Looking back at web development over the past 30 years

Web Devlopment

Due to the technological revolution, we have seen some of the most significant developments in web design with layouts, design, and functionality. As a result, businesses compete fiercely for the most innovative and appealing web design in today’s world.

In the last ten years, we have seen an evolution in web design that reflects changing factors, tools, and technology. Around 1991, the first website was created, consisting of a simple text-based page with only a few links. Websites have advanced significantly in terms of speed and design process.

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World Without Websites

Websites are commonplace in our high-tech world, but have we ever considered how difficult life was before the internet and websites?

When I consider this question, I am reminded that the development of the internet and the creation of websites has resulted in a tremendous revolution for us. With the very high web chain all over the world, it has completely changed our human life.

However, how these websites were created and how they occupied our entire world.

The Period When It All Started

Tim Berners-Lee created the first web browser, WorldWideWeb, in 1990 (Thank You, Sir Tim Berners-Lee); however, it was eventually renamed Nexus. A web page could only display text at the time. There are no fancy fonts, pretty graphics, or movies, just introductory text with links underlined in blue.

Mosaic, the first web browser that allowed developers to add graphics to their websites, was released in 1993. It could support.gif graphics and web forms, which was a huge step forward for the time.

Due to browser limits and exceedingly sluggish connection speeds, website design possibilities were severely constrained. For example, websites containing excessive images, videos, or other graphic components would take too long to load.

The Web Design Journey

Nowadays, creative web design has allowed us to create rich user experiences while browsing the website. Previously, websites were only text-based, with rudimentary functionality and few visuals. When compared to early architecture, web design has evolved significantly.

Websites were primarily text-based about 30 years ago because they were accessed via dial-up modems, and designers had to be careful when working on web design. There needed to be navigation, layout, and complex visuals to make the website engaging and appealing.

Here are some significant breakdowns of how web design has evolved over the years

1989: Way Back When

Let’s start in 1989 when Al Gore invented the World Wide Web (a joke, but it’s real). Then, Tim Berners-Lee built the World Wide Web with the NeXTSTEP operating system (later purchased by Apple.)

Berners-Lee elaborates: “Creating the web was truly a desperate act, because the circumstances without it were quite tough when I later worked at CERN.”

Most of the technologies involved with the web, such as hypertext, the internet, and multi-font text objects, have already been designed. All I had to do was put them together.

It was a move toward generalization, a higher level of abstraction, and seeing all of the documentation systems out there as part of a more extensive hypothetical documentation system.

Tim Berners-Lee has been the director of the World Wide Web Consortium since his invention was revealed in 1990. (WC3). This organization creates software, tools, and specs to enhance the internet continuously.

Web Design and Development

During the early stages of website development, they were popular but also appeared lifeless and dull, with only text. Then, between 1995 and 1998, the advent of web development occurred to make websites more interactive and live.

When JavaScript enters the world of websites, responsiveness becomes a reality. JavaScript was the first programming language that could add dynamic or responsive effects to a static or steady website. JavaScript arose, giving birth to the “pop-up” window. However, the issue with JavaScript was that it made websites load slower.

When HTML 2.0 was released in 1995, it gave developers more creative freedom in page organization. HTML 2.0 supports images, tables, forms, and other features.

Flash first appeared in 1996. Flash is a cutting-edge technology that enables web designers to create highly interactive websites by linking or interacting with audio, video, and animation. At the time, audio, video, and animation were combined into a single file, which was then sent to the browser for display.

People were very interested in this type of website with multimedia elements.

The Early Web Design Days (1991-1994)

Tim Berners-Lee designed the first website on the World Wide Web while working at the Swiss research laboratory CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). You can still visit the essential CERN website, which was created to provide information to other researchers.

Berners-Lee is recognized as the first web designer and invented Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which he used to develop the CERN website. He went on to form the World Wide Web Consortium, which still controls web standards development today.

In the early days of web design, the table> function in HTML was the only option to arrange data by allocating it to columns and rows. There are no color blocks, images, or graphics, only text. A far cry from what we now consider “web design.”

The World Wide Web continued to expand, and the world’s first search engine was launched only two years later. ALIWEB (Archie Like Indexing for the Web) was a web page that grouped connections into computing, entertainment, living, money, magazine, recreation, research, and shopping categories.

