It is an agreeable point that in the last 20 years, website design has come a long way. Gone are the days of table-based designs and block colours, here are the days of responsive and clean design.
However, to understand where we will be 20 years from now, we need to analyse where we have come from.
The History of Web Design
Over time, websites have developed and changed. New technology has been invented, new programming languages have been created to give your sites more “flair”, but at the same time some have been discontinued and website design has been modelled around all these factors in order to give us what we have today.
Websites have been impacted by the development of technology, and the biggest technological influence is something we carry in our back pockets; the smartphone.
Back in 2010, 296 million smartphones were sold to end users (the person who ultimately use the product) worldwide. This was the beginning of a technological boom, and it wasn’t an opportunity for businesses to miss out on. Mobile phones would have never been viable for browsing the internet unless companies hadn’t altered the way their websites acted for them.
As a result of this, a movement happened that challenged the old approach to web design, by using the same content, but different layouts for the design. This was called responsive web design and it allowed one website to work flawlessly on all devices.
This isn’t to be confused with the languages of the world but a language for a website (known as a “programming language”) is used to tell a computer how a website is supposed to look and act for a user to see.
In the past, this was done via HTML alone. However, in modern times, people are coding with newer programming languages such as CSS and JS to make websites interactive and pretty. This allows a developer to make a site look how they want it to.
A Refined Audience
can represent this through fashion. 20 years ago was the era for low-rise jeans, crimped hair and fur-lined coats. However, now most people wouldn’t dream of wearing these items and this same fashion sense is reflected in the websites that have evolved with them.
A lot of websites used to be colourful and they were quite complicated too. This was great if you have used that website many times, but for new users, this was an unpleasant experience. So businesses altered their websites so that they became simpler and easier to navigate.
The Future of Web Design
We can say with certainty that in the future, websites are going to continue to develop. Not only in design, but in the technology involved. There have been a lot of new technological innovations over the past 20 years that have influenced web design. So, it’s safe to say that there will be more to come over the next two decades.
The first piece of technology that is likely to influence the internet will be smartwatches. As of 2022, there are 216 million smartwatch users worldwide; this is almost the same number of devices as smartphones that were sold before responsive web design came about.
The smartwatch search engines will likely be operated via voice commands or gestures and it will revolutionise the way we use technology to browse the web. Having the means to get any information you want without the need for your hands will be extremely useful for people worldwide.
We must question whether it will be worth the effort browser development companies need to go through to make a browser for these watches and will businesses find it viable to optimise their sites for such a small display?
Although this isn’t new for the world wide web, we think that 3D images will be the way of the future. Especially for shopping websites.
With the popularisation of 3D images on E-Commerce sites, you will be able to view any product you want in detail, from all angles. Then you combine this with Augmented Reality technology and you result in an image which you can place around your house or even wear.
A glimpse into the future
Based on how web design currently is and where it has come from, we can rest assured that it will continue to develop in order to stay relevant as technology progresses.
Below is an image of what an E-Commerce site could look like in the future.