The design team, time machine

As we get nearer to a new decade, we took Sam, Jason and Richard from our creative team at Tangent, back in a time machine to see what their first site was like and to see how times have changed.

Sam - Creative Director:

The first site I designed was Cardozagames.com. I say designed; it was on a white label poker platform where I basically filled in the gaps.
This was in the days of more is more! I tried to break borders where I could, but the frame work was limited (A total width of less than 900px). The main banner was Flash, so we could have some animation there and use non-standard web fonts. Every piece of copy you see below is an image, apart from the plain Arial in the 2nd and 3rdcolumn.
Bevels’, drop shadows, shines, type variation and rounded corners were all part of my arsenal - skeuomorphic design was hot!!!
My bosses thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. I’m not sure any designers outside of the gambling industry ever saw it, but it was comparable with the relatively low bar of design quality that existed within the industry.

Jason - Lead UX Designer:

So, we’re going back to 2009/10 here…
I had to design and build a microsite (in three days!) to support a drive on sales for a limited-edition Saab convertible car. It was optimised for 800 x 600 and I built it purely in Adobe Flash. All the animation and navigation were done with ActionScript 2.0 and using a Greensock tweening engine to obtain all the animation easing effects. This was the main reason it was built in Flash, to achieve the desired movement and animation, as HTML 5.0 was only released in 2008 (if my memory serves me correct!) and animation wasn’t that far advanced.
It also meant we could use and embed the Saab corporate font without having to use any replacement fonts in the browser. Needless to say, that the site is no longer live, since Saab dissolved not long after it was launched, however I still kept a copy of the microsite!

Richard - Experience Design Director:

Thames Water – 2010
My first real UX project (although I’m not sure we called it UX back then). I’ve worked on quite a few projects for Thames Water over the years, but this was the first site I lead the design on. It looks very basic by today’s standards, but it still stands up well from a UX perspective.
  • Key links (Pay your bill etc.) positioned following F shape reading pattern
  • AA accessibility
  • Clear CTA and way finding
  • Flexibility & scalability of modules.
Davis cup – 2013
Another example of skeuomorphic design from the 2000’s. Maybe not as extreme as some examples, but the bevels, drop shadows and shiny buttons are all still present. We delivered this site as part of a larger project which involved the ITF and FED CUP sites (ladies version of Davis Cup). Takes me back to when large background images, repeating patterns and gradients were a thing! Happy days. Little did we know responsive design was just around the corner and everything was about to change.