Everyone who feels like writing does not miss a chance to speak about web design trends. We did not miss this chance either. But there is one thing that is not so popular to be spoken about and it's a milestone. The web, i.e. its technological part, and everything that fills it, have walked through a long and winding road to become what it is today.
Some technologies superseded others, and some died to resurface in the past greatness.
In this blog post we are going to mention the most important “historical” moments in web development that turned ugly caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. We've going to speak about the last decade, starting from 2000 up till...today.
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CSS comes to the arena
CSS gave the possibility for web designers to separate content form web design. Using CSS design elements of the page such as background, color, text size, etc. could be defined in style sheet rather that in the page' code. This technology made it easier to control the uniform look and feel of a website apart from the content each page would contain.
This separation improved content accessibility, providing more flexibility and control in the specification of presentation characteristics, enabling multiple pages to share formatting, and reducing complexity and repetition in the structural content.
Somebody may say that CSS was invented much, and he will be right, it appeared in late 90s, but the whole potential of this technology was revealed in 2000s.
The first browser which supported CSS was Internet Explorer 5 (HISTORIC MOMENT)
There was a time when Internet Explorer was considered to be one of the best browsers. At that time IE5 was the first to support CSS, outstanding hah? Still, we know what happened to this titan.
Flash “Spreads like a plague”
During this period Flash animation was fully exploded, web designers made introduction pages, which often took from a few seconds to several minutes to load, depending on the Internet speed (we do remember the obnoxious modem sound). After waiting couple minutes to access the page, your screen shows you the ‘Skip intro’ option and it made you wander, why was I waiting for? There’s also a smarter use of Flash animation applied in the menus, it’s discrete and useful. Websites also became more professional and started claiming their rights, usually in the footer section. At this stage, we can also see lots of ENTER pages.
Early to Mid 2000s
In 2000 W3C recommended JS and by 2002 almost all browsers were supporting it.
Firefox faced the web
In 2004 the Firefox browsed was initially released to the publicity. During it's testing period it undergone numerous name changes mostly because of confrontations with other trademarks. Today FF is in top five most popular browsers.
XML is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. The design goals of XML emphasize simplicity, generality, and usability over the Internet. It is a textual data format with strong support via Unicode for the languages of the world. Although the design of XML focuses on documents, it is widely used for the representation of arbitrary data structures, for example in web services.
As of 2009, hundreds of XML-based languages have been developed, including RSS, Atom, SOAP, and XHTML. XML-based formats have become the default for many office-productivity tools, including Microsoft Office (Office Open XML), OpenOffice.org and LibreOffice(OpenDocument), and Apple's iWork. XML has also been employed as the base language for communication protocols, such asXMPP.
Semantic web is a web design movement that empowered machines to understand web pages as well as human viewers do. According to the W3C, "The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries."
The term was coined by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web and director of the World Wide Web Consortium ("W3C"), which oversees the development of proposed Semantic Web standards. He defines the Semantic Web as "a web of data that can be processed directly and indirectly by machines."
Single Page Websites
Web design had been developing for almost 10 years by 2005, there were trends, tools and many eager designers to make a new statement in what comes to web design, that’s why it was no surprise when the original idea of a page filled with links to other places evolved and became into a SINGLE PAGE designed website. These had a content table usually on top of the website so you can go to a specific place in the same page, there was also a ‘BACK TO TOP’ button, making the navigation really easier in the way of finding a certain thing fast, it gave design a fresh look with capable of transforming itself.
User Generated Content
Advancements in web design opened the field to everyone. Customized profiles, journaling, blogging, and other forms of social media emerged in 2002, and became mainstream by 2005. An entire industry of jobs was created, mainly to market to the new web users.
Around 2008 UGC producer-consumers were creating their own environments through interactive instantaneous web design. This operability was made possible due to the sharing nature of social media, which encouraged users to interact with one-another through machines.
Web design was no longer designer-centric: it became a race to provide the most user-friendly and attractive platform for users to implement.
Ajax is not a single technology, but a group of technologies. HTML and CSS can be used in combination to mark up and style information.
Evolution is a great thing it creates new forms out of existing ones almost the same thing happens to technology. With the appearance of 5th revision of HTML web got turned upside down. Especially those whose gadgets do not support Flash. HTML5 brought to simplicity that previous revision was lacking.
Social Networks Takeover
German psychiatrists stated that if a person does not have a Facebook account there is a 90 percent possibility that he's a latent psychopath. Feels like their logic is purely opposite to the reality. Here is a brief list of most popular weapons of mass distraction.
- Myspace 2004
- Flickr 2004
- Digg 2004
- YouTube 2005
- Reddit 2005
- Twitter 2006
- Facebook 2006
- Tumblr 2007
- Google+ 2011
- Plus hundreds of other niche networks…
Retro Style Came Back (typography, color, pictures)
Retro style came back and it not only pictures and textures used in websites, these are cars, clothes and devices stylized under that epoch. Website design integrates retro style with harmony and gives designers the opportunity for searching others styles, taking a deep look into what is working, what things can be removed, where’s the attention focused at and dealing with the fact that the Internet is getting faster and faster everyday, so they must find a way to captivate users by giving simple and yet breathtaking sites.
Chrome Browser Released
In 2008 Google released its Chrome browser. In 2011 Chrome squeezed out Internet Explorer from a position of unquestionable dominance. While IE has seen impressive improvements over the past year in particular, Microsoft’s once awesome browser now grabs just 40 or less percent of the global market as of November 2011. In 2009 IE claimed 56.6 percent.
Minimal style is a real hype in web design and this is naturally. The color and texture overload filled out the design environment, and we often feel the need of something simple and pure. Actually, the minimal principle in web design is a great way to concentrate people on the main subject of the design work, on the one hand, and make it more stylish and effective, on the other hand. Basically, minimalism is achieved by reducing to the bare essentials. Minimal web design contains such specific features as simple style, sufficient whitespace, lesser text, minimal color usage and clean layout. All this stuff makes minimal elements easier and memorable for readers. Once minimal, design can deliver information more effectively while saving the aspect of creativity.
The Raise of Mobile Web and Apps
Year after year the capabilities of mobile phones and smartphones grew exponentially giving their owners opportunity to enter the web through built in browser. In 2002 it was still a bit hard to surf because not all websites were optimized for mobiles. Later the screen sizes started to grow together with insides of the device. Time passed and almost every self-respecting website has got a shrinked version of itself.
Mobile platforms evolved and there appeared hundreds of thousands of apps almost for everything, starting from calories counters up to Geiger counters.
Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design is the most popular thing today that makes heads turn and jaws drop to the floor. That's why let's join out hands and say thank you to Ethan Marcotte, the father of responsive website design. His creation is one of the greatest achievements in web design for the last couple of years. Responsive design gave the possibility for business owners not to build separate mobile versions of their resource, since the website adopts to the resolution of the device it's rendered with.
Web design innovations will continue to evolve faster than any person can learn. However, with advancements like semantic web, users will no longer need to know everything in order to implement the knowledge of every code and fact on the web. We can definitely say that great things are coming because millions of developers are spending nights and days in front of their screens trying to make our web experience more comfortable and interesting. Stay in touch.
If you feel like we've missed some important milestones feel free to speak about them in the comments section, and we will gladly add them to the blog post.