It all began in 1990. HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) was born, but the only existing browser (Mosaic) wasn’t able to display pictures. Websites were just text pages that were linked together.
In 1994 Internet Explorer 1 and Netscape were launched. These browsers were capable of displaying pictures, so it was now down to developers to come up with a solution regarding how to display them. It was the era of the so called “sliced design”. Developers were using tables to put pictures and content together, slicing everything into pieces, like a jigsaw. Tables had some awesome features like the ability to align things vertically, be defined in pixels or in percentages. The main benefit was that it was the closest to a grid we could get back then. It was also the time when so many developers decided not to like front-end coding.
1996 was the year of Flash. Developed by Macromedia flash, it became the standard for many websites until 2004, being around for almost 10 years! Developers and designers used flash to animate shapes and other elements and also to create interaction with text and buttons. This was the birth of the ‘dynamic’ website. As long as a user had the latest flash plugin and some free time to wait while it loaded, it worked like magic.
In 1998 CSS was born (Cascading Style Sheets). The basic concept here was to separate content from the presentation. So the look and formatting are defined in CSS, but the content in HTML. Unfortunately, not many browsers were supporting CSS and that’s why Flash was preferred. But with the uprising of mobile phones things were about to change forever. Again.
It is the year 2006 and the first IPhone is released. This marked a milestone for designers and developers who now had only one question in their mind: How do we display a website on such a small screen? A brilliant guy named Ethan Marcotte decided to challenge the existing approach by proposing to use the same content, but with different layouts for the design, and coined the term Responsive web design. For a designer, responsive means mocking up multiple layouts. For the client, it means it works on the phone. For a developer, it is how images are served, download speeds, semantics, mobile/desktop first and more. The main benefit here is the content parity, meaning that it’s the same website that works everywhere. Using a 12 column grid, content can be easily stacked to work on every resolution. It’s important to note that flash is no longer supported for mobile devices and that marks the end of it.
While the grid system has become a standard for developers, designers were still struggling with the complexity of a website and to how make the user journey through the website simple and easy. That’s the reason why from 2012 many designers decided to follow a minimal approach, using a flat design. This is still the preferred approach today.
We don’t know what’s next, but here at NU Creative we always are up to date with the latest design trends and developer techniques to make your website work perfectly on every device.
That’s our website looked back in 2011.