By July 2, 2020

The Evolution of Website Design

The architecture of websites evolves in a similar way to brick and mortar architecture. Both change to reflect the progression of tastes and technology. With the world wide web having been invented over 30 years ago, how quickly has website design really changed?

 

The First Website

The first ever website is radically different to the sites of today, consisting of only text and hyperlinks. It really only served one purpose: to show people what the world wide web was, and how it could be used.    

The only programming language available to the websites of the early 1990s, was HyperText MarkUp Language (HTML) which left little possibility for creative design. Web pages would be made up entirely of text, black writing on a white background, with the addition of blue hyperlinks. The linear format of these pages most closely resembles the world processing programs used today, such as Microsoft word.  

 

Images

The Graphic User Interface became popular in the mid 1990s since the original line command interfaces were regarded as difficult to use. This new interface introduced the use of images and graphic icons. It was at this time that graphic designers began to become involved in website design, which brought about changes such as the use of tables rather than linear structures. The mid 1990s saw the internet move out from the fringes, becoming more widely and popular.

 

Music, Video and Animations

By the late 1990s a new software programme had been created: this included Flashenabled websites to feature auto-visual elements, as well as increase the potential for user interaction. The vogue for web designers at this time was to create the most visually impressive site possible, one that called for users to interact with it. Although the popularity of Flash was short lived, it altered the way websites were being used and designed. Most notably, the increased and simplified interactions allowed for a more aesthetic focus.

 

Greater Flexibility

It was not long after the birth of Flash that programmers identified an issue brought about by the increased number of people online, namely, website speed. The problem of loading speed, along with the desire to simplify the process of creating a website, motivated the invention of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). The main focus of CSS was to separate content (HTML) with style, which could be coded through the CSS language. This majorly simplified the process of website creation, allowing individuals with little programming knowledge to create their own sites (although the success of these was limited).

 

Functionality and Flat Design  

The next big breakthrough in website design came in the 2010s, not in the form of a specific programme or language, but a new approach to website design, called Responsive Web Design. This focused on a site’s ability to be used on multiple forms of device, which resulted in the trend of Flat Design.  Flat design prioritized efficiency, with a more minimal, two-dimensional visual appearance. Since content and information remain a priority for internet users, Flat Design has remained a popular choice to this day. A modern website design agency has to know how to incorporate flat design with responsive sites that look good on all devices.

 

Website design has come a very long way in its relatively short lifetime, and with the online world being more popular than ever before, it is not likely to slow down any time soon.

Posted in: Editorial

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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