The Evolution of Web Design

Share this article
Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0

Web design has come a long way since 1991, and it’s hard to believe that the first ever website published was over 20 years ago. Although it was mainly text-based, this website saw the beginning of what would become a digital revolution – a revolution that doesn’t look set to slow down anytime soon.

In this post we’re going to take a look back at how web design has changed over the years and the key features that mark such a successful and technological evolution.

We will discuss the following:

  • The beginning of web design
  • How the face of web design changed over time
  • Responsive Web Design
  • What does the future hold for web design?

The beginning of web design

In the early ‘90s, a physicist named Tim Berners-Lee created the first ever website for his NeXT computer. At the time he didn’t really have a target audience to impress and in fact, many people weren’t even aware of how much their lives would change with internet access until Mosaic popularised the World Wide Web in 1993.

The impact of Mosaic’s release was almost immediate but they were far from the only web browser apparent at that point in time. Having said that, it was Mosaic that really made a difference, gained public acceptance and widespread use.

Mosaic also offered other new developments crucial to the evolution of web design:

  • It was the first web design to allow pictures to appear inline with text rather than having to open them on a separate tab.
  • It was the first web browser to be created and supported by programmers.
  • It became the first web browser intended for novices.

How the face of web design changed over time



By around 1995, adding images to websites became almost compulsory, but they weren’t as user friendly as they are today. Back then, a lot of designers had to chop pictures into smaller sections before organising them into a table.

Website tables changed the way websites looked, not only for the implementation of competitive web design but also for developers who could now organise text in a way that was easier to read. As people began to enjoy websites for their creative layouts, web designers made it more of a priority to use advanced techniques and stay ahead of the game.

This was incredibly important, because before search engine marketing, websites were judged not by how relevant they were to search queries – but how modern they looked in comparison to their competition. In addition, companies were starting to hire web designers to find new ways to improve their online presence.

Late ’90s

By the end of the ‘90s, everyone wanted a website. The age of Adobe Flash made websites look exciting, and more people started to take an interest in web design as a separate entity of web development.

Small adjustments, such as a link changing colour when clicked on, music being played on websites, and company logos moving around on the screen all started to take place around this time.

Early ‘00s

As we entered a new millennium, the face of web design was still changing at a rapid speed. Cascading style sheets allowed designers to create graphics that were separate from content. Before this, developers would need to manually write the code for every page, but the evolution of web design ensured that this process became a quicker, more efficient process. Elements such as text size, font, and background colour were made into a much more unified appearance as a result.


Javascript was introduced in 1995, but it didn’t really take off until the mid-2000s. This marked the end of website table layouts. Four new elements appeared with Javascript including:

  • Top navigation menus
  • Drop down menus
  • Web forms
  • User created content (profiles and photo collections)

Many of the minor things we enjoy today arose in the age of Javascript. For example, the late ‘00s saw the first instances of websites that could display new content without the user needing to refresh the page (the ‘Wall’ element on Facebook is a prime example of this).

Responsive Web Design



It’s impossible to talk about the evolution of web design without discussing responsive web design, which makes websites easily readable across various platforms. Whether it’s a desktop, mobile or tablet, responsive web design allows the website to fit within each of the multiple screen resolutions.

In many cases, when you click on a website, there will be an option at the top to change the screen accordingly to see what it would look like on these various devices. In other words, you can view what a website would look like on a mobile voice right from your desktop computer or laptop.

This is a huge movement for web design, as it demonstrates how it can adapt to cater to advanced technology such as tablets and smartphones. It also allows an enhanced optimal viewing and interaction experience for website visitors.

What does the future hold for web design?

With the explosion in popularity of mobile devices in our work and domestic lives, the traditional desktop website is becoming more and more redundant. Users are demanding far more from their online experience, because they are now accessing websites on a range of devices.

In addition, the app environment could become more appealing on all desktop and mobile devices because the user experience is so much more fulfilling.

Responsive web design will still be an incredibly prominent feature and potentially more so in the future. App technology will take the shine away from the traditional desktop user experience, which will eventually become dated. Certain users may demand one user experience on a preferred device, especially businesses who may want to use tablets for video conferencing, for example.

As web design is constantly evolving, new technology is being created and features are developing. Because of this, it’s hard to determine where web design may head in the coming years, but it looks like the future is certainly bright.


If you’re interested in how web design can improve and impact your business, and would like more information, feel free to fill out our contact form. We will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Alternatively you can also give us a call on 0844 871 7291.


Share this article
Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0

About Suzanne Goddard

Suze has been part of the OVG Content Team since June 2015. She can usually be found at the theatre enjoying the latest musicals, in the Disney Store spending way too much money or baking tasty treats at home. She is also a massive fan of Harry Potter, French bulldogs and tea.

close me