An older Mac illustrating the change in the web design process as compared to the 90s and 00s

It’s no secret that the way websites look and feel today are completely different from how they were 20 or 30 years ago. With changing trends, new technology, and better insights into the things people want to see online, it’s clear to see why the web design process has had to change and keep up with new demands.

That’s what we’re going to focus on in today’s blog post. We will talk about how the web design process has changed, as well as the importance of continually updating your website in order to provide the best possible user experience.

Some Background on the Early Web Design Process

In today’s world, most of us can’t function on a day-to-day schedule without using the internet. It’s how we work, communicate, and even relax.

This hasn’t always been the case, of course. In 2000, about 52% of U.S. adults accessed the internet. In 2021, that number has grown to 93%.

Since that time, websites and the internet have gone from a convenient tool to a near necessity for many people. It’s now more accessible than ever, meaning that the web design process has had to keep up with changing needs and a more diverse audience.

1. Diminishing Reliance on Flash

Around the mid-90s, FutureSplash (now known as Adobe Flash) was introduced as a way of streamlining user experience by incorporating animation and video into a website’s design. 

While it was cutting-edge at the time, FutureSplash presented problems in that users had to download the application in order to see the embedded videos and animations. Plus, search engines were unable to read the information in the Flash files, hurting SEO

(For more information about the history of Adobe Flash, check out The History of the Web’s article).

While there are still several sites that rely on Flash out there today, we’ve mostly moved away from this trend, because there are better and easier ways to embed media into websites without the lag times that Flash presented. 

Plus, as Google continues to improve the quality of websites that rank on its first page, search engine optimization has become the king of getting content in front of people. Having a site that’s difficult to crawl will hurt rankings, and your brand, in today’s online world.

2. Greater Emphasis on Images and Design

A lot of websites back in the 90s and early 2000s were reliant on text and hyperlinks. The introduction of FutureSplash helped curb some of the lines and lines of black and white text that you might have seen before. Still, without a designer, most websites were still text-heavy.

Today, not only do we recognize that having too much text can overwhelm a visitor, it can also have disastrous effects on accessibility when not laid out correctly.

We’ve learned how to balance text, graphics, and branding in order to create a streamlined experience for all visitors. Finding this balance in the web design process is important for both serving audience members in a way that exceeds expectations, but also for ranking in Google and getting organic traffic on the website.

Plus, we now have the luxury of high-speed internet. So, while graphics and other media load in no time for us today, it wouldn’t have been possible from a dial-up modem back in the day.

3. Optimization for Mobile

Back in the 90s and early 2000s, the web design process didn’t always consider what websites would like on smaller, mobile screens. The first few smartphones came out in 1994 and 2001, but it was really the invention of the iPhone in 2007 that really made mobile browsing a possibility.

Since then, making sure that a website is just as easily navigated on a smartphone as it is on a desktop has become essential. 

It’s especially important when you consider that in 2020, about 83% of people in the U.S. accessed the internet via a mobile device.

4. Adherence to Google

The Google search engine was first created in September of 1998 as a way of employing an algorithm in order to find the most relevant search results on the internet.

Since then, it’s grown to dominate the space of search. While before, search engine optimization was a relatively new and technical term for considering how a website would rank, the web design process now has many considerations to adhere to in order to have a chance at ranking in Google.

Google has grown to be a giant when it comes to deciding what websites are relevant and reliable and which ones are not. Web designers can’t afford to be ignorant of the continual updates and new regulations that they provide.

The Importance of Regular Design Updates

When comparing some of the early websites many of us used in the 90s and early 2000s to the ones we interact with now, it’s easy to see the difference in user experience and overall usability.

When we look back 20 to 30 years from now, we’ll probably be grateful again for the insights of an audience that’s growing more and more diverse.

That’s why it’s so necessary for your website to receive updates as time goes on. User expectations are changing, and you want to give your audience the best online experience possible. You don’t want to lose out to competitors for falling behind with an out-of-date web design process.

To Conclude

The web design process has and will continue to change as technology advances and customer expectations evolve. It’s not a matter of if or when, but rather definitely and right this very moment.

Don’t get left behind; at Vervology, we’ll create a design that is sleek, modern, and fits your unique branding. Plus, we’ll stick around to make sure it gets regular updates and stays competitive within your industry. Contact us to learn more about how we move the digital needle.

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