Everybody had one. Padding-bottom was:

<br><img src=1x1.gif width=1 height=8></br> 

No spaces between the tags!

50 kb Limit

Pages weighed under 50 kb. Packing 100 kb into a single page made you a public enemy.

Image Maps

Maybe you even remember the name of your favorite image map editor.


Let’s scratch our memories together. Chances are, you’ll remember fondly:

  • Everyone had anonymous FTP. There are 1 million of those yet.
  • MIDI techno!
  • Your audio cassettes
  • Your first kiss
  • And your first alcohol poisoning.

Back to the point, which HTML tricks come to your mind? Leave your fond memories in the comments.

About the Author
Ivan Boyko is a founder of Icons8. He got his first job after drawing a banner with CTR of 43%. After years of creating icons, he specializes in rapid prototyping and backlog grooming.

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