Since the web was created, the design of websites has really come a long way. Simple designs have started to become increasingly popular, as they were when the web was invented. Functionality and usability are now the key elements to consider when creating a website, rather than fancy designs, which detract from the user’s experience. This is a trend that has risen in popularity, but as with most trends, it will probably change in time. In days to come, we just might see website design revert back to extravagant websites, which push good content and usability aside.
When the web was new people approached it in a similar way to printed media. Professional web designers were still in low numbers and most of them were from a software background. Because of this designs were often minimal or just plain bad.
When the internet was created there was not a lot of emphasis put on the design of web pages. Generally sites were purely text based, with a possible image or two added just to spruce things up a bit. Different browsers would not view complicated sites very well back in those days. Creating a visually complex site would most likely ensure that many users would not be able to properly view it.
The “starry night” type background was prevalent in the early 90s. This is a simple black image with stars splattered across it. This type of background might have been popular because of the many science fiction and video game fans that were using the internet in its early days.
The use of blinking text was one of the bad parts of early website design. This feature is both annoying and unattractive, but it was used on many different websites in order to attract attention to a particular part of text. Multi coloured text was also popular back then, with the feature adding a touch of cheapness to a variety of sites. Many amateur sites still use these features, but thankfully they are much less popular today.
The use of HTML tables came along eventually, and added a touch of style to some websites, while making others truly terrible. Tables also added a great deal of loading time to websites. In a day where a dial up modems was king this was a serious problem.
Frames were another way to format the content of a website. This allowed different frames to hold various sections of the site, such as navigation bars. This increased the usability of sites but also increased loading time.
Flash was a great step forward in website design, allowing more interactive pages. This also allowed designers to use animations on their pages, increasing the attractiveness of sites. The loading time was an issue, but now broadband was becoming more main-stream.
The design of websites has come a long way since the internet was invented. These days we are treated to some truly stunning designs, with videos, animations, highly functional navigation bars and beautifully implemented tables.