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27 January 2020 by Danielle Brill

Recapping the 2010s: The Biggest Changes in Web Design & Development

The web has come a long way in ten years. To think, there were only 234 million websites and 1.7 billion internet users worldwide in 2009. Now, there are 1.7 billion websites and over 4.4 billion active internet users! This exponential increase in websites and users has paved the way for a plethora of changes within the web design and development space. Here are some of the biggest changes to date.

Web Development

One of the biggest changes in web development was the introduction of HTML5 and CSS3. These two new technologies opened the door for designing and developing dynamic, interactive and – most importantly – responsive websites. Instead of having two separate sites (one for mobile and one for desktop), website owners could now have one website completely optimised for different devices.

The introduction of HTML5 also enabled web developers to use simpler code and exercise more control over the various content and multimedia elements on a webpage. CSS3 also provided enhanced styling capabilities, giving web designers more freedom to experiment with exciting features such as backgrounds, borders, videos, animations, and more.

Another big change in recent years has been the mass adoption of HTTPS (https://), an extension of the standard HTTP protocol (http://) used to establish a secure, encrypted connection between a user’s web browser and a web server. A must for all websites that conduct personal or financial transactions, HTTPS enables web visitors to search and shop online safely and securely. 

Though web encryption has been around since the mid-1990s, it wasn’t until the mid-2010s when many website owners awoke to the necessity of encrypting their sites. In addition to the rising need for protection against cybercriminals and hackers, a big incentive to switch to HTTPS came in 2014 when Google announced that they would favour websites with HTTPS in terms of search rankings.

Web Design

Web design styles have also changed significantly, largely thanks to the introduction of responsive web design, ultimately made possible by HTML5 and CSS3. Because websites needed to be adaptable to different devices, web designers started moving away from complex three-dimensional elements such as gradients, drop shadows, and artificial textures. Instead, they began adopting the minimalist ‘flat design’ style.

By using simple, two-dimensional elements, flat design has improved web users’ experience by ensuring that responsive designs load fast and work well across a wide range of screen sizes and resolutions. Stylistic elements such as white space, bright colours, sharp lines, and basic typography are also used strategically to make web visitors focus on important information and certain parts of a website.

The introduction of CSS3 also gave web designers more options in terms of styling. Whereas a webpage’s layout was largely determined by tables and frames, web designers can now create more attractive and interactive sites using advanced styling options such as background videos, image carousels, and clickable buttons, to name but a few.

Web design and development is continually evolving with new trends popping constantly. At Online Innovations, we stay abreast of the latest web developments to ensure that we provide our clients with the latest and greatest in web design and development tools and techniques.

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