The internet has not always been a bright and beautiful place — a place where competent Tumblr designs are free and HTML coding is a second language. In fact, many major websites were pretty ugly just ten years ago. One such website was the official NASA page, always home to a plethora of perspective-shifting knowledge but not always home to a sleek, user-friendly platform.

For reference, here's a screenshot from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine of NASA.gov circa 2001:

Hideous.

Thankfully, Tom Cruise visited the NASA offices during this era and suggested an overhaul.

According to former NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe at a recent Center for Strategic and International Studies panel, Cruise complimented the vast amount of knowledge readily available on the agency's site. However, he — like everyone who hates really ugly websites — felt the presentation could use some serious work.

From Softpedia:

“He told me, ‘You've got this great website with tons of information on it and it's perfectly designed for a lot of research faculty across the globe, I guess, [and] that is going to be of interest to them — but to the rest of us, it's three clicks to oblivion and you go [to] the next thing and you find yourself nowhere.'"

O'Keefe says that, shortly after Cruise's visit, NASA worked with one of his handpicked "tech heads" to ensure that the new version of the NASA website was "more appealing and laypeople-friendly." I like to imagine Cruise is on some sort of design quest — out to rid the world of unbearably grotesque websites — and that we'll get another story like this every ten years or so.

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