ALIWEB also used color as a new method of organization. A yellow background separated the categories and helped users quickly find what they were looking for. ALIWEB, like the initial website, is still active today. Indeed, clicking the “BMW” link in the Auto category takes you to BMW’s current website.

As the number of websites increased, so did the idea of using website design to meet corporate objectives. Around 1993, landing pages appeared, enticing viewers with color and invitations to “Click Here to Enter” or “Sign Up Now.”

Hotwire (now Wired Magazine) created the first web banner ad in 1994 with the cryptic text, “Have you ever clicked your mouse right here? “You will.” Brilliant.

In the 1990s, websites became extremely popular. In 1991, there was one webpage. In 1994, there were a total of 2,738. And for reference, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon.com in 1994.

First Generation: HTML –

To go online in the 1990s, we needed a phone line. Everything we viewed on the internet was in HTML document format. This meant that anyone could see them as soon as they were available online. Because of the limitations of the technology, only a few colors and graphics could be employed. The first generation was more concerned with supplying information than with amusing.

“Previously, web designers were confined to simple layouts, text, tables, and links with no visuals.  Consider it the “Bronze Age” of web design. Even if websites were not design-centered at the time, developers were already considering ways to make their sites more visually appealing.”

The W3C, on the other hand, was the most significant development during these times. As a result, no single entity could own the web design code. If this had not occurred, the internet would be very different from what it is today.

The Evolution of Web Development (1995-2000)

It was time to get serious about effective design after the novelty of simply having a website worn off. The progress of web design and development from 1995 to 1998 would significantly alter the history of web design.

Here comes JavaScript in 1995. Because Javascript was the first computer language that could bring the motion to static websites with interactive effects, this is where design began to separate from development.

HTML 2.0 was also published in 1995 and supported images, forms, tables, and other features. This offered developers more leeway in terms of page organization.

As design and development tools became more advanced, web consumers began to expect more from their online experiences. As a result, at a computer systems conference, Apple coined the phrase “User Experience.”

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were introduced in 1996 and guided the display and style of HTML-coded design components such as color, layout, and typography. HTML and CSS were formidable, but CSS would eventually supplant HTML tables, except for data that required actual tabular presentation.

Macromedia Flash 1.0 dominated web animation. However, it was not without flaws. Animations could only be played if the Flash plugin extension was installed on a website; otherwise, the animation would be blank. This posed a big issue for websites that were built in Flash. Furthermore, the hard lifting necessary behind the scenes to bring the animations to life resulted in slower page loading.

Flash ushered in a new era of page development through movement despite its flaws. It served the web well and was influential in the history of online design. However, that role ended on December 31, 2020, when Adobe discontinued Flash support and Windows deleted Flash from all browsers.

Google Beta was started in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin as part of a research project investigating indexing page results based on relevant search phrases. Page and Brin had no idea of the immensity of what they had just developed or how Google would affect and revolutionize the internet and site design.

As Google grew in popularity, the term “Search Engine Optimization” became popular, and businesses explored strategies to boost their ranking.

Web capacity was expanding, and eCommerce and online payments now allowed firms to transition from analog to digital payment procedures. For example, Paypal (known as Cofinity for the first two years) began in 2000 and quickly became a market leader in online transactions.

The New Millennium (Early 2000’s)

By the early 2000s, the web had matured into a mature platform. New technology evolved and shaped the very notion of what a website could be. Web design was no longer regarded solely as a technological matter but as an artistic one. The introduction of Cascading Style Sheets, or CSS, enabled the separation of code and content, opening the door to a career in web design for many young creatives. Web designers had far more control over how their work appeared, and the concept of “pixel-perfect” became a philosophical standard. Of course, at the time, websites were primarily created for desktop and laptop computers, so developing screens with relatively equal widths was not a challenging task.

The online canvas expanded with the advent of broadband connections, faster computer processors, and high-definition monitors. With increasingly interactive features and immersive user experiences, the name “Web 2.0” was floated around. But this was just the start.

The Millennium (2000-2006)

Before the new millennium, websites only existed on desktops. The term “responsive web design,” as we know it today, was still a long way off, but ideas were being developed. In 2000, web designers began generating several versions of websites to be seen on various browsers and devices. While this worked technically, it was time-consuming and unworkable. Devices and browsers were continuously developing, and having different versions meant that desktop, tablet, and mobile updates had to be made individually. Triple your effort, triple your time.

