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Go back just a few years and if someone said 'online video content' to you, you'd reply “eh?”. The history of website design is a fascinating thing. The changes we've seen over the past decade have been profound, beyond what any of us imagined. The timeline of web design over the last 10 years has taken us to lots of new and exciting places. Here's our take on the past ten years of web design.
The evolution of web design - A decade of lightning-speed change
The biggest changes we've seen in recent web design history are down to new technology. If you're old enough to remember the early days of web design, you'll recall how tricky it was. You had to know how to code HTML. You had to keep your images small or they'd slow your page loading speed to a crawl. Now we have the hardware and software required to build and deploy extraordinarily complicated e-commerce websites on platforms that do almost all of the work for you. A vastly improved online infrastructure, as well as enormous hikes in processing power, mean great imagery comes as standard.
Web design costs
The cost of a website has plummeted. You no longer need to pay a designer upwards of twenty-five grand for a basic e-commerce site created on a bespoke CMS. Now there are oodles of excellent CMS to choose from, regularly updated with the latest developments. Find a great designer and they'll more than likely create your site on an all-singing, SEO-friendly, pre-existing platform like Umbraco, WordPress or Shopify, many of which are Open Source – free for anyone to use.
Web design trends 2009 to 2019 - The smartphone revolution
Rollback time to 2007 and you'd be hard-pressed to buy a smartphone. By 2009 they were around, but relatively unsophisticated. Since then web design has changed beyond recognition thanks to the mobile web. These days Google prioritises mobile search over desktop, and there are more smartphones on the planet than there are human beings. If that isn't a sea-change, we don't know what is!
The very fact that more people search and access the web via their phones than desktop computers has changed the face of web design. The priority, for many brands, is the mobile web, and designing for tiny, weeny mobile screens is a specialist task. Get it wrong and you lose customers in droves. But because plenty of people still use desktops, you also need a site that displays beautifully - and works equally well - for small and larger screens.
Video content arrived in 2003 in a very limited way, far too expensive for most site owners to tap into. Now the video has come and gone as the 'next big thing' and has emerged out of the other end as the norm. In many sectors, it's actually quite hard to find a website that doesn't include video content. The smartphone revolution means every one of us carries an incredibly powerful mini-computer in our pockets, capable of making top quality video easily and quickly.
Lovely white space – Reflecting a new design confidence
White space might be more of a trend than something that's happened because the online landscape has changed. But it does reflect the growing sophistication of design for the internet, as do the incredibly popular image-heavy scroll-down themes that you see so frequently online. We're seeing sites with fewer pages, but whose pages are long, long, long, with a seemingly almost infinite capacity for scrolling down.
UX and the sales funnel
The user experience has changed dramatically as well. Ten years ago very few people were talking about the sales funnel, the sales journey, the sales experience. Now it's top of the e-commerce list, something you cannot afford to ignore. Businesses have integrated the buying experience so it's seamless, with effective touchpoints at every stage in the buying process, each of which represents an opportunity to contact the buyer and delight them in all sorts of ways. And that's reflected in contemporary web design.
Do you remember MySpace? Ten years ago everyone was on it. But back then 'everyone' only meant about 75 million of us. These days Facebook alone has almost two billion users, and you'd be pretty surprised to come across a person who doesn't have a social media account of one sort or another. Even the older generations and late adopters are at it. As a result, today's websites are peppered with Follow and Like buttons, and every blog on the planet is set up to share content with social media... or should be. All these things have helped to ring the design changes.
The changing world of SEO
It used to be pretty easy to get a web page onto page one of the Google SERPs. You'd hurl in a few keywords after the fact, stand back and wait. The next day, sometimes only a few minutes later, there was your site at the top of page 1. Magic!
You really would have to be a magician to achieve that these days. It's more or less impossible unless you operate in a niche of one. Today's best web designers place on-site SEO at the heart of everything they do right from the start because that's the only way to give a site a chance of achieving any kind of natural SEO success. Under the bonnet, there's a lot more to modern web design than meets the eye.
A dramatically faster internet – And that brings us to your website...
Add dramatically faster internet speeds to all this and the landscape is totally and utterly different compared to just a decade ago. How's your website looking against this backdrop? Are you out of date or cutting edge? What can you do to improve it? Can we help you?
We’ll help you with the next steps in your website evolution.