As a fan of movies, I decided to peruse the Hollywood neighborhood of GeoCities to find a website that interested me. It did not take too long for me to come across one that grabbed my attention. The person who designed and maintained this website, titled “Simply The Best: Film Multimedia” and with the URL https://geocities.restorativland.org/Hollywood/Movie/1985/, went by the username Roebaggs. Since the “Charts” subpage contains box office numbers almost entirely for the UK, and in British pounds, the author likely hailed from Britain. The last update to the website seems to have been in 2004, according to the copyright at the bottom of the home page, but much of the film-related content is from no later than the late 1990s and early 2000s. Other than these facts, no other information can be found about the site’s creator.
This GeoCities site was made for film enthusiasts and other people who may be interested in movie-related images and sound clips. The creator of the site offers film wallpapers and sound effects for personal use, as well as movie reviews and links to purchase movie magazines. As the author states on the home page, the site is also meant to promote the film industry and encourage movie fans to go to the theater and purchase physical media such as VHS or DVD. Therefore, culturally, this website serves as a representation of film and other multimedia works, as well as the people who create and consume such media.
The primary content on the website is the wallpaper gallery – the owner of the site offers freely downloadable wallpapers, some of which they created themselves and others that they sourced from other people (with credit attributed when possible.) Therefore, not only movie lovers identify with and consume this website, but artists and graphic designers do, too. In fact, artists who want their work displayed and their identities known to the users who download their wallpaper artwork would also be contributing to the website’s production by submitting their creations and being credited for them. In doing so, these artists become part of the website. The legal note and personal note at the bottom of the home page invite this collaboration and consumption by acknowledging how these images should be credited and how they should be used.
Judging from the relatively sophisticated design elements of this website, its creator put a large amount of time and effort into designing and maintaining it. There is a side menu, a banner, animated scrolling text updates, and a tasteful palette of colors. The side menu and banner both feature film poster imagery, communicating immediately to site visitors that this GeoCities website represents film. The website is also very well organized, with several subpages linked through the side menu that are clearly labeled with what they contain. The main background color of all pages is black, and most of the text is white, which makes the website easy to read (particularly in the dark) and consistent throughout navigation. However, the colorful imagery in the banner and menu provides visual interest in contrast with the simple but clean black-and-white text content. Together, the clean aesthetics of the website must have been inviting to users, and visitors would likely come back to the website rather than being scared away by poor design present on some other contemporary GeoCities sites.
The sophistication of the design, especially given the time when it was created, speaks to the creativity that GeoCities inspired and enabled in the 1990s and early 2000s. People could create simple sites for personal use, some of which were visually unappealing due to lack of knowledge or lack of effort, but people could also push the limits of web design if they so desired. The site I selected, in my opinion, is a great example of what was possible on GeoCities when website creators dedicated more time to the production of their website and used the flexibility of the hosting platform to their advantage.