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The Evolution Of Website Design

As the Millennium turned things were really accelerating online, the web was getting widely used by businesses as they realised it was the future, even if they weren’t too sure how to use it as yet it was clear that claiming a stake was a good idea.

Download speeds kept bulking up so it was becoming possible to view the low-quality video, graphics and photographs could be used much more extensively and some new technology began to emerge with the web designers squarely in mind. That’s why things changed so quickly when we look at the Evolution of Web Design; Early 2000s.

The first website was not really about the UI, rather it was created to serve information. Memorable web design elements from 1990s websites include text documents strung together by inline links, background images sliced up into tables, and flash animation splash pages.

Example of early Amazon website, a very simple text-based layout written in HTML with a few redirect links.

Flash starting to make an appearance. This result in a very eye-catching rainbow colour websites.

Marvel promoted their movie, Captain Marvel, using this very design since Captain Marvel movie dates back in the 90s. Long before the Avengers are assembled. *no spoiler I promise.

The Industrial Revolution of web design begins with the birth of Web 2.0; it’s at this time things really begin to move toward the modern web. The growth of multimedia applications, the implementation of interactive content, and the rise of the social web are a few definitive features of this period.

Moreover, these features largely dictated the way web design was well, done. Aesthetic changes included better colour distribution, increased use of icons, and greater attention to typography.

Design became about content and, apart from that pesky Flash, content became about SEO. With the user now firmly at the centre of design, selling products (at least explicitly) became the secondary function of websites.

Meanwhile, horrified by the early Frontpage era, businesses had begun promoting a different approach to web design which was all about sober white space and limited colour palettes, much like a company report might look. In this area, another coding innovation helped web designers make this move into a precise design that was easy to maintain, update and adjust as required by a fast-moving business.

In less than a decade, the number of websites exploded. It comprised millions of pages. Sir Tim Berners-Lee figured out he could connect web pages with what we all know today as hypertext.

That is why many ventured out in finding a way to search through those pages to find specific content to queries.

On that premise, at the end of the 90s search engines, like Google, sprouted up. In fact, PageRank was the foundation of Google, an algorithm that could rank pages on the web based on the popularity of each page.

This is how Netflix started out. Well isn’t that entertaining?

As you can see and remeber, web design in the year 2000 wasn’t so evolved like these days. Emphasis was on practicality on design evolution. Nowadays, most successful sites are based on simplicity and utility. Look at Apple’s website and you will easily understand what I’m trying to say.

This is the era we are currently living on. We have 2 most dominant Mobile OS that serves millions of customers. With that many users, we have taken the desktop experience to mobile. Websites now have to serve 2 interfaces for both mobile and desktop while serving the same purpose and functions.

Once content reaches a certain length, mobile apps need to use long scrolling. And that’s not a bad thing! Mobile users actually prefer continuous scrolling, and this technique conserves screen space while making interaction more fun with gestures. Like minimalism and the hamburger menu, long scrolling is another mobile design trend that has transferred over to desktop because of its popularity.

Unlike desktop screens, mobile apps can switch between portrait and landscape views at will. For designers and website owners, this is a blessing and a curse. Two screen orientations allow for more functionality and better user personalization, but it can often require twice as much design work.