As time passed, more people developed websites for commerce, information exchange, and a new trend – blogging. As a result, the need for content management systems (CMS) increased as they permitted dynamic design and smooth content upgrades. Although numerous CMSs existed in the 1990s, the heaviest hitter debuted in 2003.

WordPress began as an open-source blogging platform, but it quickly grew and evolved into the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). WordPress, in fact, now powers 35.9% of the internet.

This timeline would only be complete if MySpace (2003) and Facebook (2004) were included. Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe founded MySpace to promote self-expression through online profile sites and to allow users to engage with one another online, while Mark Zuckerberg and co. established Facebook as a campus social networking site at Harvard University. Facebook was later introduced to the public in 2006. But you were already aware of that.

Whether or not we were ready for it, the dawn of social media, self-expression and online connection had arrived, and MySpace and Facebook set the ground for a new level of involvement. This accelerated web design since there was suddenly a market for developing adverts, website gadgets, and graphics and photos for social accounts.

As social media grew, the influential company became inextricably linked to successful social media marketing.

The Mobile Era (2007 – 2010)

Mobile phones and other devices altered people’s perceptions of the web and how they use it. In 2007, most websites were not mobile-friendly, and browsing them on a mobile device was a hassle and, more often than not, annoying.

Many questions were raised, including content-related issues such as scalability and the significance of developing mobile standards. Speed has also become a concern, as loading large amounts of content can consume a user’s data and money.

Web designers had an idea to improve column grids, and after several revisions, the 960 grid was created to address all of these difficulties. Designers are still using this 12-column division in their designs daily.

They then standardized the most regularly used visual elements, such as buttons, navigation, and forms, and crammed them in a simple and reusable way. As a result, Bootstrap and Foundation became the foundation of the mobile ecosystem. However, it is not without flaws. The major disadvantage of the technology was that most designs looked the same, and designers still had to learn how the coding worked to access them.

In 2007, the first iPhone was also released, ushering in a new era of online design. Although Apple did not invent smartphones, the firm did popularize them. Their brand was presented online straightforwardly and effectively.

By the end of the millennium’s first decade, the internet had invaded every aspect of our society and culture. Flickr rose to prominence through the usage of collaborative tagging, which allows users to tag any user’s submitted photographs on the network.

At this point, anyone can become a web designer because free web design templates are available for download. At this point, anyone could create and publish their websites. However, this also meant that less-than-appealing designs flooded the internet community.

Website Design Today

Although the history of web design is brief, it has seen many changes and trends. Though websites are still constructed using programming languages from the 1990s, the entire process has evolved significantly.

Web design is all about making something visible and bringing it to life in browsers. Today, many websites use JavaScript on both the browser and the server, with both sides communicating intimately. Furthermore, the distinction between a mobile app and a website has already blurred.

Any website faces intense competition, so its primary focus to remain relevant revolves around its consumers. Using traditional web design principles puts any online business at risk. The future of web design is all about what designers should do rather than what they can achieve.

Today, it is critical to analyze how the design of a website affects consumers and how it may give them an exceptional user experience. The idea here is to establish growth-driven designs to guarantee you’re attracting your target audience and generating better leads, which can lead to a higher ROI. Because web design trends and changes are ongoing, a website is never truly finished. Your website should evolve and adapt as your consumers do.

What’s Next For Web Design In 2022 And Beyond?

Today, there are . To stay ahead of the competition in this increasingly competitive web market, keep up to speed with the future of web development.

In conclusion, web design’s future will be expedited compared to other areas. As the need for websites and mobile-friendly sites grows, so will the demand for competent Web Designers. As a result, Web Design has evolved into more than just a vocation, integrating other professions and sectors, such as marketing, and imparting many valuable personal and professional skills.

Web Design’s intrinsic creative nature will allow you to go beyond your current knowledge and skills while pushing you out of your comfort zone to improve your personal and professional outlook. You will also gain an in-depth understanding of other businesses as a result of regular exposure to new clients and, as a result, new sectors.

Web presence is one of the top concerns for every firm, regardless of industry. This shift is significant because it demonstrates the importance of Web Design in today’s environment.

While Web Design will continue to increase, the complexity of producing unique and engaging websites will become even more challenging. As a result, while Web Design will continue to prosper, fresh and original concepts will become more challenging, boosting the demand for “outside-the-box” designers that are passionate about this profession.

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