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Silktide Timeline

Our history

For 20 years, Silktide has been helping people to make the web a better place. Brace yourselves for some dated website screenshots – here’s our timeline.

2001 – Silktide is born

With quite possibly the best logo in the world, Silktide came into being on 27th June 2001 as a web design company. The company was founded by Oliver Emberton, who at the time had mountains of student debt, the social confidence of an asthmatic field mouse, and a business partner who punched him in the face.

Original Silktide logo from 2001

The 2003-2006 Silktide website

We found some screenshots of the Silktide site through the early years in an office drawer. So we scanned them in, faxed them to ourselves, and we present them here.

Old Silktide website screenshots circa 2005

2004 – Sitescore is launched

Sitescore was Silktide’s first iteration of a website testing and scoring platform. It was designed to help us find issues with client websites and was mainly used as a lead-generation tool for new business.

The free version allowed users to type in a URL and get a useful report on various aspects of a webpage.

It accidentally became incredibly popular, so much so that we had radio and TV coverage around the world.

2005 – Sitescore Enterprise is created

Sitescore Enterprise was a paid version of Sitescore, with a lot more features. It tested for and gave a score against a range of website criteria including:

  • Accessibility
    How accessible the site is
  • Quality
    How well built and how good the quality is
  • Search Score
    How effectively the site is search-engine optimized
  • Sitescore
    The overall summary based on the above scores

By 2006, the seeds were already sown for the future of Silktide as a software development company, rather than a web design agency.

2009 – Nibbler launches

Nibbler has been our free website testing tool for over ten years. It gives you information on a wide range of factors affecting your web presence.

From our launch blog post about Nibbler, “It takes a 5 page sample of any website and rates it for a tonne of criteria, covering accessibility, SEO and social networking among others. We even tell you how dated your website looks: fear the words “your website is sooo 1995”.

Here’s how Nibbler looked on launch.

2010 – Silktide retires from web design

By 2010, our website testing software was gaining traction. We no longer wanted to focus on web design. Why? Put simply, we wanted more control over our future, so we gave it up after 10 successful years.

By the end of the year, Silktide had launched a new website.

2010 – Sitebeam and Siteray

Sitebeam launches as a self-service, agency-focused platform to help web agencies test client websites.

Siteray was created as the Enterprise-focused version of Sitebeam. Eventually, the two products merged into one, called SiteBeam

Sitebeam screenshot showing score calculations

2012 – Cookie Consent is born

Out of frustration with the EU Cookie Law, we created Cookie Consent so that businesses could add an annoying popup to their websites that the majority of users would subsequently ignore.

Our microsite, NoCookieLaw, poked fun at the ICO for its well-meaning but ultimately poorly-thought-out law. We also had some coverage in a BBC article about it.

At least the ICO responded in a tweet.

2014 – Haystack is launched

Built upon the technology powering Nibbler, Haystack was the first iteration of Silktide Prospect, our enterprise platform to enable agencies to sell more service to their clients.

It checked things like social media presence, advertising, local search results, mobile compatibility, organic search, and popularity.

It was essentially a paid version of Nibbler with far more features, and aimed at web agencies.

2016 – Insites is launched

Insites eventually became Silktide Monitor, (currently just ‘Silktide’).  Built on all our existing web testing technology, it started to resemble our current product.

The main modules were Quality, Experience, Marketing, Accessibility, and Technology.

Insites introduced testing in a real web browser – which means we could test your website after everything, including scripts, have loaded. This allows Silktide to test in mobile devices, and to can find problems that no other software could.

2017 – Insites Ecommerce is launched

To expand our offering to non-Enterprise clients, we added a self-service version of Insites, so that smaller business could get access to our product.

We also created a launch video.

2018 – Silktide Monitor is launched

Building on and essentially renaming Insites, Monitor became the core of Silktide’s web testing software, covering Quality, Experience, Marketing, GDPR, Accessibility, Technology, and lots more.

2018 – Silktide Prospect is launched

Haystack becomes Silktide Prospect.

It was a good opportunity for a re-brand so we came up with the striking black and yellow design.

2019 – Silktide goes remote

We sold the Cookie Consent plugin, and permanently retired our legacy SiteBeam product.

By 2019, Silktide Monitor and Silktide Prospect had become our flagship products.

In November, we decided to become a fully-remote company, which on reflection now seems quite prophetic.

Silktide monitor screenshot

2019 – Disability simulator launched

We built our disability simulator Chrome plug so that developers can experience their website in a number of different ways.

It includes a screen reader, a color-blindness simulator, a dyslexia simulator, a myopia simulator, and more

2020 – Silktide Index launches

We created the Silktide Index, which ranks global websites for accessibility, to start a conversation in the public sector of the importance of accessibility.

We launched with UK public sector sites because the EU Web Accessibility Directive was coming into force in September. The results are published monthly.

Silktide index

2020 – Remote working and new website

We became a fully-remote company.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced our hand a little earlier than we’d planned, but ultimately, as a remote team, we’ve seen no decrease in productivity or general ‘togetherness’. Quite the opposite in fact.

We also extensively updated our website and content.

Silktide website screenshot from 2020

The future?

We’ve got a lot on our plate, but some excellent plans for the long term. We’re always growing, so this means you should come and work for us.

Our flagship product, Silktide, is our web governance platform. It enables public and private sector organizations to effectively manage and monitor their web estate.

There’s a lot more to come, so watch this space.