The evolution of the Internet dates back to the 1960′s when it was still used by military as a communication means and websites became available to us in the early 1990′s as plain text developed using HTML. It’s been 20 years now since the first website was published and after two decades of fruitful years, the evolution of web design is an amazing testimony of how technology and the society collaborated  to come up a web savvy community which continues to grow and evolve as time goes by.

Here is my observation on the timeline of web design based on my experience:

Early 90′s – The Text Based Sites

The web sites in the early 1990′s were plain texts and it looked like a word document.

Mid 90′s – Table-based Sites and Web-based HTML editors

In the Mid 90′s, the Websites improved its touch and feel by using table to separate texts and images and to come up with multiple columns to arrange the content of the website properly. Online HTML editors also came up as a web editors like geocities, HomeStudio and web hosting providers started to provide templated web designs. the mid 90′s were also considered as the era of animated text, logos and navigation bars.

Late 90′s – The Flash Invasion

The late 90′s continued the animation era but with more edge through Macromedia (now Adobe) Flash Web and Animation authoring system. Flash became a big hit that more than 90% of animation in the web are made of flash.

Early 2000 – CSS Became Every Web Developer’s Bestfriend

CSS rose on top as a web design language due to its easy customization since the layout designs are separated from the content. CSS is not heavy compared to Flash and it started gaining momentum with the rise of CMS or Content Management Systems.

Mid 2000 – Social Media Influence

2000 became a decade of amazing web improvements. From advance web hosting solutions such as mySQL and PHP integrations and the continued dominance of Flash-based sites for high end interactive solutions and CSS for light weight programming to the rise of social networking sites which also served as webpages for most people. Friendster and Myspace became every teens web portals and Facebook topped them all as the ultimated social media site. Aside from the social sites, blogging became also a popular choice for deploying a website. It became a top medium for expressing thoughts and doing internet marketing and campaigns. The mid 2000 made the cyberspace available to everyone because of blogs and social networking sites.

Late 2000 – The Web 2.0 Standard and the Mobile Web

The late 2000 became more advanced and most developers wanted a more efficient way of publishing their websites. Theweb 2.0 focuses on interactivity, web applications and efficient web browsing – meaning fast loading and relevant content rather than graphical aesthetics. Web 2.0 also means that the website must be search engine optimized or “google friendly” which diverted developers back to HTML, CSS and CMS that are SEO-based. The mobile industry also sky rocketed and websites are accessible via smartphones and tablets so most web developers prefers scripting languages that can be viewed in mobile gadgets.

2011 and the coming years

The 2011 and the coming years will continue the trend of the  2000 evolution. The social media sites will be a key player in web designs and the blogging platforms such as WordPress will continue be a choice by web developers. the mobile industry will also expand through tablets which means web browsing will be the next big thing.

As a Web Developer and someone who were able to witness the evolution of web design from the late 90′s to until now can conclude that content matters over look and feel. Flash will still be used for interactive and high-end websites but when it comes to publishing platform, CSS and HTML based website will still be the best choice since it will be easier and faster to load in mobile gadgets such as smartphones and tablets.