Web Design Is Boring

By on 11/7/2017

Have you noticed that web design has radically changed since the 1990s? The big difference is that websites started out as clunky and unique whereas now they’re slick and boring. Here’s a deeper look at this ironic evolution and how your site can stand out from others that choose conformity over imagination.

Rise of the Web

The first websites emerged with the advent of the World Wide Web in the early 90s, following over two decades of internet development. The “dotcom boom” created a demand for web designers, although many people began to learn basic HTML on their own, since it’s basic code that can be learned in a day. If you called yourself a web designer then, many people may have assumed you were a tech guru.

web design code html

The Wild West

By the mid to late 90s the web was nicknamed “the wild west” since it seemed there were no rules and the possibilities were endless – within the realm of sluggish dial-up connections.

It was still an exciting time to explore web design. Every website looked like it came from its own universe, although many looked like they were designed by kids in a garage. That was part of the charm, as the web had the feel of a brave new world. Global stardom seemed just around the corner if you could throw together pages full of photo collages similar to an online scrapbook.

aol 1995 web design


Enter Broadband & Fast Load Times

A major game changer was the mass adoption of broadband connections circa 2004. While multimedia sites had been possible in the past, high speed internet is what finally made them seamless without annoying interruptions. By 2006 YouTube, acquired by Google, had become a popular video site because it allowed you to stream videos for free and then easily link to them.

youtube web design 2005

Social Media Mania

Email often has been the preferred channel for business communication and online marketing. Social media provides a more interactive multimedia platform to attract followers and directs them to web content as a convenient way to build marketing lists and relationships. Here are key social media milestones:

  • First modern social network Friendster launched in 2002
  • MySpace and LinkedIn launched in 2003
  • Facebook launched in 2004
  • MySpace was the leading social network 2005-2008
  • Facebook surpassed MySpace popularity in 2008

friendster 2004 web design

When Web Design Started To Get Boring

What made web design boring was the pressure to look corporate even for small business. Millions of people stumbled upon content management systems (CMS) like WordPress that made it easy for anyone to create websites using templates and drag and drop tools instead of writing code, similar to web editing software.

Google helped set a tone of minimalism in web design with its own sparse home page. How can anyone argue with the top website about the subtle value of white space?

2004 google homepage

Web design shifted in 2015 from HTML4 to HTML5 to set new standards. Mobile-friendly web design has also become a factor if you want to capture ready-to-buy leads.

Breaking the Mold

In order to stand out better, study your competitors’ web design and try to think outside the box. Your site can have a blog, but make it special so that visitors have a reason to keep coming back.

While it’s important for sites to look professional, there’s no reason to follow every web design trend to be successful. The bottom line is be about your own brand and imagination, not generic industry trends that take adventure out of web design. Then strive to blaze a trail where no site has gone before in content while embracing attractive design elements that artistically portray your vision.

jim carreys old website

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3 responses to “Web Design Is Boring”

  1. Couldn’t agree more. Lots of web design companies churning out SEO sites with similar content and imagery. Many SMEs getting charged huge sums for sites that are variations on a theme and lacking all originality or soul. Bland is replacing Brand!

  2. Zoe Petar says:

    I am not agreed with your things its very nice and interesting works. web design layout and development is very important to get more traffic and stay on our website.

  3. I guess custom website are much better as they can stand out of the similar looking website crowd with unique and fresh design.

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