Back in 1997, web users were just getting to grips with websites and search engines, and it still took an awful long time to even connect to the World Wide Web. But what a difference 20 years can make! Who would have thought that web design could be such a crucial business element with the potential to make or break a company?

Websites were incredibly simple in the ‘90s, because they had to be. With internet speeds as slow as they were back then, it was impossible to have complex design elements or fancy visuals. In fact, most of the time even navigation was pushed to one side, and you’d end up with just a one (very long) page site. There was also lots of whitespace and boring fonts – it wasn’t the best era for digital design. Here are some interesting trends of ‘90s and ‘00s websites:

Page hit counters to show how many views a site had

Table design

Animated moving text

Moving and dancing GIFs

Scroll menus

Birth of Flash

Neon colour schemes

Fast forward two decades and we now have…

User Focused Design

As we head into the 21st century and beyond, web designers started to realise that all websites should be centred on the user. The introduction of UX and an increased knowledge of SEO has completely transformed web design – for the better.

In terms of aesthetic elements, websites now use colour much more effectively, and simplicity is key. Typography and lots of imagery makes websites more interactive and pleasing to the eye. Content heavy sites with too much information have been streamlined and made easier to digest.

Responsive Design

Of course, with the rapid evolution of mobile technology, web design has had to adapt and fast. Once upon a time you could only access the internet on a PC, but now there are many other popular options including tablets and smartphones. This means the structure of websites has had to change in order to be optimised on different platforms. Responsive design is a crucial part of web design in 2017.

We’ve learnt a lot about what works well and what doesn’t work when it comes to designing websites. From slow loading, brash sites to simple and streamlined responsive designs, web design trends are constantly evolving.

How do you think web design will change in the next 20 years?

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