In this article we will trace the long road traveled by web design, beginning in the early 1990s, when websites were presented as single column, text-based pages, done in HTML. The websites looked like a series of text documents with online links; and dynamic elements weren’t even a thought.
Immediately after the formation of the WWC (World Wide Web Consortium) in the mid-1990s, table-based sites and online page builders replaced plain text-based web design. More complex, multi-column sites were created due to table-based HTML. This extended the text-based design model, allowing for better content organization and navigation design. Background images were often inserted into tables; animated text, scrolling text, and gif images began to bounce off websites. Frame pages became a popular way to clearly distinguish the body from other website elements and navigation.
Additionally, visual counters began to appear at the bottom of sites. Another significant advance was the introduction of Macromedia Flash (now Adobe Flash). The end of the 1990s was marked by the rise of Flash. Many websites were animated with a combination of table-based design and flash elements, such as company logos that bounced and glowed in front of their home page and flash-based animations that expanded and changed color when clicked by a user. . Great progress was made with the introduction of CSS and PHP: Dynamic Design Language (PHP3) gained popularity with its release in 1998.
The semantic web was introduced in the mid-2000s. This web design movement aimed to allow machines to understand web pages as well as human viewers. In the late 2000s, web design began to shift towards interactive content and web applications with the advancement of web 2.0 concepts: interactive content that changes without having to refresh the page. Powerful applications have flooded the Internet. The design focus has been more on the social web and traffic oriented websites. Social media powered websites tried to engage the user and allow them to share content, articles, graphics, etc., instead of just selling products.
The rise of smartphones and tablets is driving the popularity of the mobile web. In 2008, mobile Internet access surpassed desktop access for the first time in history. Since then, more and more websites have been designing alternative “mobile” versions for their active users on the go. Mobile sites contain the essential elements of the normal website; navigation is minimal – reduced to the most important areas of the site.