How web design has changed over the last 10 years

Categories Web Design

A lot has happened over the last decade. Make sure your website is current with the trends.

Times have definitely changed all around the world, and the realm of technology is no exception. Websites that were once very simple in appearance but highly complex from a coding standpoint have been dramatically changed by new programs and integrations affecting the web design landscape.

Here are a few of the most important innovations in web design over the past 10 years.

  1. More web fonts have become available, making for more aesthetic headers.

Ten years ago, standard fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial were seen everywhere, with little variation. Since these simpler times, literally thousands of fonts have become available, with more being produced every single day.

New font designs have opened up an entirely new avenue for creativity, and have hugely improved the tools web designers can use to make their websites stand out. Although I wouldn’t recommend using fonts that aren’t easily legible, there’s no reason to limit yourself to standard fonts. Get creative and get with the times.

  1. HTML is now HTML5.

In the past, there was not much structure in the way websites were designed, leading to many issues in design aesthetics. Since then, HTML5 has restructured the standards set for creating website designs, making for a more user-friendly and engaging standard of design.

  1. GIF images have been replaced by PNG and EPS images.

Due to page loading times, large and HD images have only recently become used as the standard for image sources. Granted, while there was a paradigm shift to PNG images at the beginning of this decade, the dominant trend has been to use GIFs. This has been a downside to the branding of many businesses that have not fully utilized the visuals of their logo designs  and other graphic options.

The use of the PNG allow for a broader range of imaging, but there still remained a level of pixelation on images when viewed at different resolutions. For example, users who were viewing a website designed for a 600px screen on a 1200px screen would see distortion issues in images. Fortunately, with the use of EPS images, such distortion has been greatly minimized.

EPS images are based on vector imaging, so there is no pixelation and distortion, and the files are compressed to a level that can be loaded quickly. This allows for companies who have intricate details in their logo and branding to really be able to present this information to the public without the fear of misrepresentation.

On top of all these, the GIF format is seeing a comeback for use in animations in recent years. The SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format is nowadays also being used noticeably often to represent images, predominantly icon sets.

  1. Social media integration has boomed.

In the past 10 years social media has really taken off. As there were few names in social in the early part of the 2000s, the advance of social media integration into web development did not really start to hit its stride until sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest became popular.

Couple this with the release of the iPhone and the Kindle, and you have a formula for a new way of presenting web designs to the public. As social media has boomed, businesses have become aware that their survival depends upon user engagement and social media integration. Sites that were dominantly textual in their design have transitioned to video, pictures, chatrooms, and blogging.

  1. MySpace has died and Facebook has become a dominant part of branding

Although Myspace is still up and running (even though many think that it is not), the use of the social media platform is all but extinct. In its place, Facebook has kept up with different technologies and trends that have specifically catered to both the business world as well as to social media clientele.

The website has served as a transitional and social bridge between the corporate world and the private world. As such, it is not uncommon to find a business with a Facebook page, a like button, or a comments section integrated into its website design.

  1. Meta tags have been replaced by organic content needs For SERPs.

When the web was new, the use of HTML was a big part of web design. This is not to say that you do not need to know HTML to make a page, but in truth, programs like MUSE have made coding skills more obsolete for web designers. Along with coding, meta tags and meta data have become a thing of the past.

Search engines do still rely on meta data when performing their searches, but the <meta> tag just does not have the same power as it used to. Instead, organic content is driving SERPs. Engines are looking for data that has been established within and outside the confines of your page.

  1. Stylesheets have become more popular.

CSS has become increasingly popular over the past 10 years yielding a demand for web designers who work with coders (or know the code themselves). This increase has had a great deal to do with the increase in user interaction and the ease of use that is demanded by website users.

And while there are other scripts that are available, CSS sheets are the most dominant. Web site designs are becoming more organized and load better, as code has become cleaner and easier to understand, and functionalities have increased. There is seldom a time when a web designer will be faced with a task and say “the web technology is not there yet”.

  1. Search engines require mobile-friendly website designs.

Apart from all of the internal web design changes over the past 10 years, there have also been outside influences to the way in which pages are designed. Google, Yahoo!, and Bing have dominated the way in which web pages are presented to the public, with Google leading the pack.

The recent requirement for pages to be mobile-friendly (meaning that they will have a site dedicated to phones and tablets) in order to rank highly on SERPs has sparked a change in the way in which many companies perform their web design and branding. Needless to say, there are still many web and UX designers who neglect this requirement. Talks of Google social media algorithms is also causing a stir amongst web designers, as the other search engines tend to follow the route that Google sets.

These are just a few of the areas in which web design has changed in the past 10 years. What does the next 10 years hold for web design? Voice activation and social media apps, less text, real-time updates, and more data could be some features that become dominant.

Feature image curtsey of Duda

Catalin is the founder of Mostash - a social marketing boutique - and he's always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.
  • Egnaro

    What does PHP have to do with stylesheets? Did you mean to refer to LESS and SASS in point #7?