home.cern goes retro to commemorate 30 years of the Web

Apr 02, 2019

Update 2 April 2019: Did you fall for our joke? We’ve rolled the changes back and home.cern is once again available with our beautiful, modern design.


From today, visitors to home.cern will find themselves immersed in nostalgia as CERN’s home page adopts a retro aesthetic, in honour of the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web. The change comes only months after the pages were redesigned and is the result of intense deliberation by experts at the laboratory since the Web@30 celebrations on 12 March.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the Web at CERN in 1989, reminded the Web@30 audience that more than half the world is not yet online. “We want them all to become connected as soon as possible, but they would miss out on the playful quality of the early Web,” remarks Charlotte Warakaulle, CERN’s Director for International Relations. “I’m therefore thrilled that we can preserve this quality by changing our home page from today.” To commemorate the occasion, the CERN Web Team has been rebranded and will henceforth be referred to by the moniker Team Berners-Lee, in Sir Tim’s honour.

Several changes are being made to the website to tailor the experience. For example, rather than operating on a dedicated server, the website will be deployed on the laptops of members of Team Berners-Lee on a weekly basis. The first contributor is Sotirios Rebootas, the head of Team Berners-Lee. “Our modern servers are extremely fast and they would detract from the experience of browsing the Web as we did in the ’90s. So we decided to change our infrastructure a little,” he explains. “The downside is I have to share a laptop with my colleague this week, giving pair-programming a whole new meaning.”

home.cern,Computers and Control Rooms

One of the laptops which will act as the server for home.cern (Image: Julien Ordan/CERN)

On the website itself, flashing images with the words “NEW” and “FEATURED” will highlight specific pieces of content. “The lack of any other visual cues should reproduce the challenge of finding information that we experienced on early Web pages. I can’t compute why this would pose a problem,” remarks Kate Krawle, the head of Editorial Contentment. “Minimalism, minimalism, minimalism. I should probably have said that just once, but you get the idea.”

We will display a counter of all visits to our website from today and links to social media will be removed. To make the experience truly enjoyable for those with fast computers, we are working on a script that will run in the background for such visitors, maximising their browser’s RAM usage to further enhance the trip down, er, memory lane. Team Berners-Lee recommend browsing home.cern with the soothing sounds of a 56kbps modem playing in the background.

These changes will only affect the main page for the first week of April, while all other pages will retain the look and feel of the redesign implemented in November 2018 for now. Changes to the rest of home.cern will be rolled out over the coming weeks. You won’t miss the flashing “NEW” signs! Feedback on the proposed changes may be sent via snail mail to

Team Berners-Lee
Post box: J00820
CERN
CH-1211 Geneva 23
Switzerland


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