Info graphic: The Evolution of Web Design

web design

Good web designs play a very important role to attract the customers to your website. In the beginning sites were totally text based. It emerged to visual content like pictures, attractive videos and chat boxes. Web design got really better by the time. It enhanced to table-based designs to Flash and the finally CSS- based designs. Here is a brief history of the evolution of web design so we can appreciate the good web designs and websites who practice this. 

Text-Based Designs

August 1991, Tim Berners Lee published the first website. It was a simple website with a text based page and a couple of links to it. You can still see a copy of the original page developed in 1992. The first web design was entirely text-based and came in a single column design. It has basic content structure like headings, paragraphs and links to it. The new and subsequent version of HTML allowed the additional of images and supported table-based structure later. 

Table-Based Designs

This layout was an achievement for them in that era. It allowed them to create more websites and added more additional options. The actual table in HTML allowed the web-designers to display tabular data efficiently. They soon realized that this table-based layout can allow them to make much more complicated and attractive, multi=layered columns for their websites. HTML was not originally capable of doing it but the web designers came up with it anyway. It increased complexity and incorporated background pictures along with an illusion of a simpler structure rather than the actual table-based design layout. For instance, a customer wanting to buy the Top Gun Jacket can see the more table-based and organized structure with structured visuals i.e. the pictures of the product. 

Structure or Design

This era made the web development service and designers pay more attention to the design and attractiveness of the website rather than the structure. They paid little attention on the layout and semantics of the website. They preferred to add more aesthetics to the website this time. Spacer GIF’s were popularized in this era and they become an important aspect for the web designers. They controlled the white space of the websites. Soon, spacer GIF’s were introduced in HTML tables for use. 

The use of table-based design was extremely appreciated and popularized when the first WYSIWYG web design came into being. They used all the table-based layouts and it increased the use of table-based layouts. Few of these programs created these table-based layouts so much more complex, it is said that designers would not have ever been able to create them from scratch themselves. Even the easiest of these table-design layouts were done by designers by relying on the tables, they couldn’t have done it themselves. 

Flash-Based Designs

Flash was established in 1996 and became the next best update of the web design. Flash started with the most basics of tools and timelines. It became so much more complicated and complex later – it had the most powerful tools of all. Flash created many options which was beyond the ability of HTML. 

Macromedia Shockwave

Macromedia Shockwave allowed many additional options like the creation of menus and other multimedia content for CD-ROMS. They had large files and allowed to play files online with the help of broadband internet. Flash movies became more practical and smaller to use online compared to others. 

HTML sites were said to be very confined and limited when it comes to their design options in their early versions. Flash allowed to create more complex and interactive website with its new animated features in its new update. 

Along with flash, DHTML was also popularized. It consisted of multiple web technologies including JavaScript. In this era when Flash and DHTML were at its peak, a new concept began. This concept allowed interactive web pages and websites to allow users to do more than just static reading. It allowed them to interact with other web content. 


3DML allowed a new and more aesthetic change. It created a language which allowed three-dimensional websites. It was invented in 1996 by Michael Powers. 3DML were actually written in a non-valid type of XML. 

Flatland Rover is an independently developed 3DML browser. It allowed plug-ins and was available for internet explorer, AOL browser, Opera and Netscape Navigator. It has no plug-in for Firefox and eventually stopped in 2005. It was used to create worlds called Spots. 3DML had an advantage as to the rest of the designs as it couldn’t allow 3D stimulations and was faster than the rest of the languages. Flash had smaller sizes which gave it the edge. 

CSS-Based Design

The CSS-Based design was introduced and gained it popularity in the 2000s’. It was available in the past as well but it did not support all browsers which was a negative aspect to it. It has limited support to the major browsers and it did not create enough awareness of itself to the designers. It consists of separate and better designs as compared to Flash or table-based layouts. It has a greater distinction in the aspect of visuals and its web layout and content. 

CSS-based layouts are said to be better whilst practicing layouts whereas table-based is not. It decreases markup and make better and clearer semantic web layouts. CSS makes it easier for designers to maintain their websites and design clear and separate content on their pages. 

The CSS has a document size smaller than that compared of table-based layouts. It has increased page response time. Although, CSS-based design would have an initial bandwidth hit whilst its first download. The style-sheets of the website are new and never seen before. It loads pages at a faster speed as the CSS is cached by the user’s browser. 

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