The Evolution of Web design

Web Design Evolution

Web development has changed a lot over the past 10-20 years, not only in graphic design and flow, but also in analysis and metrics. Websites from startups that may have seemed “cutting age” during their original launch would now be seen as plain and unimaginative. Little was available in terms of analytics and testing in order to maximize traffic and break down visitor behavior. In 2016, website developers and designers now have a plethora of tools at their disposal to aid in the success of a newly formulated website.

Below are some examples of popular websites and how their designs have changed over the years. You will be able to notice an overall evolution in design that is more modern and sophisticated.

The original Netflix website hit the internet in 1999. It featured a very basic html format as can been seen above. The 2016 version is sleeker and streamlined. It contains high resolution images and better overall design. Navigation appears easier and users are given more attractive options for exploring the site.

Netflix 1999

On the new Netflix website, analytics have obviously shown the importance of a call to action, and brightly placed buttons in order to stimulate user activity. The new website very obviously drives the user to “join free for a month” as shown by the bright red button on the left-hand side. Whereas the original site seemed to place more emphasis on “search” for a title of a film, with random links scattered throughout.

Netflix 2016

Even in a shorter time span of 6 years, drastic changes can be seen in how web design has developed. Uber’s original website was launched in 2010 and left much to be desired.

Uber 2010

There is an inherit level of sophistication associated with simplicity; however this is not a proper example of that. The site below launched in 2016; still remains “simple” while also being more contemporary and refined. There is also a strong call to action placed on the right-hand side encouraging users to start using Uber.

Uber 2016

The flow of visitor traffic is being funneled in a particular direction. This is not the case even after one enters the first Uber site. There is a small “sign up” button in the bottom right, and a generic map displayed with no focus being placed on driving traffic to a specific location or driving users to take a specific action. The “sign up” button blends in with the site and barely grasps any attention, as can be seen below:

Uber Map

Examples of this can be shown on almost any website on the internet today. There is an organic evolution to web design that feels like a progressive natural occurrence. Almost as if it’s uncontrollable and meant to be.

As technology continues to increase, so will society’s use of the internet, and more thought will be placed on web design and the proper way in which to “deliver” information via the web versus merely “displaying” information on the web. With the onset of mobile devices and their influence in the modern world, our web design experience will continue to evolve into one more mobile-centric. Web design will now have to account for multiple viewing platforms and the exploitation of each.


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