3 Ways Website Design Has Changed Over the Past Decade

We all know that a decade can bring a lot of changes with it; however, in the world of website design, these changes are astronomical.

Think about how you were using the internet in 2005. At this time, Facebook and the concept of social media networking was just emerging. Unless it was work related, you probably weren’t jumping onto your computer (and certainly not your smartphone or tablet) as soon as you rolled out of bed in the morning. And I doubt you were turning to Amazon to help you with all of your shopping needs.

Over the past 10 years, we as consumers have come to depend heavily on the internet to the point that the world wide web has essentially become something that we can not survive without. To accommodate the changing ways that consumers are using the internet, web design has changed as well.

Just for fun, I encourage you to check out the Wayback Machine, which will take you back to what some of your favorite websites looked like in their beginning stages. If anything, taking a look at some of these early website designs should be a reminder that you don’t have to necessarily get your logo or color scheme right the first time. You’ll likely make some adjustments over the years as your branding strategy becomes stronger.

So here are 3 website design changes over the past decade that you’ll easily pick up on when playing around with the Wayback Machine:

1. Mobile friendly website design.
I feel like we keep hammering this point home (especially with all of the talk about Google’s recent mobile friendly algorithm update), but this may be the most obvious change in website design that you’ll notice when looking back at your favorite websites. Take Microsoft for instance. This brand’s website from just a decade ago appeared to have been designed with the desktop user in mind. Today’s version of the website is heavily targeted to tablet users and offers a much more simple design.

2. Visual imagery plays center stage.
The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Visuals are a powerful attention grabber, especially for consumers with increasingly shortening attention spans. Brands have quickly caught onto this, which is why you’ll notice that your favorite websites are taking advantage of high resolution images when designing their websites.

Being in the digital marketing arena, Mashable is a website that I frequently visit to stay informed and be inspired. I love that this website is filled with imagery and that it offers a variety of content from a number of contributors. However, if you take a look at the 2005 version of this website, the design consisted of a blah gray background and text from just one writer. What a long way this website has come!

3. Whitespace is much more present.
So many of the websites from just 10 years ago tried to cram as much text as possible onto the homepage. If you want to know what I’m talking about, take a look at Yahoo or Skype in the Wayback Machine. In an effort to try to eliminate clutter and distractions, many of the best designed websites today embrace whitespace, understanding that less is actually more.

Certainly, website design will continue to evolve, and maybe we’ll be laughing 10 years from now about some of the antiquated designs that are being used today. Either way, if you are considering a re-design of your website, take a quick ride in the Wayback Machine for some inspiration.

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