From the beginnings of the internet until now, the appearance of websites has changed a lot. This change reflects the evolution of web design. Aspects previously unimaginable, such as a mobile experience, are now fundamental to a website’s success. In this blog post, I will discuss some important features of web design nowadays, based on the class Interface Design and Typography of Jürgen Genser at the University of Applied Sciences FH Joanneum in Graz, Austria. I will also analyze how the websites from LEGO and The Knot changed through the years.
What is web design and what makes it good?
- Universally accessible
- As little design as possible
Designing for the web depends on different factors such as technical possibilities, device specifications, and user expectations.
A short history of websites
Now let’s see with examples, how web design trends has changed over the years.
The Lego Group is a Danish company. The company’s flagship product consists of colorful interlocking plastic bricks, mini-figures, and other parts. Lego pieces can be assembled and connected in many ways to construct objects. The Lego Group began manufacturing the interlocking toy bricks in 1949.
The version of the website from 2007 had a lot of content in the page. A lot of links and a lot of colors. There was no need for scrolling. The menu bar at the top just contained 3 elements but there were other links on through the page.
The 2018 version of the website is much cleaner and longer, what forces the user to scroll to see the whole content of the page. The design of the menu looks standard and contains more items. The header has banners which change dynamically and the images are much more appealing, including people and not just animations. Now it is also possible to change the website for adults and kids. The version for kids is a completely different website, focused on games, colors, and themes. When a user clicks on the “Star Wars” logo, for example, the background colors change to match the movie. There are short videos with movie characters in Lego version. The kid’s version of the website is completely different from the “GROWN-UPS” version.
Kids version of the Lego website.
The website The Knot was co-founded in 1996 by the husband-and-wife team Carley Roney and David Liu. The mission of the website is to help couples easily navigate every wedding planning detail. The website is a pioneer in the wedding industry.
When the website was created there was no reference in the area and they created the concept from the beginning on. As we can see in the first screenshot there is a lot of content stuffed in the website and a lot of links. There is a menu bar on the top of the page, on the side of the page, in the center of the page, there are more links that look like menus. It looks very overwhelming with so many links and possibilities on the page. The basic color of the website is blue, green, some red and white. There are not a lot of pictures on the page.
On the website today, the page looks much cleaner. The header banners is a huge video, that changes, showing different couples stories. The page is also much longer what allows the user to scroll. The content is more spread on the page. They kept the logo almost the same, except for a bit different shade of blue. There are a lot more images and illustrations on the page. The website still contains a lot of links but there are structured in a more organized matter. The website today contains 2 menu bars. On the top one with submenu items and under it, another menu that takes to landing pages. Once the user clicks in one of the links on this second menu, it goes away and the top menu stays on the page.
The web pages today look simpler than the older versions. They are also longer, what allows the user to have a scrolling experience. This characteristic also is good for a mobile version of the website. The designs from today also prioritize readability. The websites analyzed follow established patterns. The menu bar is an example. The websites are responsive. Videos and images became much more important in the design. The Lego website for adults and the website The Knot, look very similar.
If you want to see how other websites evolved visit the webdesignmuseum.org