25 Years of Web Design

The “beginning” of the internet is somewhat of a nebulous concept since there are so many different ways to define that beginning. Was it ARPANET? The introduction of TCP/IP? The first web browser? For the purpose of this article, we’re going to say the beginning of the internet was in August of 1991, when the internet first became available to the public. Mostly, we like that using that date lets us say this is the 25th anniversary of the internet. In honor of that milestone, here’s a brief and incomplete look back at some of our favorite and most memorable aspects of web design.

Come To The Table

It’s easy to forget just how far we’ve come in those 25 years, and how much has changed. For instance, in those first few years, the internet was just a lot of boring text. It wasn’t until 1994, when Netscape was introduced as the first web browser capable of displaying inline images, that we started to see an explosion of graphics. Around this same time, HTML tables were introduced, which allowed web pages to be laid out in something resembling a grid, and a designed internet first started to take shape.

You Get A Website, And You Get A Website…

From there, we got Geocities, which allowed anybody with a mouse and a dream to create a website, if a rudimentary one. Geocities was blogging before blogs, and social networking before Facebook was a gleam in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye. It also played a huge part in gifting (or inflicting) the pop-up ad and the animated GIF on the world. Thanks for that.

Plug-in Required

The late-90s to mid-2000s were owned by Flash. You remember Flash. Cool animations, flexible shape and design layouts, and even web games galore. It was all at your fingertips – so long as you had the latest plug-in, which seemed to go out of date every three days, and then, so long as you had fifteen minutes to wait around for the page to load. Still, we’ll forever remember the hours spent bashing cartoon penguins across our screens with fondness.

Hello iPhone

In 2007, the first iPhone was introduced, and was almost immediately a game-changer. People could have the internet with them in their pockets, wherever they went, whenever they wanted. Suddenly, everything was moving toward mobile. Due to some technical limitations (and because Steve Jobs said so), that also meant bye-bye Flash. Web developers had to get smarter about layout, page weight, and design in general in order to strike a balance between functionality and mobile friendliness. Which lead to…

Responsive Design And The Modern Web

Now, we’ve gotten pretty sophisticated when it comes to mobile design. From the ground up, we build web pages to display a little bit differently on desktop browsers and mobile browsers of all sizes, so the design is right no matter where you are viewing from. This has been brought to the masses by tools like Wordpress, or our personal favorite, Squarespace, which make it easy to think about blogging, ecommerce, great design and doing it all while being mobile friendly.

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