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Retro Web Design

Retro Web Design: A Blast to The Past

Many of our favorite website’s look and feel have changed over the years. Their functionality has adapted to the internet’s growing media formats and features. To truly appreciate how far website designs have come, we must look at the roots and basis of how websites were first created. Whether its layout, color, typography, or introducing dynamic elements, the path to perfecting any website is still far away, 

What is Web Design?

As one can infer, web design involves the creation and scheming of a website to be used for business or recreational purposes. A web designer must think about the page’s structure and colors. Also, take into account the target audience for a website. And then balance both visually and structurally appealing to that audience.

A well-designed website should be aesthetically pleasing and suit the targeted demographic while remaining easy to navigate. Most web designers must ensure their web solution is accessible to all. In particular, users on platforms such as mobile devices and desktop computers.

Web designers often sketch a design for their web solution and analyze it to see if the colors go with the product they represent or how a site will need to be coded to navigate it as planned.

Limitations of Early Web Design

Web developers can access many tools and languages to create and stylize a website. However, styling options were minimal in the early days of web design. Cascading style sheets and CSS weren’t present during the early days of the internet, where HTML was the only language for coding websites.

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During the early stages of the internet, most websites were text-based and didn’t have much “style”. Often simply a standard white page with paragraphs of text and tables of information. With not very many programming languages available, there wasn’t much in terms of creativity. Web developers could do this when making a website aesthetically pleasing. Later, many developers began to use tables, not just for creating a structure for numbers. Nevertheless, developers also found ways to use tables to aid in structuring websites.

Early Web Design Examples and Milestonesweb 

In 1993, ALIWEB (Archie Like Indexing for the WEB) was created and considered the first web search engine. The “style” part of web design began its presence on websites such as ALIWEB. It used background colors to draw users to the more essential elements of their web page to help them navigate the search engine easily.

This same year gave birth to the creation of landing pages. Users would see these images before landing on a website, with MTV being the first website to implement this feature. A year later, Hotwire, now known as Wired, would implement the world’s first ad banner onto its website’s header. Thus, marking the beginning of online marketing and advertising. Javascript was also created that year, allowing developers to implement more features, such as the “pop-up” windows.


The Evolution of “Modern” Web Design

From 2002 to 2006, a rise in functionality for web platforms began to spark. As technology advanced, so did the social media and websites that inhabited the internet. The hardware used to access these platforms has become more capable. This gives web developers more options and resources when designing web platforms.

This era revolutionized how the online world works today. The first social media platform, such as Facebook, provided high-quality displays that allowed developers to create more dynamic designs for their platforms. Increased broadband speeds and hardware capabilities allowed developers to pack more dynamic and aesthetically pleasing features into websites. From 2006 to 2010 came the growth of responsive design. While web developers could take advantage of high-end quality software and hardware to utilize more dynamic features,  websites weren’t yet optimized for mobile devices.

In 2007 the first iPhone was released, which helped pave the way for responsive web design, designing a website to automatically adjust to the screen size and orientation of the devices it’s being viewed on.

Retro Website Design Today

Retro” website design is very much present in the modern era/ Having a “retro’ or “vintage” look has had a surge in popularity recently, with many online shops and corporate designs consisting of elements from older eras to create a sense of nostalgia for users that access the website. Despite what one might intuitively think, having a retro or vintage design for a web platform can help make a platform stand out and draw more people in.

The nostalgic aesthetic retro-styled websites help create a stimulus in a user, whether emotional or physical, that appeals to the user and entices them to continue using that platform. No matter if it’s an HTML, WordPress, PHP, or ASP website being built. If the design is executed correctly, a website can be prevented from becoming too bland.

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