Unless you are hiding under a rock for the last two decades, then it’s likely you know what a web page is. In fact, you probably check-out a web page every single day. If there’s a web page, then there’s web design. While web design may be part of most people’s lives these days, it has a long history. And, that’s what this article is all about.
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The 80’s – The Dark Of Web Design
While the idea of a world wide web was formulated way back in 1946, it’s in 1989 that the first web page was arguably created. The man was Tim Berner-Lee, and he created the hypertext as a way of indexing the pages of his system. This eventually evolved into what we call a webpage.
1991 – The First Webpage Was Born
Tim Berner-Lee made progress with his 1989 idea and eventually published the first web page on August 6, 1991. The man is now honored as the forefather of web design. His first web page contained information about the “World Wide Web.”
1992 – Images!
Tim Berner-Lee didn’t stop with the first web page in 1991. He continues to develop the technology. He and his team eventually were able to update their browser to support images. The first photo on the Internet was an image of the band Les Horribles Cernettes, which is a pop parody group.
1994 – The First Banner Ad
By 1994, the Internet was starting to grow, and people soon realized how valuable online traffic could be. Hence, the idea of ads started appearing on the web. The first banner ad was by AT&T and published on Hotwired.com
1996 – The Flash
By 1996, Adobe Flash gained popularity for both web designers and users. This program allows web designers to have a greater degree of freedom when it comes to integrating audio, video, and animations into their websites.
1998 – The CSS
By 1998, another cornerstone of modern web design was established, and that’s the invention of CSS, or also known as Cascading Style Sheets. Invented by Ber Bos and Hakon Wium, CSS gave web designers greater control and flexibility when it comes to the appearance of a web page. CSS’s key element is it allows the separation of HTML coding and the visual elements such as the font, layout, and colors.
2003 – The Blog
WordPress exploded in the public scene in 2003. Created by Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg, WordPress allowed almost anyone to start their own blogs or websites with very little knowledge about coding. Formerly known as Cafelog, WordPress is one of the most popular web platforms of today.
2004 – MySpace
The world got its first taste of social media through MySpace. At the time, it allowed users to customize their wall by doing simple HTML coding. Most of MySpace designs ran on “more-is-better” philosophy. As a result, you’ll often see a dizzying amount of text, glitters, and graphics. Eventually, it taught web designers that it’s not all about adding more but more about striking a balance.
2007 – The Birth Of Mobile Design
The iPhone was introduced in 2007, which then allowed more people to gain better and easier access to the web. This also forced web designers to optimize their web pages for the small screens of smartphones.
2010 – Responsive Design
As smartphones get more and more popular, web designers needed to create a webpage that is compatible with desktop and laptop screens and smartphone screens. This is where the concept of responsive design began to take hold.
With a responsive design web page, the page is automatically visually optimized for the user’s viewing screen, whether it’s a smartphone or desktop.
2010-Present – Modern Web Design
A modern web design now incorporates major web design advancements of the past. This usually includes several elements, such as HTML, responsive design, and CSS, into a single elegant and functional web page. Nowadays, there is no longer a “one-formula-fits-all.” A good web design is mostly weighed on the aesthetic appeal and ease of functionality.
Furthermore, the present-day designs are leaning towards a clean and minimalistic look. Busy visual elements, loud colors and crowded layouts are falling out of popularity.
Wrapping It All Up
From starting with hypertext, the webpage has undergone many changes. With every addition, re-iteration, and optimization, web pages are continually evolving. What’s the next major step in web design? Well, nobody knows. However, if this article takes a guess, it’s likely going to move in the direction of making something complex under the hood but presented in a very simple way.