After Wired attempted to redesign Craigslist, (with predictably bad results) a opinion piece (paywalled) in the WSJ suggests that Craigslist's look is what users really want.

I'd take that a step further...

The original design of HTML 1.1 and its presentation in early web browsers gave users what they really wanted. Black and white text, that goes all the way across the screen, is readable on any screen, and scrolls all the way down to the end of the document. Links. Maybe some images.

No foofaraw of sidebars and mastheads; no bother with zooming to make the content part of the page readable, no need to search the cluttered page to find the print button so you can read the whole article without clicking "Next" 10 times.

We didn't know it at the time, but that was a subtle part of the early appeal of the web circa 1994. The minimalism sucked you in, it made the web feel like one coherent, unified thing, unlike the constellation of corporate edifices occupying much of it today.

In Craigslist, early Google, somewhat in Wikipedia, I see echos of that minimalism, filtered through all the ways that have emerged to enhance, and pollute the original vision of the web.

So, how long until a resurgence in web design minimalism?

PS, It's really no accident, nor is it entirely due to laziness that my own site looks like it does.