A Generation Of Web Designs

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The World Wide Web became publicly available in 1991. Twenty-six years later, we are now experiencing the web everywhere we go: on our commute, at work, and even right before we go to bed. With the latest developments in technology and design, web designs have drastically evolved to enhance our experience in today’s digital age. Not only are web designs more attractive now than they were in the early 90s, they’re also much more user-friendly and easier to develop. If we were to take a step back and see how web designs have grown over the years, it would resemble a booming millennial. Here’s what we’ve seen.

The burgeoning infant (HTML): 1994–1995

Web designs were very basic in the early 90s, and employed mainly web safe colours, fonts, and tables. It wasn’t much to look at but, at the time, this hardly matters. People were excited enough that they had access to the Internet.

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This is also a period when HTML tables were often used to arrange text, images, into rows and columns of cells. For the most part, this limits web design as everything’s confined to rigid tables and cells.

The potty-trained toddler (CSS): 1994–2000s

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) came into the picture in 1994, and is commonly used today. This provides a cleaner and simpler approach to laying out designs, where designers can set a sheet of visual rules to automate the font size, headers, background, and etc. of a page. This also made it easier for designers to have consistent layouts throughout the entire site.

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Web usage became common during this era. This is a time when WordPress, Blogger, and user-friendly guides made it easier for people to create websites.

The rowdy kindergartener (JavaScript): 1995

Web developers were learning JavaScript like ABCs. This programming language came out in response to the limitations of HTML, and enabled developers to create interactive effects within web browsers that appeared as separate pop-ups. Unfortunately, JavaScript content is notorious for its bright and ugly colours, garish ads, making the page extremely busy. This era also marks the advent of annoying pop-ups.

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The playful child (Flash): 1996–2007

Flash rolled out around the same time as CSS. It’s a multimedia software that enables designers to create variety of shapes, layouts, animations, interactions, and fonts. Using the Flash plugin (and a lot of patience and loading time), designers could pack fancier creative expressions and interactive content into a resizable file format and send it to the browser for display. Flash marks a golden era for splash pages, animations, and all kinds of interactive web effects.