The evolution of web design from 2007 to now
A lot can happen in nine years.
2007 was the year Apple launched the very first iPhone. In 2009, Samsung launched its first Galaxy. And today both operators are respectively at their 6th and 7th model. Time passes and everything evolves at a furious pace.
Much has also changed for how businesses can present themselves online. For example, the layouts are completely different than they were nine years ago. Websites built in 2007 felt and looked completely different to today's websites.
In this post, I'll take a look at some trends that have radically changed. Some might say it's a natural evolution, which I agree with, but it's fast!
Web design has evolved rapidly over the past nine years. Back in 2007, many websites were still built with tables to structure their layout with flash, 3D animations and other gimmicks. However, people were starting to move away from GIFs etc (thankfully).
I remember even further back and how much patience one had. Yes, just getting a stable internet connection via the phone jack and being able to access the "world-wide-web" was a success and an experience. Today, waiting for just a little unstable internet would make most people give up ...
Design principles have evolved over the years, and the best websites today are built with a minimalist design, filled with interfaces that all create a better user experience. And that makes a difference. Statistics show that 40% of users will not return to a website that has given them a poor experience, and 50% of sales are lost due to poor navigation and structure.
To show some design examples and how the layout has changed over the years, we can take a look at the airline Ryanair. In 2007, their website was very cluttered, with garish background colours and an "overwhelming navigation". It wasn't just Ryanair that had websites like this, it was simply the way of building when a website required a lot of content.
That has changed. Nowadays, the layout has become the epitome of minimalism, with clean lines, easy navigation and a simple colour scheme. The user experience is greatly improved. And that's even though Ryanair, which in principle likes to be loud in their communication with a very direct "COME AND BUY" attitude with the aggressive offer yellow as part of it.
Btw. Hasn't Ryanair rebranded itself? Well actually Ryanair has rebranded itself last year and gone away from so "very yellow" ,which for years has defined the airline's brand as cheap and indicative of low cost. Now it's a calmer blue and a reduced amount of bright yellow in their branding. However, as seen on the website from this year, they have not completely gone away from the yellow, but it has become much more controlled. Low fares. Made simple. Is the new slogan where the word "cheap", which was used regularly before. "Cheap" is to the ears a cheaper word. Well, it wasn't rebranding that this post was supposed to be about, so that will have to be another talk 🙂
Originally, most websites were simply an online business card for companies, with the option of brief text-based information and, most importantly, contact details for people to call. Over the years, functionality has become more sophisticated, now taking into account customers' wishes to buy and receive a high level of service online.
We buy more and more online. Back in 2007, total online sales were not very high. And on top of that, customers today expect a high user experience, online care if you will, so they can handle and get answers to questions online themselves. Chat or other support features.
All these new functionality requirements place even greater demands on a website's performance. A poor website will result in visitors abandoning it, which will lead to a loss of converting, with the possibility of sales and increased revenues. It is therefore clear that optimising a website's functionality for today's user experience will meet customer expectations, which is crucial for any business' success online.
Before the iPhone, optimising a website for mobile was a low priority, but today it's paramount. About 50% of the adult population owns a smartphone (I think that's even a low number) and they actively use it to find solutions to their problems. According to media, about 29 % of the total search query is done on mobile devices. Plus a recent Google study found that 75% of mobile searches triggered a follow-up action from the user, such as a phone call, shop visit or purchase.
It should be a given nowadays that the website is mobile friendly and adapts to the size and device type of the user. Mobile, tablet, etc. Fully functional on all types of devices.
Traditionally, companies have provided the same online experience regardless of the person viewing it.
But in recent years we have seen the emergence of a new trend on certain platforms. Website personalization. This means that the website adapts the content on the screen according to the audience that is watching. An example could be a web shop that uses personalisation by displaying the products that people have shown interest in. The shop then personalises the content by showing recommendations based on interests.
Netflix is also a classic example of personalisation that works brilliantly. Companies provide the opportunity to instantly stream movies and TV shows. Netflix personalizes the user interface by showing recommendations based on their past viewing patterns. This stimulates increased consumption and loyalty. Back in 2007, an option personalization was only fantasy, as at that time it was not yet possible (For the sake of good order, it should just be mentioned that Netflix first possible in Denmark in 2012). Another example is Spotify which also personalizes according to what music you like.
Our own experience of the first years
We have found some from the archives and it is dated 07.11.2007. It was some of the first webdesign we messed with. The layout is simple and classic. It's limited what notes we have from that time, other than we can tell that it did what it was supposed to at the time. The layout is nice and clear and shows a typical website from that time. We also searched for one of the first web shops we made to show this one. It was also back from 2007. The webshop was managed in a Dandomain shop system, where we then made the layout. Unfortunately we could not find any illustrations of this.