How Has Web Design Evolved Over The Years?

The web design world is constantly evolving. Popular trends of yesteryear are now a distant memory. Web design trends are usually linked to advances in technology. Technology changes how people learn information, communicate, and lead their everyday lives. It also plays an important role in web design. The team at EverConvert is committed to being on the cutting edge of the evolution of web design techniques and strategies, pushing the envelope to develop sites that generate traffic, leads, and sales.

The following is a breakdown of how web design trends have changed over the years.

The Late 1980s – The Dark Ages of Web Design

The official invention of the Internet is credited to Tim Berners- Lee, who was a physicist back in 1989. While he was creating a database of software for his client, he used hypertext to create an index of pages on the system, which eventually evolved into what’s currently referred to as web pages. The late 1980s are known as the dark ages of web design where designers would work on black screens with pixels. Designs comprised of symbols and tabulation.

1991 – Web Pages Are Introduced

Tim Berners-Lee, who is considered the forefather of web design launched the first web page on August 6, 1991, with the help of his team. It was a simple page that contained information about the World Wide Web and was hosted on a computer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN.

1993 – Search is introduced

The world was introduced to ALIWEB (Archie like Indexing for the Web) just 2 years after the World Wide Web was launched. ALIWEB is considered the first search engine. It was established back in November 1993 and provided users with helpful links to the best content on the Web. You can start seeing how design is slowly coming to life.

ALIWEB’s goal was to help users find helpful information. The platform wanted its users to be drawn into the website links. It used a colored background to help draw attention to the most important elements of the page.

1994 – Ads Introduced to Web Design

Online marketing is much older than most people assume. While numerous sites became overcrowded with ads in the 1990s, Hotwire, which now goes by the name Wired added the world’s first banner ad into its website header back in 1994. Here, web design is growing in terms of complexity.

The page by Hotwire had just minimal text and more design elements for engaging the users. The Internet boom continued. By mid-1994, there were about 2738 websites, but by the end of the same year, they were over 10,000.

1995 – JavaScript is introduced

JavaScript, which is arguably the most important web programming language was introduced in the mid-1990s. It was originally known as Mocha and later LiveScript. It was invented for the purpose of allowing Netscape website developers to automate behaviors in web design.

Simply put, it translates static pages into pages that users can interact with without the need to wait for a new page to lead whenever they make a request. The new technology eventually led to the introduction of interactive elements, such as embedded forms in websites and drop-down menus.

1996 – Flash Rises

Adobe Flash, which was originally known as FutureSplash was an innovative technology that gave web designers the freedom to create a more dynamic website through the integration of video, audio, and animation. Flash dominated web design throughout 1996 until the early 2000s.

2004-2006: Standard Website Layout Dominates

The early to mid-2000s was a time when the standard website layout that everyone is now accustomed to really developed. It was during this time that websites were often designed with top navigation and left bar categories.

Web designers had started to realize that pages containing too much text were becoming unacceptable for users and that users were more likely to interact with website content if it was actually categorized for them.

Websites written completely in Flash were incredibly popular during this period since HTML was incredibly limited. Flash allowed websites to do things in terms of design that HTML simply could not. Scrolling was also incredibly unpopular and web pages were both short and narrow.

2007 – The Era of Mobile

Today, smartphones and other mobile devices have completely changed how people use and think about the Web. However, the situation before 2007 was completely different. The vast majority of websites were not “mobile-friendly”.

Using the Web on mobile devices was quite frustrating and this forced web designers to find a better approach to mobile web design. The launch of the first iPhone in 2007 is one of the reasons why changes had to be made regarding web design to allow users to better access the Web on their mobile devices.

2010 – The Rise of Responsive Design

Responsive design was introduced as a direct reaction to the growing popularity of using smartphones to access the Web. The technology allows web designers and developers to build websites that adjust automatically and scale to any size, regardless of the device that you are browsing on.

Today, responsive design is not just a trend but rather a necessity. To ensure that websites appear professional, credible, and actually give users pleasant browsing experience, web designers have to optimize for all devices.

2011-2015 – Web Design Evolves Further

During this period web design evolved further with websites taking on unique designs and styles as brands fought for distinctiveness. The popularity of mobile device usage also led to the widespread design of mobile websites and responsive design.

Magazine-like website layouts with columns as well as textures as opposed to single-color backgrounds also became trendy. There was also an emphasis on the use of infographics where information was organized via digital imagery.

Towards the end of the period, other design trends became more popular such as video backgrounds, parallax scrolling, and single color backgrounds and the increasing broadband internet speeds all over the globe allowed for this.

2016-2019 – Minimalist Design

Over the past several years, responsive design has grown in popularity, as websites change according to the device they are viewed on. Design trends have continued to dazzle and inspire. Responsive websites are preferred since they adapt to all screen sizes. Website owners want to be sure that their websites will offer a positive user experience regardless of the device in use.

To accommodate the needs of mobile users, most of the websites today feature minimal text, large fonts, unique navigational panels, intuitive forms, and high-resolution images. Instead of filling up your screen with unnecessary information, websites now strive to provide a streamlined user experience and satisfy the needs of visitors.

2020 and Beyond

It is obviously difficult to speculate how websites are likely to change over the next several years. However, experts predict that emphasis will probably shift to websites as works of art as opposed to being purely functional.

When it comes to layout, navigation buttons have moved further away from the top of the web page and are now spread all over the website. That trend is likely to continue. Users also now have to click less while browsing. Websites are likely to have even more simple and minimalist layouts in the near future.

Final Thoughts

Web design has changed in so many ways, both subtle and explicit, that the changes featured here are only starting to scratch the surface. It might be hard to imagine this, but the Web of the future will probably be unrecognizable from what most people are familiar with today.

Technology drove advances in web design, but currently, web design is at a point where it is no longer limited by technology. Today, just about anyone can find anything he/she wants online and that’s one thing that probably won’t change in the near future. Make sure that your business is the one being found by potential customers with the help of the web design team at EverConvert. Contact us today and receive your free SEO analysis to learn how we can help you turn your website into a sales generation tool for your business, because:

Sales Cures All!

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