3 Significant Web Design Changes Over the Last 20 Years

March 3, 2022
By: Joshua Hay

20 years ago, the internet was just taking off, and many businesses had no idea what the technology was capable of. Nowadays, the internet is a fundamental part of our day-to-day lives. Websites are a crucial place where businesses can take advantage of potential customers, whether to showcase products or services by adding blog posts, or direct customers to purchase by having an online store.

Even ecommerce websites have evolved with the times, meaning that every corner of the web is all about targeting potential customers with as much information, product details, and deals as possible. Below, we will be looking into how websites have changed over the past 20 years.

1. Website UX & Design are Important

Website designs have changed considerably over the past 20 years. The main reason for the shift in design is the rise of the internet and the importance of websites in business. At first, the internet was only used to transfer data and images as large as possible. Since then, the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives. This means that even websites have changed to a point where they need to be more intuitive and simpler to navigate.

The evolution of website designs has also brought about UX or user experience. Essentially, UX is about understanding how customers consume information and providing the most efficient and effective means. Information is provided through websites in various ways, including blogs, product pages, images, written content, and more. This can be underpinned by the ‘5 E’s’ of usability:

  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness
  • Enjoyment
  • Errors
  • Emotions

It is important to keep the 5 E’s in mind to make the best website possible when designing websites.

2. Mobile-First Approach

Another significant change in website design is the shift towards a mobile-first approach. This means that a website’s design should be based on the needs of mobile users before creating a version of it for desktop users. This means that a site might look slightly different on mobile and desktop. However, the differences can be subtle, such as longer page text on desktop or larger image dimensions on mobile.

This change to a mobile-first approach has become prevalent over the past 10-20 years. The reason behind this is the shift towards using mobile devices to access websites and online content. 

The mobile-first approach also saves time and money because you don’t have to create two website versions.

3. Speed & Optimization are Crucial

Finally, the last significant change when designing websites is the importance of speed. Internet users are highly impatient and will leave your website within a few seconds if it is not loading fast enough. Google even uses websites’ loading speeds and speed test rankings as a part of its algorithm to rank search engine results. The term “website speed” even appears early on in the Google search results.

The truth is that users expect websites to load within 3 seconds most of the time, and within 1 second on mobile. This means that a website needs to be optimized, simple, and quick to load to avoid being penalized by Google.

It is important to note that a website optimized for mobile devices and speed, but is not visually appealing or user-friendly, will not be as effective. This means that web designers need to consider users’ needs and optimize a website to load fast. 

How’s Your Website Doing?

Website design has changed a lot over the past 20 years. The evolution of design has also brought about other changes such as UX, mobile-first approaches, and the importance of website speed. The evolution of website design is still ongoing, so it is important to keep up with current site designs and to keep your site optimized and fast.

Are you looking for the best Winnipeg web design? Hello Digital Marketing creates digital solutions for all types of businesses. Get in touch with us!


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