From plain text to interactive graphics and more: How web design has evolved over 30 years


The World Wide Web turned into invented almost 30 years ago via Tim Berners Lee to assist people effortlessly proportion information around the arena. Over the subsequent many years, it has changed significantly – each in phrases of design and capability, as properly its deeper role in contemporary society.

Just because the architectural fashion of a building reflects the society from which it emerges. Hence, the evolution of web design reflects the changing fashions, ideas, and technologies of the time.

From one’s early days to the present, web design has taken a long and winding journey. Web layout patterns have been modified with great speed in comparison with their bricks and mortar cousins. The first internet site contained only textual content with hyperlinks explaining what the net was, the way to use it, and simple set-up instructions.

Early Facebook. Photo Credit: Internet Archive
Early Facebook. Photo Credit: Internet Archive
In the start
In the early Nineteen Nineties, we welcomed the first publishing language of the Web: Hypertext Markup Language, or HTML.

But the language – used to proportion text-handiest pages via a simple browser – becomes limiting. Many early web websites have been basic, using vertically established, text-heavy pages with few portraits. People fast tailored to vertically scrolling textual content, and eye-catching blue underlined hypertext to navigate the digital Web area.

The first internet site – restored by way of CERN in 2013. Photo Credit: Internet Archive
The first internet site – restored via CERN in 2013. Photo Credit: Internet Archive
In the mid-to overdue-Nineteen Nineties, designers have become more worried about the development of websites. Along got here the Graphical User Interface, which allowed designers to comprise images and graphical icons into websites.

Image result for From plain text to interactive graphics and more: How web design has evolved over 30 years

When the Web commenced benefiting recognition to communicate information, designers saw an opportunity to apply tables for arranging text and images.

Apple’s website in 1997. Photo Credit: Internet Archive
Apple’s internet site in 1997. Photo Credit: Internet Archive
Before the advent of tables as an internet page shape, there were few design additives in websites, and there was no manner to emulate the layouts of traditional revealed files.

But while tables allowed designers to set up textual content and pics easily, the code required to construct them changed into more complex techniques that came later.

Early eBay. Photo Credit: Internet Archive
Early eBay. Photo Credit: Internet Archive
Flashy design
In the late Nineteen Nineties, a brand new era appeared on the scene: Flash.

Flash was a software platform that allowed designers to include tune, video, and animation into websites, making for a more dynamic audio-visual enjoyment. Flash also gave designers extra freedom to make websites interactive. This turned into indeed the technology of an innovative and technological step forward in the net layout. Interactive menus, splash pages, ornamental animations, and superbly rendered bubble buttons dominated the internet layout fashion to wow human beings.

The concept of the Web has become nevertheless new to many human beings, and those visually exciting designs had a double motive. They were not best vivid and attention-grabbing, but in addition, they brought an unfamiliar generation to amateur users: “Look at me,” they screamed. “I seem like an actual button. Press me!”


Screen capture demo of the award-winning Levi’s one hundred and fiftieth Anniversary internet website lower back in the early 2000s
But the recognition of Flash turned short-lived. It required customers to have the modern-day Flash plugin installed on their computers, prescribing the usability and accessibility of websites.

Image result for From plain text to interactive graphics and more: How web design has evolved over 30 years

Everyone is an internet designer.

Although Flash didn’t stay up to expectancies, it modified the manner websites had been designed and used.

People became sophisticated at surfing the Web, and the design elements not needed to teach in a manner that visually articulates the functionality, along with blue underlined hyperlinks.

Then social media emerged and demanded even more flexibility. This caused the birth of Cascading Style Sheets or CSS.

CSS has been used to outline unique styles – together with larger font sizes for sub-headings – across a couple of pages of a single internet site without having to code each detail personally. The idea behind CSS became to split the content material (HTML) of websites from the presentation (CSS).

Web design templates started to the surface, allowing regular humans to create and put up their personal websites. Unfortunately, this changed frequently at the rate of the usable, available, and aesthetically attractive layout.

The International Online Fan Club internet site for the TV display ‘Home Improvement.’ Photo Credit: Wayback Machine
The International Online Fan Club website for the TV show ‘Home Improvement.’ Photo Credit: Wayback Machine

Flat layout

Fast forward to 2010 when a brand new internet layout technique called responsive web design was created through Ethan Marcotte. This added a distinctive way of using HTML and CSS.

The principal concept underpinning responsive layout was that a single internet site might want to reply and adapt to one-of-a-kind display environments, facilitating special devices. People could have equal experience on their mobile device as on their computer pc, which means expanded efficiency in web improvement and preservation.

This led to another wave of web layout fashion: flat design. This trend embraced a green and visually captivating minimalist-dimensional fashion. It emphasizes functionality over ornamental design elements.

Fremantle Arts Centre’s website was a winner of the 2017 Australian Web Awards. Photo Credit: Fremantle Arts Centre
Fremantle Arts Centre’s website turned into a winner of the 2017 Australian Web Awards. Photo Credit: Fremantle Arts Centre
Today, the flat layout remains going robust. Web design has made a complete circle lower back to the start of the Web, prioritizing the content material and the communique of information. Buttons and icons have taken a returned seat, gracefully bowing to the content at the forefront of websites and reduced complexity in the layout.

The future…

The records of the Web are rapid, yet it has long passed via a succession of renaissances in a short time frame.

Previously, technology drove advances in net design. But I believe we are at a factor wherein internet design is not confined to era aid. Virtually, we can do pretty a great deal the whole thing we would want to do at the Web.

The destiny of net design is not about what we can do, however as an alternative about what we need to do. That approach is considerate approximately how the layout can affect the folks who use it and design websites that result in positive reports for customers.