Now vs Then – Website Design Trends Compared

Website Design Now Then

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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,, 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.

AI in Website Design – A Few Lincolnshire Examples

fake ai

It’s been a while since I first acquired access to OpenAI’s DALL·E 2, so I thought I should come back and report on how this tool has been helping Drive By Websites clients.

Outpainting Website Images

By far, the most useful feature for me is outpainting. This is where new image is ‘painted’ by the AI to fill spaces outside of the initial image or blank spaces inside the image. With a feature like this we can extend images that would otherwise be very difficult to use as well as remove and replace spaces of the image that we feel are inappropriate. The first times I was able to use this successfully came only a day after the feature was introduced. This was no surprise though, due to how commonly I encounter this particular opportunity. Many clients will take portrait photos of their work using their phones, which is great for social media but not ideal for a website. Banner spaces are typically covering the width of a website, but they don’t have much height. So if we will the available space with the portrait image, we lose much of the top of bottom of the image. Let’s look at an example…

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Advert Landing Pages – Website Design Tips

Did you know you should be creating a specific landing page for every ad campaign?

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at why landing pages are so important for your adverts.

Many advertisers only focus on the ads themselves when creating campaigns. Many businesses focus on ensuring that their ads comply with advertising policies. However if you create and engaging enough ad, you will generate visitors to a page on your website.  Never miss the opportunity to take advantage of being able to create a perfect website landing pages, registration pages, squeeze pages, sales pages, or whatever you might call it.

You can create highly targeted ads that quickly build your mailing list, offer free consultations, coupon codes, events, giveaways/competitions, and many other incentives but the process has to be clear. You have guided customers to a page, now you must guide them through their next steps.

To avoid a low conversion rate, don’t force customers to search for the product or content they are looking for. Don’t use generic website pages or irrelevant landing pages that are specifically targeting your ad visitors.

A good website today is not necessarily one that is well planned or has a trendy design. The focus has shifted to clarity and content. You can draw inspiration from the latest trends, but make sure your design choices are based not only on your preferences. The focus should be on decisions that positively influence your customers’ behaviour.

So, What Is A Good Landing Page?

– A video that explaining the product/service
– A simple and prominent call to action button (buy, get a quote, contact us etc)
– A live chat function with an on hand sales representative
– A selection of reviews, partners and awards

Website Ads Support – Find us in Spalding

Give us a call if you’re still struggling. Drive By Websites Ltd can help you build website landing pages, create Pay Per Click campaigns, design bespoke graphics, and send mailshots. Whatever you need, we’re here to help. Give us a call on 01775 761512, contact us online or visit us at 14 Bear Lane, Pinchbeck, Spalding, Lincolnshire PE11 3XA.

Live Chat – Website Design Features

live chat feature

We’ve been working on a lot of ‘Live Chat’ plug-ins on recent website development projects, but benefits are not often considered for most businesses. We’ve written out a summary of what this interesting new trend actually offers to your business. 

  1. User Preference

Research has found that customers respond very positively to the idea of a live chat over a contact form on a website. In many cases, this research also includes a preference for live chat over telephone or general emails. 

  1. Time Management

Despite being the priority business contact point, the traditional phone call is comparatively inefficient. Using a phone, how many users can one employee be dealing with at one time? Certainly not as many as during a live chat. An employee could productively engage with far more people at one time. 

  1. Competitive Edge

How fast can your competitors respond to an email enquiry? Probably not anywhere near as fast as during a live chat. Even if your competitors respond in minutes, what’s the incentive for the customer to sit and wait? For all they know it could be hours or days before they get a response. In the case of the live chat, customers will patiently await your response.

Live chat boxes are not for everyone, but it may suit you better than you realise.

Did you know that you don’t need to sit and wait at your computer? You can manage it all from your mobile by receiving convenient notifications.

Did you also know that you don’t have to literally respond to every request? You can have an automated response for common questions and even have customers leave their questions for you to respond to later by email or telephone. 

Give us a call on 01775 761512 or email [email protected] to see how we can help you with your website design features.