A brief (18-year) history of silverorange.com

A look back at how our silverorange.com website has changed since 1999.

Timeline of silverorange.com website screenshots from 1999 to 2017
silverorange.com from 1999—2017

At the 18th anniversary of the founding of silverorange, we've been looking back at how our silverorange.com website has changed with our business.

We’ve always kept our silverorange website intentionally simple. First, it exemplifies how we value simple, fast, and effective websites over heavier and fancier alternatives. Second, we wanted to avoid the usual “tell the world what great work you do” and to instead let our work and reputation tell the story.

Here’s a quick look at our silverorange.com website through the ages.

v1.0: The Beginning (1999—2000)

Screenshot of silverorange website in 1999 and 2000 with simple layout

The first iteration of our website was build in ColdFusion on the back-end, with a few simple pages. The layout fit nicely into a 640×480 screen, but floated comfortably in the middle of a luxurious 1024×768 display (thanks to the powerful HTML <table> ). Internet Explorer 5 was the state-of-the art web browser.

v1.1: Frames! (2000—2002)

Screenshot of silverorange website in 2000 to 2002 with simple layout and sidebar

While we were apparently still happy with the original style of our site, we needed room to showcase our news and special projects. With the astounding but controversial power of HTML Frames, we kept our existing simple site, but added a sidebar. Here, we showcased our in-house web-based team communication tool, the silverorange intranet (think Slack, but with the tech of 1999).

v2.0: Pixel-sharp (2002—2008)

Screenshot of silverorange website in 2002 to 2008 with pixelated aesthetic

In 2002, we significantly redesigned our site, with a crisp, pixel-sharp style and flexible layout (still <table>-based). This style is a personal favourite of mine and served us for six years with only minor updates. The site also transitioned from ColdFusion to PHP on the back-end—a good move, in hindsight.

v3.0: The Darkness (2008—2014)

Screenshot of silverorange website in 2008 to 2014 with simple dark layout

In 2008, the global financial system collapsed, which we unintentionally reflected in the dark tone of our website redesign. This design showcased clients of the time including Feist, Sloan, Bebo, Digg, Mozilla, and Duolingo.

v3.5: Cards (2014—2016)

Screenshot of silverorange website in 2008 to 2014 with two-column dark layout

In 2014, we kept the dark tone (and subtle, but internally controversial, pin-striped background) and redesigned with our first mobile-friendly responsive version of the silverorange site. This version was intended to show our core set of long-term clients, and implicitly suggest that we weren’t looking for new clients at the time.

v4.0: Single Page App (2016-PRESENT)

Screenshot of silverorange website from 2016 to present with simple light grey layout

In 2016, we redesigned with the simplest version of our site since it’s launch in 1999. Unlike the more elaborate single-page applications (SPA) we’ve built for clients with tools like Ember and React, this site is literally just a single page of static HTML.

With this redesign, we limited ourselves to a result that would be quick to implement and easy to maintain. The two key use-cases I had in mind during this redesign were:

  1. A potential client looking to contact us.
  2. Me, looking up our postal code.

I can confirm that the design has at least addressed that second use-case.

We’ve since added a few pages to highlight when we’re hiring, but the basic main page still serves us well. We rely on our @silverorangeinc Twitter account and blog.silverorange.com (hosted via Medium) to share more about our company.

v4.1, 5.0, & Beyond (the glorious future)

Our current brutally simple site continues to serve us well enough, but I’m sure we’ll look to update and expand it at some point. Maybe we’ll use WebVR.