Let’s take a short trip down memory lane, back to 2006. Action movie fans were yelling “SPARTA!!!” after seeing the hit film 300. Google just purchased YouTube. And, you were probably rocking out to Justin Timberlake informing us of how he was going to bring “SexyBack.”
With the rapid developments of the Information Age, 2006 seems like ages ago. Nowhere is that more evident than in the web design industry.
For example, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s homepage back in 2006, vs. today in 2016.
Perhaps the biggest change is in who creates our websites. You used to
have to hire expensive web developers. These days, even novices can create high-quality websites from scratch. Let’s take a closer look at this revolution.
The Olden Days – HTML and CSS
Ten years ago, you needed to be an expert at HTML and CSS code if you wanted to create a website that anyone would want to visit. Most sites were hard coded HTML and CSS, which replaced Flash. Flash sites were terrible for users because they would not load well on all platforms, and they were horrible for SEO purposes.
CSS allowed for the separation of design and content.This separation gave content developers and web designers greater creative freedom. This separation of design and content made websites easier to maintain since there was less complexity, they were quicker to load, and more versatile.
Also, though HTML was the standard, there was not much structure in the way websites were designed. The lack of structure led to many problems in design aesthetics. In other words, each website had its unique style or way of structuring information, which would make it less intuitive for the user to navigate and find the information they wanted.
Where We Are Today
Nowadays, you will not find a successful business that does not have web design as a valuable component of their marketing strategy. The aesthetics have also changed. We now have blended typography, minimalism, large background images, and flat graphics. Additionally, the primary focus is the user’s experience. This focus has led to the rise of single-page design and infinite scrolling.
CSS has become increasingly popular, and this has resulted in a growth in user interaction and ease of use for website visitors. As code has become more automated, easier to understand, and cleaner, websites load better and are more organized. Also, HTML5 has made website design more engaging and user-friendly by restructuring the standards set for creative design.
The Mobile Revolution
Optimizing your website for mobile use was a low priority before Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. However, more than half of the adult population in the United States now owns a smartphone, and they are spending a significant amount of their time on it. As a matter of fact, 29 percent of the total search queries are carried out via a mobile phone.
Google conducted a study where they found that three-quarters of mobile searches triggered a follow-up action, including store visits, purchases, and phone calls. The takeaway message is that if you want to reach consumers today, you have to make certain that your site is fully functional on all devices.
Aside from the user experience, many search engines, including Yahoo!, Bing, and Google, basically require you to have mobile-friendly pages if you want to rank highly on the results pages. To meet this requirement, businesses have changed how they perform their branding and web design.
Fortunately, there are now content management systems that make creating mobile-responsive, as well as well coded and designed, websites a snap.
The WordPress Revolution
Yes, there have been two revolutions in the last decade. WordPress began in 2003. Ten years ago, it was still getting off the ground and was mostly used as a basic blogging tool. Today, it is the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world with millions of sites using it.
However, thanks to its open source nature, it has also expanded its utility to include online stores, social media, Fortune 500 business websites, and more. These days, anyone can use WordPress to build a website. It has turned into a flexible and straightforward to install and use platform that can create all types of websites.
Also, there are website builders, such as BoldGrid, that work on top of WordPress to make the CMS more intuitive and easy to use for beginners and small business owners. You can save time and frustration by using a free drag and drop WordPress website builder like BoldGrid.
Here are just a few features that make WordPress easy for just about anyone to create a website in a matter of minutes:
- Drag and Drop – You can easily slide your content to precisely where you want it
- Free Themes – WordPress has a broad range of themes that are appropriate for any industry
- Simple Customization- You can also personalize each theme with pre-designed layouts, color palettes, and more
- WYSIWYG Editing – You don’t need to guess at what users will see on your site. You see it as they would as you edit it
- Connect – Social media is where it is at, and WordPress keeps you connected
It’s All about Shares and Likes
Social media has taken off in the last decade. Sure, MySpace was “a thing” back in 2006 and quite popular among youngsters, but these days, social media is integrated into web development. Now, there are big names like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter that are appealing to people of all ages as well as businesses.
Organizations are now more aware that their survival depends on social media integration and user engagement. To cater to users, websites have transitioned from mainly textual designs to more chatrooms, video, blogging, and pictures to get information across more quickly.
What Does the Future Have in Store?
This article serves as just a snapshot of how creating websites has changed in the last ten years. With such drastic changes and innovations coming out every day, it is hard to imagine what the next decade will bring. Will there be more voice activation? Real-time updates? Will bots take over marketing? How can the user experience be improved?
You can rest assured web design will change to attract more sales and clicks. And, WordPress is not likely to go anywhere as its millions of users and hundreds of developers continue to use and improve it.
Contributed by our friend Matt over at digital.com.