From the pixelated terrains of the ’90s to the digital landscape of today, the story of website design is one of evolution. Navigating this online timeline, we can see technological leaps and pure nostalgia. Here’s a comparative glance at where we started and where we stand today.
The Classic ’90s Web Vibe
- Cluttered Layouts: Websites of the often seemed like digital playgrounds. Multi-coloured text, a blend of fonts, and the inescapable flashing GIFs marked the era. Websites offered a bounty of useless links and a somewhat arbitrary organisation that epitomised the phase. And it’s impossible to gloss over tiled backgrounds and cheeky 3D typography, both really maximising the cluttered aestetic.
- Central Circular Navigation: One quirky yet memorable navigation trend was the placement of menu options in a circle, often surrounding a central logo or image. This unique approach was featured prominently on major sites of the time, including McDonald’s, Microsoft.com, and the iconic “Space Jam” site. The circle, usually positioned smack in the middle of the page, became a defining navigation element of the ’90s.
- Guestbooks & Hit Counters: In the age before the omnipresence of social media metrics, guestbooks allowed visitors to leave digital footprints, while hit counters were badges of honour, showcasing a site’s visitor traffic.
- Limited Multimedia: The days of slow internet meant multimedia was a luxury, often resulting in pixelated images and minimal video content. Throwback to the GIFs.
- Television-Style Format: The ’90s floated the idea of websites mirroring television channels. Proposed in niche tech circles, this vision saw websites as continuous “broadcasts” or content streams. While the idea was novel, the inherent nature of the web, allowing users to chart their own journey, made the linear, channel-based approach less appealing. Arguably however later web development continued and improved on some aspects of the Television format with digital streaming sites.
Today’s Modern Web Design Aesthetic
- Clean & Streamlined: Modern design celebrates simplicity and coherence. Chaotic elements of yesteryears have given way to clean designs, consistent and minimalist colour schemes, and ample white space.
- Responsive Design: Given the ubiquity of mobiles and tablets, contemporary sites are crafted to ensure seamless viewing across varied screen sizes. The impact of this can’t be understated with modern websites being built from the ground up with mobile friendliness in mind.
- Rich Multimedia: With higher than ever internet speeds, modern websites can boast high-definition visuals, crystal-clear videos, and intricate animations, enriching user engagement. Although it’s never been more important to have web hosting that can keep up!
- Intuitive Navigation: The user reigns supreme in today’s web design ethos. With clear menus, structured site mapping, and emphasis on user experience, navigation has never been smoother. Not to mention, the intricate analytics of today helping website designers optimise their websites based on user engagements and preferences.