Back to Basics - Understanding Web Design History
Web design is an integral part of any website. It plays an essential role in a site’s ability to function efficiently according to its goals. Most people accredit satisfactory user experiences on websites to well-executed web design, as it is the main part of what all website visitors interact with and use to answer their seemingly-endless list of questions like: “where to buy quality shoes online?” or “how to improve the chicken I burnt”.
As a creator and digital marketer, you should understand the importance of web design in improving customer satisfaction, increasing sales, achieving brand and product retention, and all other related aspects – but do you really know the history of it all?
Understanding the history of what you do will allow you to have a better grasp of the essential elements that make the things you end up creating work. Without a solid foundation of knowledge regarding the history of your craft (in this case, web design), there might be a chance that you’ll end up getting out of touch with the basics and veering far off from effectively creating a website that gets the job done and gets you closer to your goals.
Ready for a history lesson? Let’s begin.
Web design started off from print design
Whether you believe it or not, the birth of web design and the principles of what continues to constitute proper and effective web design all began from print design, a craft that started centuries ago – way before ARPAnet even came up as an idea.
If you think about it, the time-honed principles that come along with print design are applied in website design until this day. They can be easily identified due to the ability of successful website designs that easily resonate with their users. Basic principles, such as text, arrangement, and space, are currently being applied in web design today simply because of how effective they are. Although some web designers may deviate and push the boundaries by experimenting with different ways to go about with web design, many are taught to design websites and pages with the same principles that are taught in print design- showing how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
The first types of web design were purely text-based
Although they might have looked like a web designer was shot dead before they created the website but continued to develop it anyway, the first iteration of web design in history looked like a solid block of text (much like what you would see when your Internet is seriously lagging but you try to load a page anyway). The key takeaway from this part of history is that text plays a huge role in designing a website. In fact, they wouldn’t work effectively without it!
The birth of Web Design 1.0 and 2.0
This is the part of web design history that all web designers and users are thankful for: the bridge that has taken the people of the internet from being sucked into a seemingly-endless block of text to enjoying interactive visual masterpieces that operate as functional eye-candy that help businesses, people, and organizations meet their goals and communicate with others all over the world. From the near-absence of any signs of web design, web pages got their first taste of what was to come with tables, layouts, and grids just to fill in the bits and pieces that humans wanted to see online. In the first real version of proper web design, systems such as Content Management Systems (CMS) started to come about, making it possible to update and apply HTML files in real-time.
Just in time for the boom of mobile phones, the second, more-refined and innovative version of web design saw the coming of mobile phone-friendly website design and the conception of the convenience of being able to set up and arrange website elements with Layouts. It also saw the introduction of Bootstrap in accelerating the previously time-consuming process of web development. With what was previously seen as impossible with web design, a plugin called Grids (which was found on Bootstrap) made the process of tailoring a website’s dimensions to fit different display resolutions- making this part of web design history as the birth of responsive web design.
Web design today
The current state of web design that everybody knows, loves, and appreciates today is a product of more than two decades’ worth of development towards user-centred solutions. Familiar names such as WordPress took the top spots in CMSs all over the world, making web design and content management a lot simpler and reliable with more functional ability.
Modernizing web design to suit different web designer and consumer needs has made it much easier and inexpensive to create and maintain websites, especially with the creation of web templates and theme builders to speed up the process of web design as we know it to be today.
We specialise in designing websites in the Glasgow area – get in touch today to see how we can help.