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How Website Design Has Changed Over The Years - 1980s-2020s

Updated: Aug 25, 2022

The VDB Inc. Team would like to share some great facts about the evolution of website designing. Website design has changed so much over the years leading up to 2021 and the world of web design that we know is evolving every day. The main goal of designing a website is to ‘generate traffic, leads, and sales’ (Gary W., 2020). In doing so you have to be aware of the constant changes taking place and be on the lookout for new trends. Since web design is so important in today’s life to get your name out in the world, you might be interested in knowing how web design trends have changed over the years.


Origins of Web Development


In the late 1980s Tim Baner-Lee invented the World Wide Web, he created a software database for clients where he used hypertext to create an index of pages on the system, and eventually, that turned into what we know today as web pages (Everconvert, 2020). The 1980s is what we call the dark ages of web design because designers would work on black screens with pixels (Everconvert, 2020).


In 1990 the original implementation of an Indexing FTP archiving tool called Archie was written by Alan Emtage, then a postgraduate student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. (Wikipedia, 2021)


On the 6th of August 1991 web pages were launched and these were simple pages that had information on the world wide web.

In 1993 ‘Search’ was introduced to the world. ALIWEB was the acronym for Archie-Like Indexing for the WEB, (Gary W., 2020) and was considered the first Web search engine. It helped users to get links to the best information on the web, add user-written page descriptions and keywords, allowed users to submit the locations of index files on their sites, which enabled the search engine to include web pages. Slowly but surely website design was coming to life. Then one year later Conde’ Nast made Hotwire.com which is known as Wired today, it is an American magazine, published in print and online editions, that focuses on how technology affects culture, economy, and politics. Wired added the world’s first banner ad into their website header (Gary W., 2020), it was an ad for AT&T that asked users, “Have you ever clicked your mouse right HERE?” with an arrow pointing to text that reads “YOU WILL.” (The Drum, 2013).

In 1995 JavaScript was introduced which is the most important website programming language. The purpose of JavaScript was to translate static pages into pages that users can interact with (Everconvert, 2020) as well as make pages dynamic. Adobe Flash, known as FutureSplash, gave website designers the freedom to integrate videos, audio, and animation into their website (Everconvert, 2020). Click on this Link to read more about Flash Professional that is now Adobe Animate.


The Long-Walk of Web and Graphic Design


In the mid-2000s standard website layouts were developed, but at this time HTML was limited whereas Flash wasn’t. Flash allowed websites to design things that HTML just could not (Everconvert, 2020).



2007 Was known as the Era of Mobile; in today’s life, we can’t imagine a day without our smartphones that give us access to the whole world. Back in 2007, mobile wasn’t exactly website friendly compared to today’s smartphones. The first iPhone was released in 2007 and that is when the changes had to be made regarding web designs (Everconvert, 2020) so that the web can look appealing on the mobile phone.

On October 22nd the T-Mobile G1 Android was released and ‘today Android is nearly on every device that isn’t Apple’ (Verge Staff, 2018). In 2017 Android reached over 2 Billion monthly active devices in the world and on smartphones Android reached more than 85% of these devices (Verge Staff, 2018). Here is a Link if you’d like to learn more about Android.


From 2011 to 2015 the web evolved, even more, websites became more unique with their designs and styles so that brands would become more distinct (Gary W., 2020). Here are a few things that happened to see just how much the web has evolved: (Anderson M.,2014)

Responsive websites became more popular from 2016 to 2019 because they adapt to all screen sizes, in return giving a more positive user experience no matter what the device was (Everconvert, 2020). Images were more popular to communicate information to the users than putting down bundles of unnecessary words no one was interested in reading.



What Website Designing Looks Like Today


2020 and onward we can see that navigation buttons aren’t just at the top of a page but are all over the website now (Everconvert, 2020). Users don't have to click as much as they had to, to get the information they needed.


There are a lot of places to build your own websites like WordPress, Square Space, and Go-Daddy but we prefer Wix all the way. The Wix website builder has everything you need to create a fully personalized, high-quality free website. There is a Wix Owner app that is designed to help you create, manage and grow your business on the go. You can use the Wix Owner app to showcase what your business has to offer and communicate with your site members. With Wix, you get a Help center where there are instructions, guidelines, and articles to help you build your own website, and if you still don’t know how then there is Wix Customer care you can contact that can help you through it all.


For these reasons we at VDB Inc. can see that website design has changed miraculously over the years. Some changes were ‘subtle and others explicit’ (Everconvert, 2020), so it’s safe to say that the changes taking place are only scratching the surface. It might be hard to imagine that in 20 years the web may be unrecognizable to what we know today.


Just to think, in the 1980’s people didn’t think that they would be able to create a complex and interactive website without a coding background like we do today.


The VDB Inc. Team is aimed at empowering entrepreneurs and business owners to manage their own online ‘Presence’ and ‘Reach’. Check out the Training Packages that we offer. Our Digital Marketing Packages include Google Marketing, Website Design & SEO. The One-On-One Training is about 5 hours for $100 and you can schedule the time that best fits you.


But if you are in a hurry and don’t want to worry… we can do it for you. Just follow this Link to contact us.



Stay Tuned!


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